Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 11- 18 Wales

Scotland vs Wales
pic © Scottish Rugby Blog

The final match at BT Murrayfield of Scotland’s 2019 Six Nations Championship, against the grand-slam chasing Welsh, arguably the form team in world rugby at the moment, ended in agonising defeat for the home side, who for much of the second half looked like knocking Wales’ Grand Slam ambitions into next year but ultimately came up short.

The pre-match narrative was one of 2-fold turmoil. Scotland who “hadn’t fired a shot” in the competition, according to newly installed starting scrum-half Ali Price, were facing a Welsh squad which contained 7 Ospreys, who don’t know if their club will even exist next season.

After a patchy opening ten minutes, which saw Hamish Watson replace one of the few bright sparks from this campaign, Jamie Ritchie for an HIA, a penalty conceded by Josh Navidi gave Finn Russell the chance to open the scoring from the tee, which he duly accepted.

Wales did not take long to bite back. They carried through the forwards until an overlap opened out wide, Josh Adams made an absolute mug of Blair Kinghorn as he stepped off his right and crossed in the left-hand corner. Anscombe converted, in silence, to make it 7-3 for the Grand Slam chasers.

As if Scotland’s injury worries hadn’t been obvious enough during this campaign, Hamish Watson, making his international return after a broken hand lay-off, lasted less than 5 minutes for Ritchie before his noggin needed checking. Fraser Brown, the replacement hooker according to his shirt number, became Scotland’s third openside flanker for the afternoon which had barely begun. Positional swapping would be a theme of the afternoon.

Jamie Ritchie thankfully passed his HIA, and came back on during the break in play when Scotland had another penalty which Russell converted. Darcy Graham, making his first start, had made a tremendous line break deep into the Welsh 22, and with the pressure on, they eventually infringed.

Replacements were required prior to the restart though, Seymour had to go off for McGuigan with an arm/hand injury, and in Wales’ second row, Adam Beard was replaced by Jake Ball. We were only a quarter of the way through this match by this point and the benches were well into use.

Scotland captain Stuart McInally conceded his second penalty of the afternoon to award Gareth Anscombe an easy shot at goal, and the Blues man, who probably knows he still has a job next season, put it between the sticks.

Wales game-plan may not be fancy, but we know it’s effective, as evidenced with their 34 phase try against England last week. They didn’t quite hit the same number of phases this time, but after concentrating on the pick-and-go to draw in the defenders, they eventually found space again for the backs down the left-hand side, Jonathan Davies the man able to cross the try-line this time with Graham left to defend too many men.

At this break in play there were more replacements, again, and more bad news for Scotland. Adam Beard came back on for Jake Ball on the Wales side, but Blair Kinghorn had earlier done himself a mischief which had made Davies’ score all the simpler, and off went “The King” to be replaced at full-back by a Hastings, but one who’s more accustomed to playing at stand-off.

With the first-half drawing to a close, Wales nearly crossed the try-line again owing to a huge slice of fortune. Anscombe’s penalty attempt bounced off the upright into the hands of man-of-the-match Hadleigh Parkes, but a combination of Hastings, Graham and finally Pete Horne, managed to bundle the on-fire player into touch. Hastings stayed down after the incident, but thankfully the man with the shiniest teeth in world rugby managed to continue with just a grimace.

Even then, the danger wasn’t over. Scotland’s line-out, which has been somewhere between mis-firing and downright shambolic over the duration of the competition, again mis-fired. Ali Price cleaned up but was taken back into the goal-area to offer Wales a 5m scrum – the Welsh players helpfully trying to claim a try. The scrum held up, and thankfully for Scotland, Wales knocked-on a few phases later to end a disjointed half of rugby.

Half-time: Scotland 6 – 15 Wales

The second half started off with a bit of kick-tennis, until Darcy Graham sliced one off his boot to give Wales the line-out equidistant to Scotland’s 22 and 10m lines.

Whilst Wales have structure and a plan, Scotland are the chaos merchants, and after Finn Russell had initially failed to find touch with a penalty, the kick return was fielded and Allan Dell went on a lung-shattering run from his own half into Welsh territory, but eventually Russell’s pass went behind McGuigan.

Scotland were beginning to dominate proceedings though and the crowd were starting to murmur. A penalty for a high tackle on Grigg went to the corner, Adam Beard collapsed the maul, so Scotland went again and Gilchrist carried over the try-line, but he was held up from scoring. It was a 5 metre scrum to Scotland though, and Murrayfield was starting to find its voice.

Scrum completed, Scotland tried to breach the Welsh wall, and when Horne delayed his pass perfectly for Hastings, he got closer to scoring than even Graham had in the first-half. Wales though, are defensive masters, and Tipuric managed to get his hands on it at the next carry.

Biggar’s clearing penalty kick was pretty terrible to be honest, Jonny Gray got a big left-mitt on it, and Scotland were away again. A further infringement for another high-tackle gave Scotland the line-out in the Welsh 22. It didn’t rumble far, but if there’s one man on this Scotland team capable of unlocking a defence that even Tom Cruise would deem as “Mission Impossible”, it’s Finn Russell. His no look inside pop was taken deep by McGuigan on a superb angle, Hastings and Graham combining thereafter to get the try that Scotland’s territorially-dominant second-half had deserved.

Always keen to take a shotgun to our own feet, a mis-placed Scottish pass from Horne nearly allowed Josh Adams a run-in to the corner, but Graham recovered well, and a few short phases later, Adams had knocked on on the opposite flank.

Try-scorer and saver Graham however then had to be replaced by Laidlaw who was the last back left on the bench, which meant a positional reshuffle with Ali Price moving to the wing, just as he had been forced to two years ago during the Mauling of Twickenham.

Watson, Toolis and Berghan also came on at this stage for Strauss, Gray and Nel. Wales, often so clinical and calm, were starting to look rattled as Scotland, led by Hamish Watson, finally showed some intensity.

Jake Ball took his eye off it and dropped it, so the blue wave kept coming. Watson bounced and weaved round three tackles, then sat down Dan Biggar inside the 22. Wales conceded another penalty, Scotland again went for the line and “Flower of Scotland” echoed round the stadium. Another penalty for collapsing the maul, and a warning from Monsieur Gauzerre to AWJ about Wales’ discipline, but no card despite repeated attempts to frustrate Scottish ball.

Wales repelled attack after and attack, and turned the ball over just outside the 22 to seemingly relieve some pressure, only for replacement scrum-half Aled Davies to kick out on the full from his own 22.

It was now a four-point game with four minutes to go, and the drama was all unfolding in Welsh territory. Russell played the grubber down the left channel for Price to chase, but he inexplicably decided to tackle Anscombe before he’d gathered the ball: pressure valve released.

To compound matters, Price then got taken into touch when fielding a closely-followed Welsh kick, allowing Wales all the territory and possession you could want when aiming to run the clock down.

The gap of victory was extended with the last touch of the match, Anscombe knocking a penalty over from inside the 22 after Watson was penalised for not releasing after the tackle.

We may have been playing France last time, but it was a case of déjà vu for Scotland, who proved they can be a Murrayfield match for the big guns, but who ultimately take a shotgun (or even an AK 47 for that matter, with how they were scoring) to their own feet. Price, who otherwise was very good, will regret that moment of madness when it looked like Wales, for so long starved of possession, were about to buckle.

A vast improvement on last week’s toothless effort, but still almost completely infuriating. But we’re used to that by now, aren’t we?

Referee: Pascal Gauzerre (FFR)

Attendance: 67,144

Price was in the running until the double-headed moments of madness late on, Russell was again doing some lovely stuff, with only a couple of bloopers thrown in, and Darcy Graham did not disappoint on his first start. Jamie Ritchie, however, was all over the park, and has maybe forced his way into automatic first XV territory. He’s been Scotland’s player of the tournament, so we’ll also maybe call this a cumulative MOTM.

190 Responses

  1. Sorry but we are poor side – that Welsh side are military medium, but we have no composure -we are utterly incapable of building phases and teams know they only need to slow our ball down and they have us.

    I am not interested in excuses about injuries – apart from the 50th to 70th minute we were garbage – how we could churn out that first half after the last two matches sums up our lack of professionalism.

    I genuinely fear for us next week – we’ve nae spine, nae devil and make so many unforced errors I sometimes have to remind myself they are pros.

    Please dont fool ourselves into thinking we did OK today because of 20mins – we were rubbish.

  2. On the evidence of the whole season Darcy Graham has to be first choice. He has no problem getting stuck in too, unlike Kinghorn, who I like but some guys just relish the rough and tumble and some don’t. That can’t be coached. I’d like a couple more hard nuts in the team and for that reason want Hardie involved. Why on earth was Sam Johnson dropped? I like Reid but it’s pointless having him on the bench to shore up a scrum for 15 minutes. Hastings good out of position, gutsy tackle on Adams at a key point.

    Can’t knock any of the players for effort and the constant injuries are a major disruption but I’m not sold on Townsend and his staff.

  3. Difficult trying to play without a midfield. Fully felt Russell’s frustration. Johnson back to inside centre. Hastings, Johnstone, McDowall outside. Could or should have won that with a different team. Graham showed class from out the gates – without a doubt that’s another one in the Hogg, Russell, Jones category. Be nice to have them all fit at the same time. Be great to see if George Horne can join them. Thank goodness Watson is back.

    1. I thought we were impressive in second half , especially with injection of energy from Hastings and brilliance from Watson . Ritchie has been excellent but some of praise in his direction is a bit OTT tbh as his impact has been really limited to breakdown and defence without any real creativity or hard attacking yards such as we get from Watson at 7. So next week should see him in more natural 6 role. The midfield was ok , however , next week needs to see a recall for Sam Johnson at 12 . The 13 position is problematic however the call for McDowall to play out of position as a rookie at Twickenham are ludicrous and unfair on the young lad who needs more time to develop his game. I suspect because of his size folk see him as a different type of midfield weapon , maybe.? . but not yet! The guile isn’t quite there , and England would exploit this to the full.Keep Grigg there , he did ok yesterday and have Horne off the bench for later in the match when he will have studied England’s patterns and gaps . I think history shows that is when he can be at his more commanding and elusive best in applying his undeniable nous to best effect around a potentially tiring defence.

