Scotland v Wales, Six Nations 2019: Match Preview pt I

KO 2.15 at BT Murrayfield
Saturday 9th March 2019

Live on BBC1

Over the past dozen years Wales have been the most difficult defence for Scotland to unlock in the Six Nations. Since 2007 when Warren Gatland took over in charge of the Welsh national side (bringing defence coach Shaun Edwards with him) Scotland have managed less than a try a game in these contests.

Scotland’s tries scored against the rest of the Six Nations since 2007:

  • Wales –  11
  • England – 12
  • Ireland – 12
  • France – 20
  • Italy – 31

Scotland’s forwards in particular have toiled with breaking down the red wall. John Barclay’s early score in 2010 and Jon Welsh’s late consolation in 2015 are the only times a member of the Scottish pack has scored against Wales during the championship in the last 15 years.

The dark blues’ attacking platform has been exponentially better in recent years though. They’ve scored more tries in their last 17 Six Nations’ games than they did in the 45 fixtures prior to that. It’s that latter strong form they need to bring to this fixture. They need to put tries on the board to have a chance of beating Wales.

Wales Scouting Report

Backline Blitz

Against England the Welsh backs actually managed a higher tackle completion rate (91.1%) than their forwards (90.5%). Now that will at least in part have come down to some pretty ordinary decision-making by the English half backs compared to the continued effectiveness of their monster pack. A lot of it comes down to Wales’ defensive structures and discipline though – allied to some good old fashioned belligerence!

The opening 40 minutes of the tournament in Paris did provide some evidence that it is possible to get at the Welsh defence, particularly out wide. It needs pretty much everything to go right though – good decisions, excellent execution – to beat their linespeed and get round the edges.

Carrying Tendencies

There are some similarities in where the two sides get their workload from in attack – but some notable differences too when considering what percentage of carries each area of the team provides.

15%   Front row   19%
13%   Locks   12%
25%   Back row   19%
8%   Half backs   15%
15%   Centre   12%
25%   Back 3   24%

The Welsh back row doesn’t lack for graft but there’s a heavy reliance on Ross Moriarty to get them going forward. There’s much more direct threat from half back, particularly at scrum half where the visitors have twice as many carries and metres as Scotland.

In the midfield the numbers are probably influenced by a quiet spell by the lofty standards of Jonathan Davies. Scotland really need to keep things that way if they want to blunt the Welsh attack.

Danger Men

George North tends to get a lot of the attention (and his nose for a try is still remarkable leading to plenty of high profile interventions) but it’s Liam Williams and Josh Adams who have been the rocks in the Welsh back 3. They’ve combined to catch 32 kicks so far in this season’s tournament, defusing bomb after bomb. Not only that but they’ve done it while committing minimal handling errors and gaining acres of territory through their own kicking and running games.

It’s possible that the return from injury of Leigh Halfpenny could squeeze one of these men out (almost certainly Adams rather than Williams) but whether one or both plays they will be key to how well Wales can counter the Scottish kicking game.

Miscellaneous

  • Wales are the only team in this season’s Six Nations who have maintained a tackle completion rate over 90%.
  • They have statistically the poorest lineout in the tournament having lost 10 on their own throw for a 70% success rate.
  • The visitors have conceded the equal fewest penalties in the first three rounds (17 – largely due to only conceding a remarkably low 3 against England).

Previous results

This will be the 10th time the two sides have met in Edinburgh for a Six Nations’ match. The head to head looks like this from Scotland’s perspective:

D W L W L L L L W

Most recent meeting at Murrayfield:

Scotland 29 – 13 Wales

Significant stat
17 turnovers conceded by Wales. Scotland were extremely aggressive around the contact area, turning over 5 Welsh rucks. The visitors’ problems didn’t stop there though. Despite only having about two thirds of the number of carries Scotland put up Wales made more than double the handling errors. These were often in crucial attacking positions as well, killing try scoring opportunities and letting the home side off the hook.

The Scottish Rugby Blog match report from that game is here.

Officials

Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Referee 1: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referee 2: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

No referee has taken charge of more Scotland fixtures over the past 5 years than M. Gauzere. It’s not even close in fact with this being the experienced official’s 10th Scottish game since 2014. The next highest tallies are 6 each for Romain Poite and John Lacey.

