Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


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

[Edinburgh, UK. March 18, 2017] Jonny Gray wins a lineout for Scotland vs Italy in the RBS Six Nations Championship at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

320 days since Scotland and Italy met in Rome to round out their 2018 Six Nations’ campaigns they’re back at it in Edinburgh to open up the 2019 tournament. There are just 23 survivors from the 46 players who contested that last game – 11 for Scotland and 12 for Italy. Here’s how those recast line-ups compare against each other:

Tale of the tape

58   Tries   21
93kg   Average weight   93kg
243   Total caps   172
117   6N caps   62
27.1   Average age   28.0

885kg   Pack weight   890kg
10   Tries   24
157   Total caps  333
6N caps   153
27.5   Average age   29.3

74   Total caps   88
6N caps   30
   Tries   4
26.5   Average age   26.2

7 Scotland changes from last Test (v Argentina)

  • 12/10 – Johnson for Hastings with Russell moving to 10 [+]
  • 11 – Seymour for Maitland [-]
  • 2 – McInally for Brown [+]
  • 3 – Nel for Berghan [+]
  • 4/5 – Toolis for Gray [-]
  • 6/7 – Skinner for Watson with Ritchie moving to 7 [-]
  • 8 – Wilson for Strauss [=]

15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Huw Jones
12 Sam Johnson
11 Blair Kinghorn
10 Finn Russell
9 Greig Laidlaw (c)
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
15 Jayden Hayward
14 Angelo Esposito
13 Luca Morisi
12 Tommaso Castello
11 Michele Campagnaro
10 Tommaso Allan
9 Tito Tebaldi

1 Allan Dell
2 Stuart McInally
3 Willem Nel
4 Ben Toolis
5 Grant Gilchrist
6 Sam Skinner
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Ryan Wilson

ADV Italy
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Italy

1 Andrea Lovotti
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini
3 Simone Ferrari
4 David Sisi
5 Dean Budd
6 Sebastian Negri
7 Abraham Steyn
8 Sergio Parisse (c)

16 Jake Kerr
17 Jamie Bhatti
18 Simon Berghan
19 Gary Graham
20 Josh Strauss
21 Ali Price
22 Adam Hastings
23 Chris Harris

ADV Italy
ADV Italy
ADV Italy
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Italy

16 Luca Bigi
17 Cherif Traore
18 Tiziano Pasquali
19 Federico Ruzza
20 Jimmy Tuivaiti
21 G. Palazzani
22 Ian McKinley
23 Edoardo Padovani


Backs – advantage Scotland

Bringing his excellent club form (and possibly a couple of extra kilos!) into this game, Finn Russell will be looking to carry the attacking flair he’s demonstrated for Racing 92 into the Test arena. ‘The Muscle’ has had the number 10 shirt for 19 out of last 21 games in the Six Nations for Scotland. He’s absolutely crucial to the way Gregor Townsend wants this side to play.

After sporadic spells both in and out of the Italian team, Tomasso Allan is enjoying his best ever run for the Azzurri, starting all of their last 11 Tests. The match-up in Rome a year ago showcased a more mature and consistent side to his performances and he very nearly inspired Italy to victory. The battle between the two stand offs will be an intriguing one.

Forwards – advantage Scotland

The selection of the Edinburgh tight 5 en masse allows them to bring their superlative European form to an even bigger stage. Even without Pierre Schoeman they will feel they can dominate almost anyone. With the Italians themselves seemingly a bit of a fading force at scrum time in particular, Stuart McInally and co. will be looking to set the foundations for Scotland to attack from.

Subs – advantage Italy

Italian replacement scrum half Guglielmo Palazzani is the only one of the 16 players on the combined benches with more than 20 caps to his name. Injuries have taken a toll for both sides (although definitely rather more on Scotland) however, in a World Cup year, there are opportunities there to be grabbed. The subs need to take their chances to shine when they get on.