  4. As a professional outfit we were rubbish, and seemingly headless for much of the match which points to major coaching deficiencies on a number of levels. It does however have to be acknowledged that our resources mean we can’t cope with injuries, look at the difference when our first choice flanker came on and our centres were always going to struggle today. A joke that Northants centre Hutchinson is not in the squad, a genuinely good player who offers a lot more than Grigg or Horne. Watson, Ritchie and Bradbury/Skinner in the back row next week please and Kinghorn needs to go back to Edinburgh and let Cockers toughen him up a bit, he embarrassed himself today with no real belief or heart in total contrast to our 11st winger. Graham was great, a real chunk of light in an awful first half and Dell played a blinder today, made the loose head spot his own, Williams isn’t sarcastically laughing at anyone now.

  5. Some really bitter commenters on the blog today (as there have been all week). Too much bile. Takes the fun out of what was a competitive and exciting match that we could and should have won. I could understand it more if the second half had been like the first, which was poor but we came on to a good game today, albeit without the nous/power/guile/quality to unlock a professional but limited outfit that has the best defence coach in the world. I thought the boys showed passion and pride, as they of course should, and wish we could get behind them.

    Absolutely don’t agree that we shouldn’t take injuries to half our first XV and multiple back-up players into account when judging GT and this side, especially Hoggy who makes a huge difference in attack and defence. Then to lose Kinghorn and Seymour within half an hour with Hastings at full back and Ali Price ending up on the wing (again!)? And still come back with a spirited, dominant 2nd half?

    Watched this one with an English professional ref (mentored by Wayne Barnes) who was screaming at the TV on multiple occasions that not yellow carding the Welsh was inexcusable, especially the two 5-yard driving mauls that were brought down. Said he would have been heavily criticised in his review if he hadn’t given yellow cards in those situations.

  6. Apologies for this as it is not directly related to the thread, but could some of Stu2’s comments be deleted that are recent ? they are vindictive and come across pretty much as an excuse to bully other posters. really puts a downer on this website for me when I see comments like this.

    Thanks and sorry again, just don’t enjoy this when he is looking for ways to wind people up.

    1. I agree as well. No need for it. Neil is a key contributor whether you agree with what he says or not he’s always open minded and learning.

      1. I used to be really into the football team as well, but the constant negativity and criticism on sites similar to this one swept like a cancer through the whole thing. I’d hate to see that happen in rugby as well. Let’s at least try to be constructive and avoid bringing the daggers out on every post we make.

      2. If anyone feels another commentor is out of line then our email addresses can be found elsewhere on the blog. This feels a bit like a pile on lads. For what it’s worth I’ve been through Stu2’s comments and can’t funderstand any breaches of our comments policy. Please refer any disputes to us by email. Thanks.

      3. Military medium is a cricket term for an innocuous bowler who is unlikely to make an impact.

      4. Thanks NorthI127; much appreciated. I was going to Google it but am struggling with my new prosthetics.

  7. Message to the doommongers – we’re not going backwards. All the little details are against us right now. Ali Price made 2 key errors late on when the momentum was with us as he doesn’t know the technicalities of playing on the wing. Not his fault at all. Sums it up.
    England has a nightmare 6n last season for similar reasons and have been absolutely fine since.

    We will be fine for the World Cup and beyond unless Hogg, Russell, Watson are all out.

  8. Currently watching England Italy. It doesn’t bode well for us against England. If Townsend was any good as a coach he may come up was a game plan but, based on previous games, it will be more same as and highly predicable for Eddie Jones to counter. Could Townsend not take a sabbatical and just let the players get on with it. We couldn’t do worse

  9. Much better second half when Russell has more time to play – especially little grubbed kicks which helped turn a tiring Welsh defence. But our lack of accuracy in the first half was horrible and yet again for all the talk of a lack of depth it was our bench that made the biggest difference- chiefly Watson and Hasting. I have to say that McInally didn’t have a great game and didn’t appear to be the leader we needed. Huge effort but 2 soft penalties and holding on in the maul too long. I also think Kinghorn was quite poor – but I do believe both these guys will come good, it’s just unfortunate that they haven’t stepped up this 6 nations

  10. Some commenters are bobbins.
    Before the tournament would any of you have said our first choice back row is Bradbury, Strauss and Ritchie?
    Would you have picked a centre pairing of Horne and Grigg?
    Would you have dropped Hogg for Blair Kinghorn?
    These things make a massive difference.
    Kinghorn is a fantastic player, but I think at this level he’s a winger. With Hogg on the pitch Adams might not have got his try and he’s the kind of threat who might have found a way through their line when we had all that pressure.
    There was a score between the teams today, one with a bunch of 21 and 22 year olds on 5 caps with nothing to play for but pride and the other full of British lions who’ve been around for a decade going for a slam.
    The level of intensity achieved in the 2nd half is our benchmark (and the 1st against Ireland).
    The team can get there and Townsend is taking them in the right direction.
    Darcy Graham will be a star!
    With him Robbie Nairn and Jack Blain there’s an exciting pipeline of wingers coming through.

    1. The only direction Townsend is taking is backwards. Whoever is on the field should have a clue what to do. It’s up to the coach to instill that.

      1. Bit harsh. We were within a score and had young guys having to play out of position due to injuries (like the list wasn’t already long enough) against a very established team ranked 3rd in the world.

      2. If you bother to watch CAVOK Townsend’s attacking back play is genuinely innovative and difficult to defend.
        Requires us to have front line players on the park, which hasn’t happened this 6N but we probably won’t have another season like this for injuries. I hope not, anyway.
        It really has been a bit of a freak.

  11. Neils Official Player Ratings.

    1. Dell – 8
    2. Mcinally – 6.5
    3. Nel – 6
    4. Gilchrist – 7.5
    5. Gray – 7
    6. Bradbury – 6.5
    7. Ritchie – 7
    8. Strauss – 6
    9. Price – 7
    10. Russell – 7
    11. Graham – 8
    12. Horne – 5
    13. Grigg – 5.5
    14. Seymour – N/A
    15. Kinghorn – 4

    16. Brown – 6
    17. Reid – N/A
    18. Berghan – 6
    19. Toolis – 5
    20. Watson – 9
    21. Laidlaw – 4.5
    22. Hastings – 8
    23. Mcguigan – 5.5

    Attack – 5, Defense – 7, Desicion making – 6

  12. I know we lost, but I kind of enjoyed watching a game where Scotland were fighting and potentially capable of winning it again :D Darcy Graham was electric, Bradbury was knocking them back and there was fast passing from the ruck! And what happened to Dell? He was ferocious! Cut out the first half tedium and we’re back! Vast improvement from the last game and happy to see it :-)

    1. The Story of Scotland over the years and sadly, it seems, destined to be the road ahead

      1. Everyones disappointed. Lets try and be constructive. Dont understand why you bother posting or even watching if you are this negative

  13. When Darcy Graham scored his try the players were celebrating as if they had won the game. This attitude is all wrong. They should be kicking each other up the backside to regroup, focus and and do it all again to try and win the game. Then you have the right to celebrate. It was good to see more intensity though.

    1. Sorry, Chippy, but that’s a bizarre criticism. They had been pounding the Welsh line for ages and finally made the breakthrough with a beautiful, slick move. If they were completely distracted and fell to pieces after scoring the try, you might have a point, but that didn’t happen. They kept up the pressure. I don’t understand your point at all.

      1. Chippy makes a good point, attitude is important. Scotland needs to adopt a positive scoring mindset, not behave like excited schoolkids.

    2. I think it was more to do with who scored it & the moment that would have been for him than anything else.

    3. Chippy you are right in saying that but what was clear was that the boys confidence picked up and the Welsh new it. There was a real opportunity from there to raise the standard which to some degree they did. I also agree with busy little bee that we need some ‘hard nuts’ involved. Though the moment that Richie stood up for Darcy Graham was great to see. That’s a moment that the whole team should have flicked the switch What we need is players like Hamish Watson who takes no nonsense – someone to pick up the standard and bloody well let it fly for crying out loud!!!!It seriously riles me up that for sometime these players over the last 10 – 15 years have forgotten who their playing for. COME ON SCOTLAND WE’RE WAITING FOR YOU!!!!!

    4. It was the lads first try for his country. Jesus.
      I don’t get some people on here.
      I agree with Andrew and Neil. It was a well worked try against a very impressive defence and confidence is high.
      I get we are disappointed with a loss again and the six nations has not been great given our expectations. Which are higher because of our improvements. We are going through a tough patch which, like or not, is being caused by injuries to main players. Look at England last year without Billy Vunipola and other injuries. They had a huge slump.

  14. One thing that consistently happens against Wales, when Scotland have momentum in their 22 is that Wales kill the ball happy to give a penalty than a try, spoiling tactics, obviously a game plan. Against us they get away with it . Against the regarded top teams they don’t. IRU need to oversee cheating at this level more consistently, and look at these tactics that , I hate to say but Gatland coach’s, like his shout for the early engagement at the scrum where Wales would win penalties. That mentality is probably one reason why Wales can’t win a world cup, as good as they are.

    1. I wouldn’t say Wales are actually very good at present. They’ve won two of the four when they really should have lost. But they have to be applauded for winning when so average. We’d love to be in that position. We seem to have to be brilliant to win which makes it’s much harder to win. I’d imagine New Zealand if you analysed them have the ability to cheat well too and the best teams will tend to be the ones who cheat and get away with the most. But Wales knew how and for how long to hold on to ball in the ruck before being pinged but also when it was better to give the penalty away. They then had a plan when all their chances had been used and did something different in the line-out so we couldn’t set up our maul but did it without giving away a yellow. This is done by good research into the ref and bringing up the right stuff when they talk prematch.