Every game exists in its own microcosm but the trend has seen Scotland move from conceding a flurry of yellow cards and struggling a bit with M. Gauzere’s breakdown interpretation to, seemingly, a pretty decent rapport and understanding with the French ref.

Scotland’s last 5 games with M. Gauzere in charge:

  • 2017 – beat Italy (H)
    Penalties: 22 (For 9 – 13 Against)
    Cards: Scotland 1 YC (Barclay)
  • 2017 – lost to Fiji (A)
    Penalties: 23 (For 15 – 8 Against)
    Cards: Scotland 1 YC (Strauss); Fiji 2 YCs
  • 2017 – beat Australia (H)
    Penalties: 18 (For 9 – 9 Against)
    Cards: Australia 1 RC + 1 YC
  • 2018 – lost to Wales (A)
    Penalties: 15 (For 8 – 7 Against)
    Cards: none
  • 2018 – beat Italy (A)
    Penalties: 14 (For 9 – 5 Against)
    Cards: none

Part II of the preview, including the head to heads, will follow on Friday after the team announcement on Thursday.

Injury update (5/3/19): Sean Maitland (foot) and Chris Harris (calf) have been ruled out of the Wales game through injury. With insufficient recovery time available to feature in the championship’s penultimate round, Maitland and Harris will return to their clubs for ongoing care and assessment.

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When he's not watching Glasgow, Scotland (and even Edinburgh) Kevin can usually be found with his head in a spreadsheet working out the most obscure Scottish rugby related stat he can put out on Twitter.
Follow Kevin on twitter @topofthemoonGW

62 comments on “Scotland v Wales, Six Nations 2019: Match Preview pt I

  1. FF on

    Need to win this game really to salvage anything from this years tournament. But with our back line proving blunter than in recent years and missing most of its stardust, and our pack suffering familiar failings I’m not really sure what our route to victory would be.

    I usually hate the idea of using 6N as a proving ground but Toonie needs to freshen the squad up. Would like to see Darcy Graham in at least, Z Fagerson for a bit of belligerence, maybe even Toolis to see if he can fix our stuttering lineout.

    Back row mix is going to be interesting with Watson back and Gary Graham being only one to show up in Paris. Ritchie is unstoppable at the moment so not sure where that is going to leave us.

    Even at home this is a long shot.

    • Simmo250785 on

      Fagerson instead of Nel? I understand why you might want him in but I’d stick with Nel. Quite a decent win percentage with Nel playing.
      Completely agree regarding The two Grahams. I have wanted to see Darcy given a start in this six nations. I was hoping under different circumstances but might as well be now. Gary Graham came on and had some attitude and aggression which was refreshing given how little we have of that. I’d be tempted to start him. As good as Sam Johnson has been I’d also start Horne. I’m a laidlaw fan but I’m looking fwrd to G Horne being fit as we have to start playing him from the beginning. Though appreciate it’s not long till a WC so perhaps we need to maintain the consistency there with Russel and laidlaw. Redundant point I guess given g Horne is injured anyway.
      Toolis would help our line out but personally I’d still stick with Gray and Gilchrist. Toolis doesn’t do enough still around the park.
      Come on Scotland. Give us a big performance! Please!!

  2. Referendum on

    I am optimistic but not sure that is based on anything other than blind optimism. Looked back at the Wales match in 2017 and it was such an impressive display to stay in the match then to turn it in our favour and win comfortably in the end. Wales did make some key mistakes in where to kick and missing a key kick but we hung on in there and nilled them second half and scored two quality, multi phase patient tries. No idea where that kind of stuff has went recently.
    One thing that is better is our scrum in general we do not have the same anxiety before a match as we did back then so we aren’t as scared (and we were scared of this) of not having any platform at all so couldn’t get our attack going.
    Our line-out is hit or miss as can be our restarts this championship however we know that we can get this right.
    With key players back and Russell running the show then we’re in there and would love to finally beat Gatland at last.

  3. Toonie's Advisor on

    Its a funny one this weekend, tournament is beyond our reach after France but we need to be stopping this Welsh grand slam plan.

    For me we need to have a solid scrum so Reid starts with Rambo and Nel.
    Jonny Gray needs a rest so Skinner could replace him to give a bit bite alongside Gilco.