The physicality and aggression of Gary Graham will provide an interesting change-up for Scotland. For Italy, Cherif Traore is a wrecking ball of a carrier and always entertaining to watch – although not to play against!


Sam Johnson will be Scotland cap number 1100 when he takes to the field on Saturday. He could be joined by both number 1101 and 1102 if Jake Kerr and Gary Graham are brought on as replacements.

– In addition to Scotland’s debutants a further 3 players will get their first ever experience of the Six Nations – Sam Skinner, Jamie Ritchie and Adam Hastings (there are 4 potential newbies to this tournament on the Italian side).

Grant Gilchrist made his Six Nations’ debut back in 2013 but this will be just his 7th appearance in the tournament.

– If he comes off the bench Jake Kerr will be the 7th member of Scotland’s squad for the 2016 U20 World Championships to make his Test debut, following in the footsteps of Zander Fagerson, Murray McCallum, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Jamie Ritchie and Darcy Graham.

Arrivederci Sergio

This may well be the last time that Sergio Parisse plays on the Murrayfield turf so here are some stats and facts in tribute to the 134-cap Italian legend:

  • This will be the 19th occasion that he will have played against Scotland and the 10th of those games to take place at Murrayfield.
  • The first of those appearances came during a RWC warm-up match in the summer of 2003. He was a sub as Scotland beat Italy 47-15 in front of a crowd of 25,304.
  • It’s more than 6 years since anyone in that 2003 Scotland side last played Test rugby and yet Parisse shows no signs of stopping – he’ll almost certainly go to what will be his 5th World Cup at the end of this year.
  • He has played more Six Nations games at Murrayfield (this will be his 8th) than any of the 13 Scottish forwards in the 23 for Saturday bar Ryan Wilson (10th).

71 Responses

  1. Not familiar with Traore, but why is it even Italy can produce ball carriers up front (Polledri and Negri are excellent here too) and we struggle so badly?

    With the upturn in youth and pro-14 performances we need to be wary of Italy’s improvement. We are missing too much experience to think this will be anything but a huge challenge. Backs look in decent shape even with injury woes in the middle, but we have a make shift back row bolted into an Edinburgh front 5 without its most important player. I think we have the quality but our senior players need to step up.

    1. I think it is just we have a different game plan. Our boys are just as capable of putting away the pasta as they are. Our game is based on wearing down the big ball carriers and then playing at a speed they cant live with. Italy usually lose their games against tier 1 opposition in the last 20 minutes. Of course if we don’t out last them we’re in trouble and then you need the stronger bench or stronger mentality! Lets just hope we’re out of site by 60mins.

  2. Traore is usually a weak link in the scrum, hence he doesn’t start. A young Dickinson was a great last 20 ball carrier for Scotland, he became a top scrummager and his ball carrying although still decent suffered. Same with Nel, ball carrying much worse than his first season here, but his scrum is top notch.
    But we do have a dynamic ball carrying prop, unfortunately he is injured. Fagerson. And as his scrummaging has improved, ball carrying less of a wrecking ball

    1. A lot of people underestimate the sheer graft that strong scrummaging will take out of a prop. It’s been said that scrummaging is twice as tiring for a lock compared to the back row and twice again as tiring for a prop as a lock. Only very special players can truly excel at both.

      1. Yup, we have to remember that players like Furlong who are great at both are very much the exception, not the rule.

        Furlong in particular is a freakish beast (in a good way).

  3. So so excited for Saturday, and I am struggling to contain my optimism/pessimism, I have an underlying fear that we get stuffed and it becomes the worst six nations campaign ever(I feel sick), immediately these feelings are brushed aside and replaced by a sense of complete elation and visions of a huge win for Scotland…………then straight back to vomming!!!! Its hard being Scottish!!!

    1. It’s always the hope that kills you as a Scotland supporter! Every year you get caught out thinking, “this time it’ll be different…”

    2. Ditto. I don’t think supporters of the other home nations can understand what it’s like!

  4. Conditions tomorrow actually look really good for running rugby, so long as no-one in the backs has frozen fingers. I hope the forwards don’t try and make it an arm wrestle, by all means mix it up but if we can generate good quick ball this is a good opportunity to build confidence and momentum in our attack.