      So many times the Welsh had two hands on the ball off their feet (or never on their feet) and slowed it enough to stop our advantage in attack but let go just before it become what Gauzere deemed to be foul play. It was so smart but clearly foul play that never got pinged. Then when here was a pen they did anything and everything to stop the attack continuing so the ref could go back for the penalty and we had no more advantage. Very cynical but it was allowed.

      The issue with rugby and football is that the punishment for foul play often doesn’t fit the crime. A yellow card doesn’t make up for a try(especially with us) and four pens in red zone that get the yellow doesn’t make up for the tries lost in that either. I see no other way to do it other than refs being quicker with pens and then yellows. But in the end cheats will prosper. The best teams therefore get two advantages from cheating and then stopping the momentum and slowing it enough to get organised. It’s infuriating but I don’t know how else it could be fixed…

  15. Will put more up later however such an infuriating match because we messed up so much but we’re so close from it being virtually Impossible at half-time.

    With Graham break early we had to go wide after a truck up or two. It was on for a try in corner.

    We struggled so badly in the last five yards and Welsh know how to cheat and get away with it. You fall down slightly bounce back up without releasing and that’s allowed you stand on ur feet (Ritchie) you get pinged. Yellow were almost deserved but again Wales know how much rope they have. We aren’t good enough to beat it. So so cynical constantly.

    Lastly think how bad a position we are now with injuries. It’s now almost please Visser we are desperate.

    They looked bad who went off today. Kinghorn is out so is Seymour and Darcy looked bad too. Maitland, Seymour, kinghorn and Hogg all full back or cover of. Is there anybody left although Hastings seemed to have a great game today when he came on.

    lastly for now. With who we are how game was going we had to take 3 on 69 minutes. Wales did it two weeks ago. Take the points. We would have got back in range based on game and prob got a pen. The lowest percentage for us and with Wales cheating at mails was kick to the corner at that stage. We ran out of time and were left with very little to play with. Game decisions were poor today. Laidlaw was on by then and we’d have a one point game. Did he not say anything cause he was just on? A real shame.

    1. I have genuinely no idea who will play in the back three next week. If Kinghorn, Graham and Seymour are all out…then who are we left with? McGuigan definitely plays. Is Lee Jones fit? Rozza Hughes? Will Maitland be back? Dougie Fife?

      1. Assuming all the people who have ‘Niggles’ are cleared for England, who would you switch in from the team that played today ?

      2. Jackson might be the best bet. I have no idea his form but I think he is a better full back than he’s ever been a ten. His experience is possibly better for our defence than Kinghorn at the moment.

    2. That must be the umpteenth game where we’re complaining about “cheating” and those meanies on the other team slowing our ball. We should maybe stop being so naive, and learn to play the rucks (and the ref) properly.

  16. I know this will simply sound like excuses to some, but I cannot remember a time in professional rugby when a Tier 1 national team has been so decimated by injuries in such a short space of time. The situation has gone well beyond farce: 2 HIAs and 2 of our back three off within 30mins. On top of all the other injuries.

    Yes, we were poor for large parts of the first half.

    Yes, we didn’t have the clinical edge we needed in the second half.

    But it is difficult to underestimate the impact of so many injury disruptions, from the initial squad selection, to the number of men going down during games. We simply don’t have a big enough player pool to cope with this, so quite frankly, 1 win out of 5 is alright.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m as gutted as anyone else that we didn’t win today, when clearly this Welsh team is not as good as the results would suggest. They are one-dimensional, but can deploy an incredibly efficient defensive system. But I think we have to be realistic and appreciate that circumstances have simply not helped us.

    1. Any team in the world would have struggled with that today as you can only pick 23 and most teams have a 5/3 split so with the injuries we had we only had a scrum half from 30 mins left as cover. I thought it was the back row that would be needing a back by the end but turned out it recovered and we were down to nothing left in the backs when Graham went off.

      That is what makes the second half so amazing in one sense that we managed to dominate so many areas. We were obviously prepared with what to do if in these areas as that doesn’t just happen. The radio noticed that Price was swapping to the least dangerous side for defence depending on the attack so he wasn’t exposed. Hastings seemed to do really well at full back which shows he knew what to do, in some ways better than Kinghorn in defence.

      Does anyone know he answers to these stats questions?

      1. How many penalties did Wales give away in match and in the 22?

      2. What percentage of possession did we have in the 2nd half?

      3. What percentage of Territory did we have in second half?

      4. And what percentage of play was in their 22 in the second half?

      I’d imagine these are all highly in our favour and wildly so which shows how god we were I some areas and how desperate we were in others.

      1. 11 penalties in total, 5 in their own 22.

        75% possession.

        78% territory.

        Can’t find any numbers on the % in their 22 but I’d estimate between 30-40%.

      2. Thanks Kev.

        Looked briefly back at match.

        AWJ gave at least 3 of pens. All for not rolling away I think and was told after first to stop it. Did it in crucial areas twice to stop overlaps from happening so we lost momentum. Cynical and no official warning.

        3 high tackles one probably wasn’t but other two done to stop quick release of ball to get in behind. Desperate and done as defense was stretched. Cynical and no official warning.

        3 maul penalties at least at two seperate mauls 5 metres out. Official warning given at last after third. And technically there were two penalties in the long phase before the last maul we had as ref signalled two advantages.

        So 12 penalties in the match with clear patterns within and 5 in 22 that cost us huge momentum and no yellows. Pretty poor.

        That isn’t to mention Adam Beard winning a penalty under his posts as he put his knee down and instead of getting back up uses it to balance and reach over the ruck off his feet and ref gives him it. I think he was third man in.

      3. Hi Kevin – just wondering if you have stats for how many kickable penalties we’ve turned down in this 6 Nations instead kicking to the corner? And also how many points this has yielded?

        This obsession with turning down kickable points drives me insane. We might well have won the South Africa game as well if we’d taken the points.

  17. Disappointed with this year’s tournament as I thought we would do well this time round. We have not played well at all, maybe because of injuries. I wonder if there is an element of resilience emerging from this group. A couple of years ago, we would have folded completely after that first half. I really liked the aggression that people like Ritchie and Graham brought to the side. The lack of experience was telling and it is fair that there were a lot of young players but maybe , just maybe some are maturing into some very good players

  18. One thing I noticed is that we kicked for the corner a few times when we could have gone for the posts.
    Finn wasn’t kicking well but some of them were straightforward.
    Some of these happened at key times when a bit of pressure on the board might have turned the screw.
    Take the points boys!

      1. Yes a conversion and one missed touch which actually didn’t affect us badly at all we got back down very quickly with momentum.

  19. Made some points on other thread. It’s not all doom and gloom.
    i) Russell is class
    ii) Price is back
    iii) Graham great
    iv) Bradbury a proper hard six, growing into role
    v) Hastings class
    bi) Watson superb and uplifting to watch
    general observations about game:
    a) Wales v lucky to avoid yellow
    b) How did j davies’ forward out of the hand pass get missed for first try
    c) Wales defintely took a few tactical injuries to take momentum out of game
    d) Wales still got away with loads at the ruck
    Negatives about us
    1) Fan of Horne and Grigg at club level but just not good enough at test. Horne ignored 4 on 2/3 in first half and kicked in second when if he had run at Davies’ inside shoulder would have created 3 on 1 with Adams and anscombe struggling to cover. Radical option next week is Johnson and McDowell (who looks like should go to RWC)
    2) Laidlaw not a finisher. If not starting shoul be out of 23, great setvant but Price/G Horne or vice versa.
    3)Watching Watson and Dell on runs was great but shame about the lack of support.

    1. Totally agree sad when your prop makes the best line break of game and then no one there to finish it off only consolation is Dell smashed into Williams great player but as likeable as Dan Biggar.

      1. Don’t think Strauss had that great a game today would go Ritchie Watson Bradbury next week .

      2. Disagree. Strauss played well and has had a very good tournament. One of the few in credit.

      3. If you watch game again and Strauss in particular, when he tackled someone he never tried to get up and rip ball away. He always got up and moved to a defensive position. Even as 2nd person there. Just didn’t make sense at times

      4. What I don’t understand is why hasn’t anyone got Strauss to go in to contact lower when he has ball in hand. He hits high and it is so much easier to defend. Even if he’s looking for the offload he’s awareness should be brighter prior to contact and knowing he’s options. Like Denton, Strauss could go beyond the gain line if they got a wee bit more savvey!

      5. A lot of criticism of Strauss, but he made more metres from fewer runs in fewer minutes than the infamous B&I Lion CJ Stander. He was miles better than B&I Lion Ross Moriarty, too.

    2. Agree with many things about your post Wabster. Good to see Price has his mojo back and outplaying the Welsh 9. There were some on this blog saying he wasn’t in the same class. You might be a bit premature about Bradbury who looked ponderous and a second off the pace most of the first half. Maybe not fully match fit. Johnston and McDowell are both inside centres, so probably shouldn’t be in the same team. Don’t agree with you on Horne and Grigg.

      1. Strauss is about our only dominant ball carrier.
        Every game he carries the can and we ask him to run headlong into a wall 20 times.
        It’s got to hurt and he’s not young.
        Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he struggles sometimes with that and the solution is to develop other ball carrying threats.