    I’d go with Ritchie, Watson & Bradbury, Graham did well coming off the bench and I’d like to see him make that impact again.

    Backs wise, Price needs to start, Laidlaw has been great over the years but we can’t get fast ball with him. Russell is back so Horne to 12 and Sam to 13. Grigg is a defensive structures nightmare. He bounces out of the line and leaves dog legs everywhere, a wee offload and they are through.

    Darcy, Seymour and Kinghorn as the back 3 for me. Maitland looks bored, Seymour hasn’t been greta but a safer bet against North and under the high ball.

  4. Stu2 on

    Watch that highlights track above – our two tries came about from fantastic back play AND Ritchie Gray carrying and melting a ruck.

    Take note Toonie.

    • Big Al on

      That passing from Russell to Hogg to Visser for Visser’s try was as crisp as anything I’ve ever seen Scotland produce.

      • Rory Baldwin on

        Fair point on big Richie Gray. He doesn’t get very far in that carry but he keeps pushing and it takes 3-4 Welsh guys to stop him. We need all the space out wide we can get!

  5. Matto on

    I’m really not optimistic, but consider this a must win to demonstrate that we are at least holding our level. We appear to be regressing and that can be explained by losing three of our previously most threatening backs in Russell, Hogg and Jones and our entire first choice back row, but it’s still painful to witness and shows how much we do depend on a handful of players. Hopefully Russell and Watson will bring something back this weekend. We had reached a level of consistency at home and we need to consolidate that. Even the defeat to Ireland was very disappointing. No disrespect to the Irish, but they didn’t have to play that well to beat us. Our away form is appalling, so the defeat by France was no surprise really.
    I thought G Graham really stepped up for his opportunity last time out and I’d stick him in at 8 with Ritchie and Watson on the flanks.
    I hope for a massive physical and accurate performance to lift the cloud that is slowly settling here. If anyone needs extra motivation they should just watch Gatland’s “I thought we’d batter them” interview from last year. Oh to burst his Grand Slam hopes in his final 6N with Wales.

  6. Big Al on

    Interesting stat with the half back carries. No great surprise as Laidlaw’s total number of carries and yardage must be negligible. We desperately need the occasional snipe just to keep the narrowness in Welsh defense and therefore give us a chance out wide.

    I think a slight weakness in the Welsh team at the moment is their lineout which can be a bit patchy. Hopefully we can contest there but our lineout hasn’t been the best either.

    The Welsh really beat the English with their kicking game. We need to be better in kicking, kick chase and competing than we have so far.

  7. SlowWalk90 on

    How does it work that out of all the potential referees we could get, we end up with the same one as last year?… Some one that gifted them their second try by calling a squint feed on a scrum under the posts without any prior warning.

  8. thebigiam on

    Losing Maitland another blow, and losing Harris further reduces options at 13. Blimey. Must be between McGuigan and Graham for the wing birth. Grigg again at 13..?

      • Sas on

        Yes bring Visser back , he’ll keep North quiet. I heard Gwyn Jones comment that Scotland reminds him of Wales pre Gatland. The rest of the world can see our weakness, and everyone I speak to from the rugby world knows that Townsend is not impartial in his selection and holds his grudges. If you can’t play the Townsend way then you don’t get a game . That’s going to shrink our pool of players even further if our coach is limited to the same old plan . Gatland already knows the hand that Townsend is going to try and win with. I sat and cried when Townsend took over . And I don’t want to hear the injury excuses or our inexperience excuses. We won’t grow as a team until Townsend is out. I do hope that our boys go out and play with calm heads and adrenaline .

      • Not rocket science on

        Back 3 picks itself now – 11 Graham, 14 Seymour and 15 Kinghorn. Happy with that

      • Kevin Millar on

        Townsend has been in post for less than 2 years and he’s picked 86 different players in his squads and capped 68 of them. Pretty much everybody who could have been given a chance has had one.

      • Campbell B on

        Visser was treated badly, well oiled, class act , ousted by a manequin called McGuigan. Sas is right, the departure of Cotter and the escalation of Townsend is a setback.

        Is that harsh, do I have any evidence ? When was the last time anyone in here said ‘In Toonie we trust’.