    1. As long as Italy haven’t been studying the Welsh games too closely and realised how to neutralise our game plan with a rush defence… Hopefully we’ve been studying them and worked out a plan B!

  5. It’s difficult to feel confident when there are players starting that haven’t played in a six nations for Scotland , nor played for Scotland. Underestimate Italy at your detriment. I feel embarrassed for the inexperience of GT, he’s out of his depth against the cream of international coaches that play in the six nations, he messed up last year on day one , by playing a bluff against ‘only Wales in Cardiff ‘ under the canny old Warren Gatland. You’ve got to play your best available team, every other team will be starting with there best. So therefore next up Ireland’s best will be battle ready , while our best will still need a warm up match. GT’s still getting ready for the world cup though I suspect, short for Richard.

    1. Out of curiosity, who do you think has been left out, who would be regarded as “best available team”, who’s fit?

    2. No fan of Townsend, but he picked very much on form and therefore probably the best team available. Edinburgh front five have shown to be one of the best in Europe. A strong versatile back row, maybe could have started Strauss over Wilson. The backs literally pick themselves with so many injuries in the centre. Johnson and Jones are the best options. Maybe Grigg or Dean on the bench, but not a lot of choice

  6. It feels sacrilegious to say this but is Parisse not far below his standards of past years. Even last year he was not the standout backrow in light blue.

    As a leader, talisman and man clearly he has value. But as a player I feel he probably should have retired a year or two ago.

    If I’m being positive I point out this is an Italy side that has not beaten a top tier side in nearly two years and at best are where we were at the start of the BVC era. They are ranked lower than Fji, Tonga, Argentina and Japan.

    But… but…..

  7. Of course we’re going to win. It would be the biggest upset of the weekend if Italy managed a win.
    Firstly, that is a very experienced starting XV for Scotland, bar the flankers.
    Secondly, we are 8 places and nearly 10 points above Italy in the rankings.
    Thirdly we are at home. Only teams ranked 3 points or more above us have beaten us at Murrayfield in recent years (I only went back to 2015). To be clear, the opposition were favourites to win according to World Rugby.
    Lastly, WE are clear favourites, according to the bookies. Last I looked the spread was 23-26 in Scotland’s favour. If you are that worried put a fiver a point on Italy. If we only win by 3 points that’s a £100 to drown any disappointment that you may feel!

    1. I completely agree with you but hope the players don’t share your nonchalant outlook! Bonus point victory is a must as well as keeping key players fit. As soon as the game is won I hope GT hooks Finn and McInally plus one or two others. The opportunity to be top of the table and be up against a battered and bruised Ireland at home is one we need to take with both hands

  8. Managed to watch France v Wales slightly drunk and fast forwarding through the down time last night. Be interested to hear what others think but nothing there to be worried about from either team.

    Wales showed that, strong defence and as expected France make mistakes. France showed Wales don’t have much in attack of you’re not making mistakes.

    I’m not saying either will be easy, just that we shouldn’t fear either team – as long as we get the basics right and don’t give them easy opportunities. Oh, and maybe point out to the ref ahead of the game that the welsh defence is that fast because it’s offside a lot of the time!

    1. Huget the French winger is a class player going forward very dangerous not so good at defence though mind conditions terrible last night main reason Wales won.

    2. Both teams were dire. Wales created nothing really but had the game gift wrapped to them by French pratfalls.

      However, I can’t see Wales being that bad again and France definitely will be that bad, but could be out of sight if they turn the screw on us. If France hadn’t missed kicks at goal in their excellent first half Wales wouldn’t have clawed back their undeserved win.