  20. What to make of that? Disappointing yes but how many teams lose their entire back 3 within 60 minutes (though admittedly Hastings looked more comfortable than Kinghorn). Our pack at times was quite dominant & Gilchrist’s best game for ages, with great support from Ritchie, Watson, Dell & Gray looked more lively too. But at times we looked clueless once we got possession & too many rushed/careless passes. England look so powerful, really worried about next week & who knows if we actually have a functional back line to put together. Not usually a fan of pulling random names out of a hat but maybe not much else to do now. McDowall probably has to play now due to injuries, maybe JJ too. France game was such a let down but given the constant unbelievable injury list, hard to judge GT this week. But we do need to develop a much tougher core & a better attacking edge. Always been a bit concerned that GT was attack coach under Robinson & that era was overly fruitful. Judgement Day will be World Cup.

  21. Curious posting here. We have 28 quality players unavailable. Up against the 3rd ranked team in the world. That, given our 2 pro team structure is doubly damning. The absence of a yellow card for repeated infringement was such a key aspect. Given our injuries and given the RWC is months away, Townsend has had not by choice blooded the youngsters. Darcy Graham. Wow. That is so far from our first team and we should have won against a team pundits have as contenders for the RWC. Lets judge our progress when we have a normal cohort of players fit.

  22. RW ranked 3 nation beat the 7th ranked by a narrow margin. It went with expectation , but no one told the 2nd or 3rd string scots it was a lost cause. So whats the positives :

    We had most of the possession , had no contnuity due to injuries and our prop had the best run of the game taking out Liam Williams who had the guts to put himself in harms way. It was so near , yet so far. We came second by only 4 points despite hardly crossed the gain line all day.

    How about this for a theory, Second half , all out of position (4 of the backs have played Stand off in internationals and our scrum half was on the wing) , knowing the game was slipping away, they just ignored the dressing room orders, threw it around, played for themselves and with just a bit more confidence , could have pulled it off.

    Could it be we in danger of coaching the natural game out of them and putting them in a place of total incompetence.

    1. U know that happened in the Matt Williams era, but I don’t think Trevor Townsend had lost the players.

      1. But are we coaching them too much and they are missing their flair. When they come back to their clubs, they are a bit wooden would be another symptom !

  23. Not sure what to make of that…disappointed but not gutted.

    1 – Adam’s score was off a forward pass; Seymour was out of position. It’s not all Kinghorns fault. In the end this mix of mistakes was the difference.

    2-How come we get so many injuries? It seems beyond luck…conditioning? In hindsight, Seymour was seemingly not sufficiently recovered.

    3-Finn’s missed conversion arguably was the other key moment…had it been 2 points down not 4 we would have likely won by 1.

    4- It was a mistake not to kick it to Williams when he had a busted shoulder. McGuigan had the right idea…shame it wasn’t his to make.

    5- Errors happen, fine. But we too often seem to double-down on these. GT needs to build better “error-management” strategies. Conservatism is not the enemy.

    6-Laidlaw is not a “finisher”. Once Horne is back, either he starts or not in the 23 at all.

    1. While i was hugely disappointed with Laidlaws impact on the game, He did come on against France last year to great effect.

      I would like to see him one more time on the bench & If it goes tits up i agree with that statement Alan.

      On the mistakes part, the lack on continuity in selection will have an effect but should not be happening as much as what it is.

      Do we need a skills coach ? this is something Vern identified pretty early on in his time with us & brought in O’halloran which resulted in alot of improvement & he looks to be showing it again with Glasgow, Perhaps himself or Callum Mcrae from Edinburgh could spread their workload abit, thoughts ?

      1. I wonder how that would work with Townsend . He has the reputation of being autocratic, would a talented coach relocate their family and risk their face not fitting!

        We would be taking a gamble on an also-ran or newbie making good. Expecting the Pro side coaches to step in is like asking a turkey to vote for christmas. (I do like how you are thinking, I am just saying).

        We could debate the Cotter v’s Townsend leadership but one point that is not debatable is that Towsend does not have the international kudos that Cotter brought to the seat.

    2. We were losing ground in attack all of the first and a lot of the second half. I do not see Price as the answer either. We have limited ability in the centre and the ball is being strangled in the rucks. A lot to work on.

      Horne will , in time make a difference but we need another , not Price to support him.

    3. Yes
      Just bad luck. Will improve. Regression to mean.
      True, but tricky and only just. Laidlaw has missed similar this tournament. Can’t say would likely have won by 1. The Welsh still scored again.
      Don’t remember.
      Agree. The best example is Kinghorn’s embarrassing tackle, followed by dropping the ball in contact. It’s like the team has the yips.
      Would love to see G Horne get a proper chance at this level.

      Horrible tournament. Dreading Twickenham.

  24. Wales were constantly killing the ball in their 22, but we kicked the penalties we earned from it to the corner instead of the posts!
    I think we left about 12 points out there! A few 3 pointers really would’ve upped the pressure on Wales.
    This is what Townsend needs to work on IMO. The enthusiasm and running rugby tempered with some discipline and structure.

  25. Desperately disappointed about yesterday (whole 6N), however……………
    Wouldn’t a lot a the recent back/handling/try scoring problems be somewhat improved with Hogg, Maitland, Bennett, Jones, Johnson, Taylor, G.Horne back in the fold?
    Barclay, Blade Thompson (maybe), Denton, R.Gray, Skinner, Z.Fagerson would see a similar improvement in the forwards.
    I know I’m stating the obvious but it may well be the injury list is “the biggy”

    1. A lot of analysts were saying Scotland’s try there was a forward pass from Russell but they didn’t show it clearly thoughts.Thought Ritchie pinged a couple of times wrongly when competing for ball when he bulks up a bit going to be some player.

      1. Maybe it was, but seeing as the pass to Adams for his try was blatantly forward (even Jiffy saw it), it “balances out”.

    2. I think any gripes about forward passes for Wales’ first try and Graham’s try are nit-picking. Both were totally fine, imo.

      1. Andrew there was no angle shown for Russell’s but Davies was clearly forward. Hands were pointing forward ball went forward so it was forward. Had it not been the try would still have been scored but it was forward

      2. You’re probably right. But you know how when you watch a try and you just have a gut feeling whether a pass was forward or not; that one struck me as okay even though it was technically slightly forward. I tend towards letting attacking play be rewarded without getting too concerned about marginal forward passes. Having said that, I would have been quietly thrilled if the try had been cancelled!

  26. Not sure Neil but when we were in their 22 we look as if we have no structure or cohesion as we bash our way to the try line. We also seem underpowered as well. Then when we go wide, like the Graham try, we produce a world class slick handing move straight off the training ground so clueless one moment breathtakingly good the next! That’s our team at the moment and there is a lot of work to be done.
    Personally I would shake up the backroom staff replace Taylor with McRea and bring in O’Halloran. Can’t see this happening until after WC

    Positives from this so far desperately disappointing 6 Nations:
    We have a solid front row with depth. Dell has moved up a level.
    Bradbury and Ritchie now fully bloodied in the test arena and stepping up as key members of the squad in a back row where we have talent and major depth
    Kinghorn another to be fully bloodied but now integral to the squad and can only get better and better.
    GT decision to bench Laidlaw and try something different- crucial decision.
    Russell world class and now has deft and dangerous kicking game
    Hamish Watson has to be world class
    And finally and perhaps the best – Darcy Graham our new Stuart Hogg.

    Now to Twickenham so let’sall pray and touch wood that our injury list is manageable.
    Price to start again
    Fagerson to start
    Richie Gray in match day squad – why not nothing to lose as current locks aren’t setting the world alight
    Ritchie, Watson and Bradbury to start
    James Johnstone at 13
    Hastings at 15 If Kinghorn injured
    Johnson back at 12? Not sure on this one.

    Finally let’s get positive about next Saturday, not easy to do but we have a team guys flawed and a bit dishevelled but with some hugely talented players. I’m up for it are you?

    1. You’re a sadist Nidrie. How can you put an uncapped player into the melting pot of Twickenham? Daft idea

  27. Another fair match report from Stephen Jones in the Sunday Times. Nel and Dell cheated all game, Wales were unfairly penalised for high tackles, and Wales intentionally played poorly in the 2nd half to “test themselves under pressure”.

    1. Jones has hated Scotland ever since the lions tour of NZ in 1993 when our pack of forwards were rubbish. He’s taken every opportunity since to slag us off. By all accounts he’s a dick at his local rugby club too

    2. You’re probably better off ignoring anything that bitter old troll has to say. He’s irrelevant.

  28. Random Musings

    I was wrong re Jamie Ritchie, he has stepped up to the mark & been our best player so far.

    Looks to me as Hastings is a big game player, looked dangerous yesterday & has a kicking game.

    Jim Telfer is right re not having a hard man in the forwards.

    Open question “what” can be legally done to remove big Welsh pests from the back of our maul?

    So miss Hoggy.

    So missed Watson.

    I know one other blogger has mentioned Rory Hutchinson, any other thoughts?

    Our backs lack physicality.

    1. All I know is that Hutchinson has just won Premiership player of the month and has been a fan favourite for Saints this year. He has only just turned 23.

      1. Thoughts on Hutchinson:
        Good attacking talent but at this moment in time his defence is far from top class which is one reason he’s spent much of the season on loan to championship side Bedford.
        We have better all round players available from the pro teams and current squad.
        If he adds rock solid defence to his attacking play and nails down his place at Saints then he could figure.
        That’s a big ‘if’ and he’s definitely not the answer for us right now.

      2. RH was on loan last season I think. Injured at start of this season. How many games had Darcy Graham played for Edinburgh this time last season? I’d love to hear GT at least say Hutchison is on his radar but i don’t think anyone needs a debut this Saturday and certainly dont rush Hogg back.

  29. While the result was disappointing this makes me somewhat optimistic about the next world cup cycle. At present nearly all our key senior figures have either been missing though injury or out of form which has put us in a pretty difficult position.

    From 2020-2023 I think we’ll have (and develop) a very dangerous and consistent team with good cover in each position. I honestly believe we will close the gap on Ireland and Wales who have relied even more on their senior players for years.