      1. Given the conditions, I think France were pretty impressive in the first half, and there’s little doubt they’ll open up with the same battering ram tactics up front against us in three weeks time.
        Apart from the gross, match-losing errors in the second half, I kind of felt the France pack was running out of gas from about the 50 minute mark.
        Wales were pretty awful throughout, and if France hadn’t selected some moves from the Scotland playbook of the 00s, Wales would have deservedly lost.
        Hard to see Wales playing as poorly as that in the rest of the 6N.

      2. Yes, thy were very good in the first half. They only needed to be barely competent in the second to ease to a comfortable victory. So pretty galling that they let the Welsh back into the game. Wales did very little but have an away win instead of a hiding. Mad game really.

    3. Thought the French blew a great chance to beat them. Having said that, mistake and an interception killed them.
      I like Barnes’s style of refereeing but felt he was very lenient on the Welsh line of rush defense and also allowing shepherding of the French chasers on the box kicks.

  9. We had the colly wobbles, 1st half , I am glad Ffrainc is behind us, they have old heads, some young legs , a porker scrum, you will have a game on your hands in Paris.

    Here is the bad news for both Yr Eidal and yr Alban, Cymru played badly and won away. We say ‘Duw yw Cymry’ , god is welsh , Cymru have the favourites at home. Rygbi is in us, we bleed Rygbi, win at any cost.

    Come on, show Yr Eidal your teeth today.Cymru am byth.

  10. Random positive thought of the day as we gear up for the game to start…we have FIVE established line out jumpers in our starting pack…Toolis, Gilchrist, Skinner, Ritchie, Wilson…if we are clever, then we will keep them guessing and establish line out dominance from the start. Could also make them hesitant on their own throw as well.

    1. From that first half he’s looking very impressive.

      Also from the first half, I expect this forum to be raging with the old Laidlaw debate. Hoping for better from him in the second half!

      1. Slow ball at the breakdown has plagued Scotland for years. Little has been down to rectify this and though it is still a problem, Laidlaw is not solely responsible, but if he cannot shift the ball quicker Scotland will suffer.

      2. No comment. Never a Laidlaw fan, but coming round to the point that it might be good having him on Finn’s inside shoulder who possibly as a result had a perfect game.

  11. Laidlaw linked well for the bonus point try. And a sharp pass for the second try. Hope the replacements grab their chances.

  12. If we’d have won 33-3 there was still enough of a concern for us not to be too happy with the performance – but that last 10mins was a disgrace.

    What is the point in giving up a yellow to Italy – they are awful.

    Utterly brainless stuff – their tries were disgraceful – what is the point in two players tackling one player – Seymour and Harris, I think they did it twice.

    Italy are a terrible side – really terrible, they’ve got nothing and we let them score 3 tries.

    I know its a first game in a while for some players but too many of our side look lethargic – our forwards rarely created any fast ball and Laidlaw insisted on playing the game at his pace – he and the forwards killed any momentum.

    Players like Jones were completely out of sorts.

    On a more positive note, Fin and Johnson were outstanding.

    We need to up 2 or 3 gears next week or we will be pumped.

  13. Kinghorn deserved mom for his hattrick. Well done.

    Other than him, Hogg did more than he’s done all season for Glasgow; Johnson looked at good at 12; Ryan Wilson had a good game as did Ritchie.

    Thought Edinburgh’s much vaunted front five was ok. Nothing more. Fully expect Gray to start next week. Hope Brown is fit soon for the bench. He brings much needed abrasiveness.

    33-3 was job done. Pretty disappointed with the last 15 mins though.

  14. Decent win. Irish will be a different ball game. Assuming Skinner is out and Brown, J Gray, Maitland and P Horne are fit then my 23 for Ireland would be: Hogg, Seymour,Jones,Johnson,Kinghorn, Russell,Laidlaw,Dell, McInally,Nel,Toolis, Gilchrist,Wilson,Ritchie,Strauss. Subs: Brown,Bhatti,Berghan,J Gray,Hardie,Price,P Horne, Maitland

  15. I was quite happy with the game. We were fully in control for 60 minutes and put some really good phases together.

    Johnson had a great game and we didn’t miss Watson as much as I thought. Hogg looked very sharp (and was really unlucky to be called back for crossing).