    2020 Post world cup squad

    1. Dell/?
    2. McInally, Brown
    3. Fagerson, Berghan
    4. Gilchrist, R.Gray
    5. J.Gray, Skinner
    6. Ritchie, Wilson
    7. Watson, Ritchie
    8. Bradbury, Fagerson
    9. Horne, Price
    10. Russell, Hastings
    11. Kinghorn, Maitland
    12. Taylor, Johnson
    13. Jones, Bennett
    14. Graham, Seymour
    15. Hogg, Kinghorn

    2023 World cup squad (bit of fun speculation)

    1. Dell/?
    2. Turner, McInally
    3. Fagerson, McCallum
    4. Skinner, Cummings
    5. Gray, Carmichael
    6. Bradbury, Crosbie
    7. Ritchie, Watson
    8. Fagerson, Bradbury
    9. Horne, Price
    10. Russell, Hastings
    11. Kinghorn, Blain
    12. McDowell, Johnson
    13. Bennett, Jones
    14. Graham, Hughes
    15. Hogg, Kinghorn

      1. Oh well if they pick them. Tbh they are not Scottish and as much as I love Duhan Van Der Merwe, I would be slightly disappointed if he kept Jack Blain, for example, out of the Scottish team.

    1. Agree with overall point about future but think a few names missing for 2023 in particular
      Bhatti may still develop
      Turner is very close already
      Hunter-hill and Sykes in second row
      Flockhart, Darge amongst others in back row
      Charlie Shiel
      Thomson at stand off
      McDowell now!
      Always hard to tell how youngsters will develop but they seem to be coming through with higher skill levels and maybe more power. Wouldn’t it be nice if the days of being overpowered became a thing of the past.
      But as I said your main point holds true: we will improve more in the next 2 or 3 years than the others.

      1. Cheers Wabster.

        I tried to go for known quantities more. Hunter-Hill, Sykes, Flockhart, Shiel, Darge may become Scottish greats but i haven’t seen enough yet to think that they would be ahead of the others. The fact I mentioned 25+ players and we can still trot out these names bodes really well.

      2. Not to be dour. But we said that this World Cup cycle too. And players have dropped off or not come through. Still here’s hoping. Don’t see the Irish or English getting any worse with their conveyor belt of talent.

  30. Just like to say that Dell had his best game in a Scotland shirt. I always thought he was weak in then scrum, but he’s improved immensely since 2 years ago. He even gets my vote as 1st choice loose head now. Some of the posts here about putting uncapped players in at Twickenham are just plain nuts.

  31. Lot of mixed feelings after yesterday. At the end of the day it was number 7 in the world at home to number 3 in the world (on a 12 match unbeaten run) and we came away with a losing bonus point despite a huge number of injuries before the game and few players playing out of position during the game.

    Positives for me are:
    – Graham looks the real deal.
    – Hastings looked way better than Kinghorn at full back although I cant remember him playing there before at any level. Clearly showing his DNA.
    – We obviously had a plan to cover injuries during the game.
    – Dell can run like Forest Gump and hold up his end of the scrum. Overall the scrum was pretty solid.
    – Price was a step up from Laidlaw.
    – Watson, nearly winning MOTM as a sub.
    – Defence got better as the game went on.
    – We showed for about 25 minutes what we are capable of. Just need to find a way to do it for longer.

    No idea with the injuries we took today who we will put out in the backs against England. Need Watson and 1 or 2 more hard men to come in to the forwards for that game too.

    1. Hastings has played fullback a bit since coming to Glasgow. When he first joined he played a few games at 15 for Glasgow, and also whatever club team he was linked with he played 15 some.

      Not unfamiliar with the position and probably a better fit for him than 12.

  32. I think Townsend has been an incredible attacking coach who has motivated some callow players to play above themselves.
    I think, however, that this exuberance overlooks structure and discipline which could have won us yesterday’s game and could also have seen us home against Ireland.
    The biggest example of this I can think of is our decision to kick for the corner instead of the posts.
    It’s all very well bemoaning the lack of yellow cards, but we could have punished Wales ourselves by putting 3 pts on the board every time they infringed.
    Had we done so it would have changed the complexion of the game and put Wales under real pressure when they looked like cracking, and when we beat them 2 years ago, also from a position of half time deficit, we stayed within a structure which included kicking points when offered.
    Toonie is reliant on on field personnel to calm the team down and make the decisions, and Greig Laidlaw would normally do that, but perhaps taking the team up a level needs some thought about basic stuff such as when we go for points and when we go for the corner.
    Perhaps it wasn’t helped by Russell’s wayward early form in front of goal early in the game, but I noticed in the autumn internationals (especially against south africa) that we passed up shots at goal to go for the corner.
    There are more than one way to win a game and maybe some thought needs to go into these basic structures.

    1. I’ve got a slightly different view of that. I think we feared that if we took the 3 points then they would take the restart and be back in our 22. I think we are still scarred after years of poor restart competition.

      I also believe that we fancied ourselves against their lineout and our maul against theirs. Where we went wrong is the maul didn’t quite work as planned. There were a couple of times where we kept the ball in the maul too long. Needed Price to be screaming at his captain to release the ball. The forwards need to trust the backs more.

      The other point I noticed is that more than once in this championship Gillchrist has crossed the whitewash and ended up on his back. A bit of work for the forward coaches to get him to get his body position right. Small margins!

    2. I think going for 3 and giving the Welsh the ball while they’re still ahead would have been a mistake. In the best case scenario, Wales would stick the ball up their jumpers and see the game out. In the worst, they find the gaps in our makeshift back line and go further ahead.

      1. If we took the points wales might have thought twice about infringing at the ruck. If there was less than 5 mins to go then fair enough but pretty sure we had an opportunity with 15 and another at about 10 mins to go.

        Because we didn’t take the points Wales backed their defence and played the ref and got away with it. Against good defensive teams its shown to be a worthwhile risk for them but not for us. We have to learn from this.

      2. That assumes Wales would have got the ball back which is also down to structure.
        Kick off and exit is part of structure.
        Vern Cotter had the same issues, and more or less the same personnel.
        It took him a few goes but he did get the structures eventually.
        We beat Wales and Ireland 2 years ago basically playing an attacking game based on mobility and movement but founded on some basic structures.
        I expect Danny Wilson to have an influence here and it is his first season. He hasn’t had all the players to work with due to injury but I do think if we can add some basic framework to Gregor’s attacking game then we have a sound gameplan which will suit the kind of players we have.

      3. that wasn’t how the game was going. we got back up the park very quickly when they got out for a few mins in second half. The game was going we get back up to the red zone very quickly then go no further. We had to kick and give ourselves the minutes that realistically would have given us one more chance. We didn’t in the end get anymore chances after wasting another 5 mins banging away. Poor poor decision on so many levels. The Welsh wouldn’t have kept the ball in hand for 10 mins. They would and did for 4 mins at the end.

      4. Wales did think twice about infringing, and a third time, a fourth time and even a 5th time getting away with it on every occasion.
        Maybe that was the thinking behind going for touch instead of points.
        A naive assumption that the convention regarding multiple infringements & a warning would lead to a yellow card….after all that’s what we are usually on the end of.

        And we are still taken by surprise when it doesn’t happen.

      5. Andy agree but how useful is a yellow card to Scotland? Until we can get an average 7-10 points from yellows it is effectively futile and often a negative. We lose more with yellows no matter which team gets it.

        We weren’t based on the match going to get a try without something hugely out of the ordinary. We were getting back ibto the red zone. Wales got back into match against England with kickingnl. The best percentage play for winning having worked so hard to hold out and save the match on half-time and batter the door down after 20 mins of almost constant pressure was not using the last 11 mins trying to batter the door again. Kick points get down again and at worst Russell drops for goal.

    3. Johnny, I like your comment.

      The players we have had don’t really suit too much structure, but there is the obvious risk of not having enough…this “freedom to fail” is exacerbated by injuries, moreso than “plug and play” systems.

      A more balanced approach is perhaps needed in tournament-mode, especially 6N where one mistake can sink you.

      1. Right Alanyst.
        Our players probably don’t suit the rigid structure of Ireland or Wales. The backs have more flair and the forwards are more mobile rather than big.
        We need some, though.
        There’s a bit of me which thinks Gregor spends every waking hour thinking how to score that one end of the pitch to the other spectacular, so maybe a Danny Wilson job LOL!

    4. What wayward early form in front of goal?

      Russell only missed one conversion didn’t he?

      1. The wind was horrendous too. I think Laidlaw would have struggled. Toughest of all kicks u could have angle and conditions wise. Even though I agree it was the difference as we’d have only been two behind I don’t blame Russell. We’ve got to start taking kickable penalties. Yellows rarely come due to our inability to hold pressure for three mauls without error. It’s wishful thinking to go corner after corner if that isn’t how the game has gone. We have to be smarter and not so pie in the sky, stubborn and it’s bordering on madness not brave.

        In the last warm up to the world cup in France Laidlaw refused a kick to draw the match in France that we hadn’t in since 1999 and go for the corner. We lost. And instead of having a deserved draw in one of our graveyards we still go on into 2019 without a win over there. It’s brainless.

      2. Maybe not, all I can remember is thinking ‘how did he miss that’ more than once. So perhaps his wayward form I imagined.
        Still should have taken the points imo. Never look a gift horse n all that….

      3. RuggersB Danny Wilson has a helluva record with Wales U20 and taking a mediocre Cardiff to the challenge cup.
        I just think Townsend is still learning and other teams have worked out that if you slow our ball things head south and we’ve had a boatload of injuries.
        So Townsend just has to work out how to mitigate that and add something different to our game.

  33. Things we have learnt after yesterday.

    1. Watson is our best carrying option in the forwards by a country mile. There is no need to have Bradbury and Strauss on when he and Ritchie are playing so well. I think a backrow of Bradbury Ritchie and Watson would rival most other nations and that Barclay will have a lot to do to get back in the team.