    I think Laidlaw controlled the game well, no problem for me with how he approached it.

    We took our eye off the ball towards the end when he game was won, and our structure fell apart a bit when the subs came on – but we knew our bench was weak.

    The reason I am happy despite the end of the game is that we won, we got a bonus point and we didn’t win so easily that we are going to be cocky going into next week. There is plenty to work on and I do think we have saved some surprises for Ireland.

    If we play like we did early on then we are capable of winning, we just need to be a bit more clinical and finish our chances better.

    We obviously had a tactic to kick on the front foot, which I think would be a disaster against Ireland, so hopefully keep the ball in hand next week.

    Apart from anyone coming back from injury, I wouldn’t change the starting 15 much for next week – I do think Seymour should be dropped for Graham, he made a couple of good breaks, but didn’t do a lot else and compared to Kinghorn he looked tired.

    Please can we stop calling our team and players disgusting or a disgrace, that sort of attitude is more suitable for football forums, rugby is meant to be better than this. Discussion of things that went wrong and reasonable criticism should be encouraged, but let’s keep it positive.

      1. Stu 2
        This is Scotland, not NZ. You insult Italy and suggest if we won 33-3 you would still have been critical of our performance. Get a grip fella, have a reality check. Enjoy the brilliance or some of our players but accept not every player is world class. Don’t expect flawless performances and try and take pleasure in the many great moments shown. It hasn’t happened often over the years and its quite something to see the number of scoring opportunities created. Well Done Scotland!!

  16. Although there’s no excuse for the last 10 minutes, bear in mind that Hogg had what seemed like a perfectly legitimate and stunning try ruled out when it was 33-10. I just wish refs would let play unfold then come back to check when a try-scoring opportunity is in progress. To be fair, Luke Pearce had an excellent game overall, I thought.

      1. Once he’d blown the whistle, play had to stop, so he couldn’t go to the TMO. Just wait before you whistle and if it’s a genuine penalty then the try can be overruled.

      1. Agree all round. It was a very poor. The Italian pushed the Scot not the other way around. If you look at the run up to the Harris try when Hogg initially broke a Scot got in the way there too and nothing was given. It’s part of rugby and Scotland do it well. The ref was clearly in his first Six Nations game. A little quick to blow at times and the breakdown a bit of a lottery too.

      1. The horrible scrums were the responsibility of the players.

        I think we saw how important Schoeman is – Dell is a major step down in the scrum.

  17. We all said the bench looked weak and so it proved. I’d feel much better with G.Horne, D.Weir/P.Horne, Hardie, Reid on the bench. Brown can’t be back soon enough too. Harris try aside has started to show a little.

    Hard to leave Kinghorn out now, has looked a natural at this level from his first cap. When Maitland is back surely it’s Seymour at risk. Graham must be banging on that door too. It’s no surprise to see Johnson play so well and only injury will take the 12 shirt from him.

    1. Harris had a good game. Good work for his try, nice line break and a good number of solid tackles. Would go as far as to say that he was an improvement on Jones, who had a quiet day.

      1. Harris missed a couple of tackles and he and Seymour were responsible for Italy scoring the last.

        Falling over the try line from 2m out doesn’t make his a test centre.

  18. Some great stuff, but no direction on the field once Greig went off. We can’t play with the big boys if we collapse like that.

  19. Personally think that Wilson going off opened up our defence for the Italians. He had a really good game without grabbing headlines. Playing with a player down galvanised Glasgow against the Scarlets, shame it didn’t have the same impact today. Ok, game won with the BP but that last 10 minutes really take the shine off the victory. Johnson did well & made some hard yards, thought Harris did ok & hopefully his try will give him a load of confidence to push on internationally. Scrum needs sorting as does the penalty count in our own 5 metre line, though not sure if we might have been hard done by with some of the decisions. Big step up next week, hope the training this week focuses on precision & defence.