    2. Contrary to the first point, we need Barclay back!! We are seriously lacking any sort of leadership. While I believe McInally has the potential to be one of the best hookers on the planet, I think when he was given the armband he subsequently had his most subdued performance for a while.

    3. There is a lack of testosterone in the team. When Ritchie was having a wee scuffle this should have been the kick up the arse the team needed and for others to get pumped up. Instead our lads just looked on like schoolboys.

    4. Johnson is better than Horne. His creativity, running lines and defensive abilities are all greater than Horne and I think he should be our first choice 12 going forward.

    5. Ali Price has got his mojo back (unless he is playing out on the wing!) His liveliness kept the Welsh defence honest and he linked up well with the forwards and Finn, I think the shirt is now his.

    6. We have a lot to do before next Saturday in our defensive structures to avoid a cricket score. I thought in the first half Wales actually had a lot of overlaps and butchered a few chances. We really need to tighten up our D and work to get round the corner of rucks.

    7. Russell needs let off the leash. His one bit of creative play resulted in a try for us, lets see more of it. Although this is more likely due to the lack of front foot ball.

    8. Don’t kick the ball as soon as you get pen advantage on their try line. You are given two chances to score, why throw one away?!

    1. I do not entirely agree I think the shirt is Price’s on a care taker basis. Ali Price is no where close to his early career form and shows limited signs of growth.

    2. Number 8 is spot on. You have three chances. Create something, then kick then the oenalty comes.

      Horne was poor yesterday. Made a couple of obvious errors but many poor decisions to hold rather than pass and pass rather than hold. I’m usually a fan but yesterday he wasn’t great. Amazingly he has only had 17 caps starting as centre.

  34. Scrummo’s player ratings:

    Dell 7.5
    McInally 6.5
    Nel 6
    Gilchrist 6.5
    Gray 6
    Bradbury 6.5
    Ritchie 7
    Strauss 6.5
    Price 6.5
    Russell 6.5
    Seymour 6
    Horne 6
    Grigg 6
    Graham 8
    Kinghorn 5

    Reid N/A
    Brown 6
    Berghan 6
    Toolis 6
    Watson 8
    Laidlaw 6
    Hastings 7.5
    McGuigan 7

  35. Still a bit gloomy about various things from yesterday…

    The injuries – now farcical. Should we be asking questions about the conditioning of the players, as other tier 1 nations don’t have injuries to this extent?

    While our replacements are fine pro-14 players…they’re not much more than that, and some are getting found out at this level. Without our top back-rowers, we’re unable to get the quick ball this game plan needs (and top sides find it really easy to slow our ball down). Without the leaders in the forwards, attacks in the 22 are piecemeal and disorganised. Without our top backs, we don’t have the stardust to find our way through a well-drilled defence. It all adds up to games like yesterday, where Wales looked like scoring whenever they had the ball, while Scotland spend a week in their 22, and get one try from it.

    It’s very frustrating, and looks like we’ve barely made progress in the last decade.

    1. Do not agree we have made progress in the decade , we can score tries, it was a while coming and play attractive rugby. We are going back the way this 6N. We got as high as fifth and dropped to seventh place .

    2. Agree that watching some extended passages of our play – second half Ireland, first half Wales, 65 minutes in Paris – brought back some grim memories of this side a decade ago.
      And yet…and yet. The Test side of 09 and thereabouts, faced with so many pre- and in-tournament injuries as the 19 side, would imo have been absolutely hammered by Ireland and Wales and would have shipped 50+ in Paris.
      There is a deeper talent pool available to us these days.
      I thought Darcy Graham made a excellent debut yesterday. There’s one example of a deeper talent pool.

      1. I’m not saying we haven’t made progress, but these last 3 performances did resemble the bad old days. That our second string hits that level is a good sign, but shows there’s work needing done if we want to execute the game plan well enough with the players available.

      2. Ewan, watching this abysmal France performance in Dublin right now does I grant you illustrate how awful we were in Paris – injuries or no injuries.

  36. Andrew McGavin

    I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Toonie but I fear he suffers from that “I know best” syndrome that many coaches have.

    He was lucky he got Scotland on the up – which in my opinion was as much about his Glasgow as Cotter’s Scotland – but he’s now suffering from a second season dip as sides suss us out.

    My point about injuries was IMO our systems are poor – even with less talented players we shouldn’t be as defensively weak as we are – this is absolutely a coaching issues.

    There were also many times today when I saw players robotically fanning out rather than targeting the ball – clearly another defensive strategy – IMO one of the biggest issues today was they slowed our ball down, but we didn’t to theirs. The facts they didn’t have much possession is another issues considering they won the game, but my point stands – what is our collective defensive strategy?

    My final point about the coaching is our complete absence of anything resembling composure – by all means bring chaos to the game but if that isn’t working then you have to have something to fall back – I dont think we have.

    In short – I think Toonie is an excellent coach, but we are currently poorly coached.

    I heard a rumour Taylor was off to Aus – I think we should pay his plane ticket.

    1. STU 2: What makes Toonie an ‘excellent coach’ , tough question I think, but I am missing and admit it , happy to listen.

      I recognise a decent , not perfect club coach. I like your last explanation about being poorly coached , that makes sense , but I wonder who will step up to replace his staff and what their reputation will be?

      I think we are in serious danger of a clear out . But who will step up other than a few old cronies. Once again , happy to be enlightened (and I am sure this will read much more arrogantly than intended).

      1. I like his intelligence and innovative attitude towards the game – he’s an excellent man manager and knows players psyches well (even modern players) he turned Hogg right around, had the balls to leave him out of the Pr012 final and was right stuck to his guns.

        I think he’s open to new ideas but they have to go through the prism of his own head as his biggest problem is his arrogance – whilst this might not manifest in public displays of it, he clearly thinks he’s always the smartest guy in the room and ultimately it will be his undoing. I think Toonie always would have been better alongside a Telfer or Shaun Edwards type – someone who would stand up to him and he equally respects.

        In short I think he gets his way too much – hopefully he might understand the folly of this.

        But IMO there is no question he’s an excellent coach.

      2. Stu 2 : Thanks for that, I am aware of his arrogance, his way or the highway and all of that and I can not disagree with you on it being a downfall, good leaders need to listen as well as play to strengths. Personally I think too innovative, we are failing on basics and the way out of it , is not to get more inventive.

    2. Toonie might still be learning. I have faith. He’s a smart and committed guy.
      In the AIs we played chaos rugby eschewing kicks at goal for the corner.
      We did the same yesterday, and there were moments in that game when a 3 pointer would have put serious butterflies in Welsh stomachs and we left enough points from kicks out there to win the game.
      For me that comes down to structure.
      Some have suggested we don’t trust our kick off retention and exit, but that too is structure.
      Vern Cotter took a while but eventually got the team playing the kind of running rugby Townsend wants to take up a notch, but founded on a structure.
      This is what the coaching team needs to work on I think.
      When Toonie coached Glasgow it was less important for them because pro-14 defences are nowhere near as mean as 6N ones. A kick to the corner was always a decent bet, but in the 6N you need to play percentages sometimes.
      Otherwise we’ll always be a team which bowks Fiji or Italy but aside from the odd fluke when everything clicks don’t really challenge the big boys we aspire too.

      1. I not convinced ignoring kicks is a coaching strategy – I think its a leadership issue – Laidlaw and McInally are not IMO good leaders.

        Another reason we need Barclay back.

        We desperately need Ritchie Gray back for the RWC too.

      2. Yes you’re probably right, although the coach has a remit to say what the players do in certain parts of the field and situations.
        There remains one other big issue which is lack of physicality.
        I agree with you re Richie Gray. He has the physical gifts, stick a rocket up him, make him watch wall to wall footage of Paul O Connel and Alun Wyn.
        That’s what we want. Even a passable imitation would do.
        Other players who could help are Sam Skinner and maybe Blade Thomson. I think Skinner could be captain or vice captain.

      3. GT could well not be the problem at all. I agree with alot of what he says and is trying to achieve…however…I kinda think a large part of the problem is he picked a vastly inferior coaching staff to what Cotter had or just that his staff don’t really match up to what he trying to do.
        He needs to overhaul it somewhat…otherwise he is going down with them.

  37. Thoughts on Hastings having the ability to play 13 ? not sure whats missing from his game as he seems a well rounded powerful player.

    And no im not suggesting he plays 13 against England next week before the usual lot pounce.

    Could come of the bench & not be a big downgrade from Grigg i think though.

    1. I’d rather have him at 13 than Grigg including against England. Bottom line he has the ability. Johnson, Johnstone or McDowall more likely. Could see Hastings at inside centre or again at fullback. Big game temperament and ability.

      1. I agree…would like to see Hastings at 12. Think we got the experiment with Russell the wrong way round last time.
        Russell 10 Hastings 12 could work really well.
        Hastings looked as much a natural as Darcy Graham did ..imo

  38. Player ratings …imo

    Dell 8
    McInally 7
    Nel 5
    Gilchrist 7
    Gray 4
    Bradbury 6
    Ritchie 7.5
    Strauss 5
    Price 6
    Russell 7
    Seymour 5
    Horne 4
    Grigg 6
    Graham 8
    Kinghorn 5

    Reid N/A
    Brown 6
    Berghan 6
    Toolis 6
    Watson 8
    Laidlaw 5
    Hastings 8
    McGuigan 5


    Defense at crucial periods was powderpuff. It was an unstructured mess. Every opportunity Wales had to create a defensive wall or pyramid they took it …and its very effective. We look like we have zero clue who is doing what in defense. Id sack our defense coach now…its a clueless mess.
    Attack at crucial periods was desperate.
    We no not have a quality leader.
    We lack aggression and aren’t willing to ‘cheat’ like other teams are.