  20. Thought Luke Pearce was ok but through the reflink I heard him call Laidlaw “Greggy” and then “Gregor”, it’s not that hard to get names right…. But still better than Wayne Barnes’s attempts.

  21. For the most part it was a pretty solid performance from Scotland and who really looked a far better side than Italy until we seemed to just lose the plot in the last 10-15 mins …Just glad the game didn’t have another 10 mins on the clock otherwise things looked like going pear shaped.

    Plus points were Kinghorn is test class…Johnson is test class….Ritchie is test class player. Harris is looking better. Hogg looking more like old self…fantastic and fair…somehow disallowed try… would have been try of the comp candidate.

    Russell was more composed than usual…and he’ll need to be that and more next weekend. Its really about consistency for him to be in that elite 10 class…imo

    Laidlaw… love his play or hate it….we lose shape and direction without him.

    Thought G Graham might have been introduced earlier than he was… still capped …so hopefully everyone can just move on and support the guy.

    England looked impressive today….handed Ireland their ‘giggle berries’ on a platter…and made them look well short of where they think they are.

    Will no doubt add more fire to Ireland next weekend which is now a must win for them….as it is for us… if we want to actually win the 6N…like we’re saying we do. It’ll take an 80 min performance with no real brain farts to win though. We have shown we can play great rugby…but consistently we haven’t . Will be interesting to see the combinations GT selects…shame we have so many injuries going into the Ireland match.

    1. I’d rather Ireland won today and took some complacency into our match. I think we’ve the players to beat them, but not the consistency or fortitude.

  22. I’ll take that every day of the week but the last 10mins really spoiled it. Fair enough we got the BP but if you want to win the tournament you need to put a cricket score on Italy because someone will and the points can come into play.

    I’ll have to watch the game again but I thought Sam Johnson stood out as did Ritchie. Kinghorn played his best game for Scotland, Maitland will have a fight to get his shirt back. Hogg looked sharp as usual and was unlucky to get that try chalked off, wasn’t much in it for me. Strauss carried pretty well when he came on, shame we didn’t se more of skinner.

    Emptying the bench ruined our flow and tempo. I understand the game was won and we want to blood / rest players for next week but the bench really weakened us. Until around 60mins Italy didn’t really have a look in at all.

    But hey ho, Italy have embarrassed us plenty of times and they threw everything at us in the last 20mins so we need to be happy with that win.

  23. That chaotic final ten minutes took a lot of the shine off for me too. Even allowing for being a man down, it was utterly shambolic and any repeats of passages of play like that against bigger guns to come will bring no end of pain for us.
    Still, five tries (should have been six), territorial dominance and excellent performances from Johnson, Hogg and Russell were good to see.
    Finn’s grubbers to turn the Italy rush defence were effective and could be just as effective against Ireland’s rush defence too, as Farrell demonstrated very well in Dublin this evening.

  24. It annoys me that we still seem unable to play the ref like other teams seem capable of doing.

    If we’re 30 points up and he calls over the captain… If he then tells him that there’s been too many consecutive penalties in the red zone and that the next ones a yellow…. There should then be some communication to ensure that we don’t, at any cost, concede a penalty on the next passage of play.

    1. The ref was right though, we were under the cosh at that point and were giving away penalties. I thought on the whole we got a decent run of the green. IMO Russell’s pass for Kinghorns 2nd try was forward, Mcinally was lucky not to be binned, I have seen knock ons like Seymour’s deliberate one penalised rather than scrum and I have seen Tries like Hoggs chalked off for more clear groundings. Don’t think we can complain.

      1. I agree. I think the ref was fine for us… Berghan’s yellow card was the right call, and should have come as no surprise to him because he’d just told us he would do it.

  25. Hopefully some more of the cavalry arrive for Ireland.

    Is there an Argument for Pyrgos on the bench ? a like for like replacement who may help keep the shape and gameplan.

    Team for Next week with some optimism on injuries.