    Im sure unstructured play works well in attack….but unstructured defense = defeat.

  39. I reckon Hastings should start @ 15 next week we need to kick the ball in behind the English/Fijian behemoths. Kinghorn has been average throughout the tournament. Maitland will return. Graham V Cokanasiga will be interesting. Johnson should return. In the forwards Bradbury out Graham on bench, Skinner in Gray to bench (at best)

  40. Perhaps if we dont have the players to play to skill level required for an innovative attacking brand, then we should play a more reserved style like Gatlandball.

    We could throw out a monsterous pack and have crash ball brutes in the backline.


    Sometimes a Plan B is needed, all im saying, Crash it up, kick for territtory & only kick points, no play whatsoever in our 22.

  41. As suspected France are atrocious and will be beaten by Italy in Rome next week. We’ll end up Fourth just like when we won three and came joint second but in fourth. But it again shows how terrible we were and how we didn’t play France tactically well at all. It has become such a poor poor six nations not just cause of the four halves of rugby that have been so awful but that we cold and probably should have won three of the four matches.

  42. One thing I have noticed over this weekend and previous weekends is how refs are calling “leave it” “roll away” or “not out” at most tackles/rucks. Perhaps I’m being naive but if a player is holding on, obstructing or playing the call on the floor, etc etc, the penalty has ALREADY been committed so refs should be blowing for them, not coaching the teams. Add in perception bias or just general incompetence (Clancy for example) and teams like Scotland, Italy etc get the sh*t end of the stick in these situations as refs are more inclined to show leniency towards the “stronger” teams and more inclined to blow up quicker against the “weaker” team. Scotland really suffer from having to try playing slow ball and conversely cannot slow the oppo down in equal measure because, IMHO, we are more likely to be punished for it. We are also more likely to get (incorrectly) pinged for the 50/50 turnovers (Ritchie yesterday) because most refs give us less leeway than the big boys. Look at Ireland and the reffing of their offside line today. Non existent! At least dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask when he was robbing you…

    1. Ruck refereeing has been a farce for a few years. The top teams and players are smart enough to take advantage of it in a way Scotland don’t. We should perhaps accept it’s the way of the world now, and adapt accordingly?

      1. I’d love us to cheat as much and as well as the oppo do but that’s where the perception bias kicks in. We can’t get away with what the englands, Saffers, Irish and Aussies of the world get away with. Refs instinctively penalise us for identical infringements they let the big boys away with.

      2. This chat possibly has merit but it’s the age all call in football of “Ref our player did exactly the same earlier and it wasn’t a foul!!” It is almost always a bias and almost always not exactly the same. Refs are coached and told to do this and that and this is what they give penalties for and what they don’t. You don’t toe the line you aren’t progressing so you won’t get the top games at your level. The top refs can often get away with their own slant on stuff once they have a bit of profile. Nigel against England last year possibly the best example of bias towards us in the breakdown.

        But whether we like it or not unless the ref is remembering cynical penalties and totting them up the cheats will win. Like Ref did for us against France early doors. France had enough pens to merit a yellow but they were all over the park he took that into consideration and yellow was the result. The ref this week decided not too which is probably the norm but totally unjust and allows the cheats to gain the advantage they do not deserve.

        Not once did we question Saturdays ref about possible yellow, we didn’t remind him that Mr Jones had done the same penalty in crucial positions three times. We didn’t remind him that the high tackles were done to stop our momentum not just a misjudgement in the tackle. We have to get smarter in this area. Calm but forthright speak to the ref and ask the question put it in his mind, remind him there is so much to remember as a ref but this can only help. Shouting and losing it will not help.

        But I agree that we must adapt and so we aren’t left moaning about what should have been. Wales cheated all day brilliantly and it was just enough to get over the line. We didn’t and we weren’t good enough with our level of play either and we lost…just.

        They obviously knew what cheating they were allowed and what they weren’t. They had done the research and practiced it until it was sub conscious. Get Richie Gray into to coach breakdown!

  43. Well, that was disappointing. We looked kind of directionless and easily flustered for 70% of the match. We let Gatland have the last laugh. We’ve lost our fortress. It feels like we’re back in the dark days of battling for the wooden spoon with Italy and France (and we are) but I don’t think it’s all bad. I think we’re closer to where England were last season than where we were in the dark pre-Vern days – there’s definitely hope.

    Yeah, we lost to Wales, but they’re the 3rd-best team in the world and, whatever you think of their style of play, they’re very effective at it. Add to that our horrendous pre-game injury list, the injuries we accrued in the game and a typically inept performance from Gauzere and yet the only thing that stopped us winning was a lack of composure. We were making great breaks, running through defenders and generally playing well for a big chunk of the second half.

    Yeah, most of our attacks were undone by unpunished Welsh foul play or poor decision-making, but the game was there for the taking. We’ve lost three games, but could and should have won them.

    Bradbury, Ritchie and Watson were very good in attack and defence. Wee Darcy Graham was glorious. Our forwards did better than Wales’. Russell and Hastings were very good. Grigg had his first good game. We beat more than double the number of defenders they did (36 to 15)! We tackled better, had a stronger set piece and conceded fewer penalties (even with PG failing all over the shop). Even wee Greig was compelling.

    However, we still lost. If the championship was decided on tries left on the pitch, we’d be winning easily! The building blocks are there, the potential is there, even with all our injuries. Toonie just needs to get the boys to be more composed under pressure, and we’ll be a real threat. Despite my crushing disappointment yesterday, there’s reason to be hopeful (dangerous as that may be)… just not next round, as England are looking like the best team in the competition.

  44. 1. Dell
    2. Mcinally – Captain
    3. Fagerson
    4. Gilchrist
    5. Skinner
    6. Ritchie – VC
    7. Watson
    8. Strauss
    9. Price
    10. Russell
    11. Graham
    12. Johnson
    13. Hogg – VC
    14. Kinghorn
    15. Maitland

    16. Brown
    17. Allan
    18. Nel
    19. Richie Gray
    20. Bradbury
    21. Horne
    22. Mcdowall
    23. Hastings

    Time to let the kids lose & pull down Eddies pants again in his own back yard.

    20 + win for Scotland & 6 in the superbru team.

  45. I don’t think Kinghorn is right for fullback. He doesn’t go for it in the tackle, Just stepped aside to let Jonathan Davies through.

    1. Kinghorn was very obviously limping at that point, as he tried to “run off” the injury. Whether he should have been allowed to stay on is the issue.

      That said, the last few games have shown he’s no Hogg, so he’s going to be winger/back-up fullback for the next few years.

  46. I would like to make a few points, first of which is that last year I believe we overachieved and this has created a false expectation since. We had very few injuries compared to the other main teams last year and kept more or less a full squad. We achieved a great deal but from a position of strength which was not permanent. This year is just the opposite. We have obviously suffered loads of injuries so are in a falsely bad position.

    As an aside, I think there is something fundamentally wrong with a sport where so many participants get injured and for so long – Blade Thompson, Duncan Taylor, … The end result is matches between teams that are not as good as they could be, e.g. Scotland without Hogg, Ireland without Sexton at least in part against us, etc. As I said, an aside.

    If we get our squad fit and able to play, in the WC, we will still lose to Ireland but should beat Japan. With our best players, we would be well capable of having a good go at NZ in the quarter. On this form though, beating Japan is a stretch.

    For this 6N, I really only expected to beat Italy. The other teams are bigger, stronger, better lead, more aggressive and basically better than our combination of a 1st and 2nd (at best in some cases) XV.

    We have learnt that Watson, Hogg and Finn are essential for success. Dell has emerged and we have a very decent front row, with depth. Gilchrist had I thought his best game for Scotland yesterday, Gray and Toolis have dropped off in my view, just not aggressive enough. Skinner has done himself a favour by not being there. Another success is the emergence of Bradbury and especially Ritchie – they’ve looked potential for years – other posters asked where does that leave Barclay, I’d say safe, but where does it leave Wilson ?

    Darcy Graham an obvious success, too. Johnstone should have played yesterday as Twickenham is not a place for a debut.

    At least yesterday was an improvement on France and we will be better by the WC.

  47. Disappointing result yesterday particularly as we had enough territory and possession in the second half to win 2 matches but just lacked the composure or patience to get across the try line. Thought we were very passive in the first half and yet again gave away a couple of scores which Wales didn’t have to work very hard for. On the positive side Jamie Ritchie was once again excellent and prepared to take the opposition and the game by the throat as was Darcy Graham who played with real passion and bravery. The injuries obviously didn’t help but I thought Hastings did really well when he came on and made a better fist of playing 15 than Kinghorn did tbh. Watson was outstanding and Dell is back to the form that got him picked for the Lions but for whatever reason Johnny Gray is just treading water at the moment and I’m not sure he is worth his place.
    Next week looks like being a damage limitation exercise but we still have the opportunity of winning the Calcutta cup!

    1. Saltire i think the only thing holding Jonny Gray back from being a great player is his mindset & rugby intelligence.

      If you watch any interview with him in it he always looks uncomfortable & stoic, his personality reflects his performances/style on the pitch.

      Now look at Ritchie Gray, someone who is open minded/travelled & has a sharp tongue, he is the polar opposite of Jonny & again it translates onto the pitch, he does not have the good or bad qualities of his bro.

      Perhaps they bring the best out of each when playing side by side.

    2. J Gray needs to be dropped ….there are players who have came into the team like Johnson and G Graham looked in better form in their respective positions and been dropped. J Gray hasn’t played a good game for about a yr and half and keeps his place.
      Skinner I reckon is a better player and it will show soon enough.

  48. Ignoring the number on their back i’m going to list our injured players and their welsh equivalents (with respect to what they bring to the team) to put things in perspective.