    1. Dell
    2. Mcinally
    3. Nel
    4. Toolis
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Wilson
    7. Ritchie
    8. Strauss
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Maitland
    12. Johnson
    13. Jones
    14. Kinghorn
    15. Hogg

    16. Brown
    17. Allan
    18. Berghan
    19. Skinner
    20. Hardie
    21. Horne
    22. Horne
    23. Graham

    Just feel that bench would be way more influential and be able to keep a similar standard to the starting 15

  26. Ńéíłs Official Player Ratings: Scotland

    Dell – 6
    Mcinally – 7
    Nel – 7
    Toolis – 7
    Gilchrist -7
    Skinner – N/A
    Ritchie – 8.5
    Wilson – 7
    Laidlaw – 8
    Russell – 9
    Seymour – 6
    Johnson – 8
    Jones – 6
    Kinghorn – 10
    Hogg – 9

    Kerr – 5
    Bhatti – 5
    Berghan – 2
    Strauss – 8
    Price – 6
    Hastings – 5
    Harris – 7

    1. Can’t give Kinghorn a 10 with the butchered try when he didn’t pass. Also, you are generous to Seymour
      As he was exceptionally poor today. Not at the races at all

    2. Wilson definitely more than 7 – a well-earned 8 from me. Restarts, try-saving defence & a constructive nuisance at the breakdown plus a few yards made going forward. Kinghorn was good at finishing today & making himself available but not a perfect 10, 8.5 at best. Thought Hoggy had a great game all round & so unlucky not to get a brace, my MoM today.

  27. Was at the game today and haven’t had a chance to watch the game back yet but like many others ( and I’m sure that includes the coaching staff) was left feeling a bit flat at final whistle.
    For what it’s worth here’s my summary!
    In the credit column: bonus point win and top of the pile after round 1,kinghorn treble, impressive debut for Johnson, Hogg and Russell played well as did Wilson and Ritchie. The first 70 minutes.
    In the debit column: Sam Skinner getting injured early on ( didn’t look good) our bench significantly weakened us and the utter brain fart that was the last 10 minutes!
    A few people saying Seymour wasn’t great but I thought he defended really well and the ball didn’t really come his way in attack. Today also showed why Toony rates Wilson so highly when others (like me) don’t – dealt really well with restarts and we lost our shape badly after he went off.
    Plenty to work on for next week and Ireland will be desperate to get back on track and will test us all over the park but they will be under a bit of pressure.

  28. Someone at the SRU has been telling porkies. If Jonny Gray was ‘injured’ rather than dropped, imagine my surprise to see him playing a full part in the warm-up including set pieces and contact.
    Overall a solid performance against an extremely limited Italian side. For large parts of the match the result was a forgone conclusion.
    I take the point of resting starters for next week while giving replacements game time but emptying the bench was a killer. Laidlaw’s control and Wilson’s abbrasiveness were missed. The Berghound did what the Berghound does and the remaining 14 looked a scratch team for the remainder of the match, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth and fans deflated.

  29. Excellent 1st 60mins (about the time the replacements came on)
    With Russell & Hogg playing we can trouble most teams at Murrayfield.
    Russell seems to be making better decisions but was given space/time.
    Italy were strong & stuffy but pretty clueless (why keep kicking long when Hoggy is there).
    Johnson was very good, perfect foul foil for Russell.
    I reckon H.Jones was under cooked he hasn’t played much recently.
    Real drop in quality when replacements came on.
    After the Irish losing they will be desperate to win.
    Maitland, Dunbar should be considered for the MD squad next week as well as Ashe, J.Gray.

    1. I thought Johnson and Russell were excellent together – Johnson is skilled enough to be first receiver and it gives us a fantastic range of options.

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Scotland's Womens Six Nations came to a frustrating end with an eminently achievable third place slipping out of their fingers in the final minutes. Skye rates the players.
Scotland Women travel to Ireland this weekend to face down the chance of their first 3rd place finish in the Six Nations since 2005.

Scottish Rugby News and Opinion