    Barclay – Alun Wyn
    Watson – Tipuric
    Wilson – Faletau
    Skinner – Hill
    Taylor – Parkes
    H. Jones – Davies
    Hogg – L. Williams
    Maitland – Halfpenny

    and to a lesser extent

    M. Scott – S. Williams
    Bennett – Watkin
    R. Gray – Beard

    Take the fit welsh players out of their 23 and I believe we win yesterday.

    To be so close to winning I think is a real achievement. The only time we should be disappointed in our performance is the first 45 minutes against France and the 2nd half vs Ireland.

    1. Wilson’s more Moriarty than Faletau, and Skinner’s more Ellis Jenkins than Cory Hill. Other than that, I agree.

  49. Newsflash! Newsflash! Hoggy could be back for England!!!! Could be the boost we need. If so we’ll have a good percentage of our “Makes the difference” players back which could make us competitive!!!!!

    1. Is it really worth rushing Hogg back for that one?
      We need him fit and healthy for the RWC.
      We won’t magically win that one just because he is back.
      Even with all the injured players back its a tough one.
      Id just put an experimental team out there…tell them to the best they can and not sweat about the scoreboard. I dont want a brave loss if it means we lose even more of our best players to injury. Even just to piss off Eddie ‘the mouth’ jones …his team gets revenge against Scotlands experimental development players…Yay!!

  50. Please read the Tom English report on BBC sport, it concludes with, and I quote;
    Frankly, the sooner this injury-ravaged, defeat-laden, mistake-ridden, confidence-draining championship is over, the better.
    Unquote, couldn’t have put it any better myself.
    I’m off to Twickers on Saturday, committed now, but fear the worst?

    1. I actually dont fear anything about that match now….initially after Wales match I did.
      Now …and even if GT didn’t want to put a 3rd string team out….thats IS what is going to play…our 3rd choice team.
      …so who cares?… doesn’t matter …its almost an off season friendly against Samoa now….utterly meaningless….other than maybe seeing the potential of some combinations with RWC in mind.

      1. Id argue Dell, Mcinally, Nel, Gilchrist + another, Watson
        Laidlaw/Price, Russell, Johnson are all first choice.

        & the bench back up for those positions are all arguable 1st/2nd choice also.

        9 1st choice options with Bradbury/Ritchie/Strauss & Graham all in form players who have showed there class & may be 1st choices after this Six nations (certainly the in form player)

        Add to that Maitland may come back and thats probaly 19 or 20 strong international class players.

        Leaves the 13 & a FB/Wing spot + bench we are are short abit on.

        So… is it time to beg Visser ?

        Really only 13 then & Grigg just needs to contain Tuilagi & ill be happy, not an easy ask though.

        I suggest we play 10 man rugby as our strength oddly enough may be in the pack…

        Order the halfbacks to only play territory unless they are giving the ball to Darcy.

  51. Injuries have ruined our championship.
    To all those saying “wow, Darcy Graham looks great” have a think as to why the coach feels Maitland and Seymour have been more deserving of starts in this championship? No? Me neither. Whilst we have heaps of injuries GT’s selections have been poor and muddled all championship. Centres and backs generally. And then we wonder why our attacking game is mince.
    Great to see Mish back.

    1. ‘In Toonie we trust’ , that is what they used to say in these posts.

      No one is saying it now , are they !! No they are not! they are confused, in disbelief, bewildered, in shock, some have already turned to anger and feelings of being deluded.

      I think all of our the 80 plus players he has picked with the exception of a few warmers, like Harris, are capable.

      Too many mistakes, minds not in the right place, what is happening in the changing room ? That is what you have to question. Is it fear and intimidation or positive motivation

      1. Townsend does not strike me as someone who can give a telfer motivational speech when its most needed, time will tell though… Tbf they did come out alot better in 2nd half against Wales so something must have been said.

  52. Agree with those that said the injuries can’t be a coincidence.

    We look way short of conditioning compared to Ireland/Wales/England. Their players look denser and leaner. I’ve been saying it for ages but the Glasgow players in particular should spend less time in Finsbay Flatiron and more time in the Gym.

    1. Agree with Pio re conditioning. The 3 teams mentioned do look leaner and hardened. This needs to be looked at – who is Scotland’s Conditioning Coach?

      1. Conditon all you like but you can’t add three stones and five inches of height in the gym. We have a pretty lilliputian back line compared to most teams. Last thing our players need is more time pushing tin instead of passing balls and running lines.

      2. Big Stroker at Edinburgh is doing great s+c work with Crosbie and Ritchie up over 17 stone and Bradbury over 18 with all looking mobile and dynamic. CHH another hitting fullsize and Dell looking all muscle.

      3. Indeed DC, I am not sure falling awkwardly and damaging your ribs or ankle has anything to do with conditioning. Conditioning didn’t stop Hogg getting taken out illegally.

        We’ve been incredibly unlucky and hopefully it will change for RWC time.

      1. England have won a world cup and several grand slams on the account of being Globogym personified. it hasn’t done them much harm over the piece

  53. There’s a fair bit of hyperbole on here (again). We lost two wings and a fullback and still nearly won the game, against a strong Welsh side. We got a fair amount of injuries against Ireland as well and France was just a busted flush due to lack of key players.

    We still have strength in depth in the pack, but no solid centre pairing. Looking back at the highlights for the first try Grigg flew out of the traps and the wrong way (or he was too far of the pace and tried to tackle two passes too late). Price did really well, and we have no choice about Laidlaw at the moment unless George Horne is match fit.

    Toony needs to pick on form and find a team that works together in the backs. The one positive in the backs was how Hastings didn’t really look out of place coming on, funny how a player “resting on his dads name” or “not international class” did so well.

    Unless we have one of the established outside centres back, I’m not sure what we have to lose by pitching JJ in. Grigg will be found out against England, and I am expecting a cricket score at the moment. If Hogg is coming back, then it’s better for him to come in from the bench surely rather than risk him being injured for later on.

    For me, the team should be:


    R. Gray

  54. Any team would struggle to win when their back 3 have all gone off injured. The fact that Seymour and Kinghorn were less than impressive before they went off is unimportant. They are both good enough players that they would have got better and better as the game went on – and may have been the cutting edge we were missing in the last quarter when we were battering the Welsh line.
    I’m pretty sure that if Wales had been forced into having a back 3 of Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar and Owen Watkin, Scotland would have found the gap needed for a winning try.
    Hugely disappointed and another one we “should have won”. Welsh defence was outstanding though. Give them credit.
    Here’s hoping we have sufficient players to put out a team next week. It’s the hope that kills me!

    1. as the game wore on and had Kinghorn stayed healthy if he had moved to wing and Hastings moved to FB …I reckon we would likely have scored more. Lots of if’n’but post match, of course.
      Its just yet another frustrating post match of realizing we played a good solid, and little else, team….and failed to take advantage.

      France result and performance in perspective now too. They are not resurgent …we just played badly with wrong tactics. Ditto last 20 mins v Italy….most of Ireland match… and half of Wales match.

    1. I was thinking Hastings at 15, with Graham and McGuigan on the wings. If Maitland is fit that actually means a decision has to be made, which is surprising given the injuries.
      Just climbing out of the existential black hole I fell into due to double hip flasks and yet another “could have won it” with Wales. Having been to every Scotland home game for at least the last 10 years I was in the – not renewing the season ticket state of mind. With a little bit of distance now scrabbling to gain some perspective. This competition has been a fail. We are going backwards in terms of performance and results, but that can be explained by injuries. The challenge for the management across the game in Scotland is to try and have our top players fit for the RWC, whilst there are still crucial play off places and cup knock out games to be played. It’s actually an almost impossible task. Also brings into sharp relief the danger of having players playing in other leagues.

      1. Hastings?

        His experience at 15 constitutes what he played on Sat – the England match is going to be very different.

      2. Hastings has some experience at 15 for Glasgow and at club level – not sure about prior to coming to Glasgow but I wouldn’t be surprised.
        He is not a complete novice although obviously international level is different.

        However, judging by his performance at the weekend, he has to be in contention or at the very least backup.

        Maitland is probably first choice if fit, then I would personally have Hastings over Jackson as he has the X factor.

        It will probably depend what wingers are fit as well.

      3. Yep, that’s what I wrote. Obviously all being relatively fit and well that would not be the case, but we really are getting into desperado territory now. If Maitland is fit then probably not. Hastings is a player that can create something and play the ‘brand’. We’re looking a bit short on that now.

    2. It’ll either be Hasting at fullback with Maitland and Graham at wing or Maitland at fullback with McGuigan and Graham.
      Assumes Maitland is fit.
      If he’s not then it will be Hasting, McGuiggan, Graham.

  55. Why are all our players getting injured?
    Is it bad luck or something else like conditioning?
    I’ve never seen anything like it.

  56. This is test rugby – hookers cant play 7, centres are not interchangeable and 10s who have played 50mins at 15 are not full backs.

    1. The obvious choice is McGuigan and Darcy on the wing and Maitland at fullback.
      And Hastings on the bench.

      1. I’d think if not picked to start at 15 Hastings will most likely be on the bench as 10 cover then Jackson comes in too. Unless he drops Horne for Johnson in which case Hastings might not feature…

      1. You’re welcome.

        Some posters reactions remind me of the dog in Up – look! a squirrel.

    2. Err not to be pedant, but that is exactly what has happened. Please point me to the official rules where it sets out such laws?

    3. I think Stu2, we are at the point where we pick the 15 best players who are available and then decide what position they should play in. Reminds me of my days as ExA captain!

  57. Put out a team of players to sacrifice. Keep our few actual internationals as far away as possible from this test before they all become a “Dunbar”.

  58. A positive aspect of this 6N ….is that there are now absolutely zero expectations from anyone outside of the Scotland fan….that we will be any threat at RWC whatsoever.
    Hopefully… nobody from the Scotland camp will make any statements to the contrary ….will just get laughed at if they do.

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