        Nuff said.

      • Alanyst on

        Well, neither opportunity nor sense in doing things prior to world cup, which really is the judgement day

        My take on Toonies fate:

        pool stage exit – P45
        “crap” QF exit – “pursuing new opportunities”
        “heroic” QF exit* – contract extension
        SF or better – “In Toonie we trust”

        * by which I mean actually doing enough to win the game but being f***ed over by a biased and/or incompetent set of officials.

      • Campbell B on

        Alanyst: You are much too generous. A SF is progress , we can see where this is going, his job is safe,the day the SRU snubbed Cotter in favour of GT , we told the world we are perochial. I predict that the gap will widen in the next 10 years and regardless of whom is in the seat, this current period is a flat line.

      • Johnny b on

        Gwyn Jones did say that, and there’s some truth in it in the sense that Wales before Gatland were talented but inconsistent winning a slam then a wooden spoon and going out in the 1st round of RWC 2007 to Fiji and Mike Ruddock was a bit of an inconsistent coach (which I hope Townsend isn’t and don’t yet believe he is).
        The rest of his analysis was wrong though, which is that Scotland will feel the only way they can win is unstructured rugby.
        Scotland will feel the only way they can win is to play somewhere close to their potential and not gift any soft tries.
        They need to concentrate and they need to really want it.

      • Campbell B on

        Nice Rory, I am impressed with that.

        It is a year and a day since anyone documented their trust in Toonie. Point made.

    • Saltire62 on

      Does look it is going to be Grigg at 13 as last man standing with Harris out injured although one poster on Facebook earlier today commented we would be better of with Calvin Harris which did make me chuckle! Ouch.
      I really hope Darcy Graham starts and absolutely no reason to pick McGuigan ahead of him as he is just back from injury. I think Seymour will play as he did an interview earlier today which is usually a sign of being a starter. I also spotted Duncan Taylor at the Oriam which is great and a nice gesture if he was asked along to keep in touch with squad and would be great if he was back for world cup.
      I guess it is worth remembering we have 4 warm up games in August which I think will be used to give fringe players and those returning from injury game time. I know you can’t wrap players in cotton wool but I suspect those with nothing to prove like Hogg and Russell won’t feature heavily.

      • TeamCam on

        Visser made a fool of North last time they met. He was miles better in every department. That said, he can’t even get game time for a terrible Quins team, so calling him up would be madness.

    • Stu2 on

      Yes SAS Visser was well know for his defensive commitment, he’ll definitely keep North quiet (rolly eye emoji)

      Toonie has picked practically every player he could lay his hands on – the idea he’s spitefully excluding players is ludicrous.

      And before people start eulogising about Cotter – he was the coach 2yrs ago at Twickenham and if you want to see what kind of coach he can be, watch the appalling Montpelier at Murrayfield this season.

      Turgid bosh.

      • Referendum on

        Agree. The thing I find annoying about the Visser situation was with all his limitations he had got many of them ironed out by the Wales performance. High ball, defensive last ditch tackle scored and set up a try. Then he’s left out and Wales was his second last cap I think and that’s it.

        Anyway old news. Cotter gave us some woeful times too. Its all forgotten just like richie gray was hammered before the injury issues now he’s the messiah. Taylor was hated and dispised by Scottish fans until the France game he scored from halfway. It’s all somewhere in the middle I feel.

        But how do we beat Wales? And now of this 80 min performance, no mistakes, no penalties given away. No one plays perfect rugby, penalties happen, mistakes and errors happen. Specifically how can we beat Wales? Nilling them second half or first half might help

  9. RuggersB on

    Looking at the SRU twitter training vid. Im guessing a few surprises in the GT selection.
    McGuigan IN…at FB or Wing …with Kinghorn FB or Wing…Seymour.
    Skinner IN
    Watson IN…. Bradbury/Graham 8 ..Skinner 6?…Ritchie on bench for rest and better cover.

    Gilco and Toolis to start J Gray on bench?
    Bhatti, Brown, Fagerson to start.. Dell, McInally, Nel on bench?
    Could Laidlaw be out the 23? replaced by Pyrgos on the bench?
    Capt. Gilco or Brown??

    Who knows… just my wee hunch.

    • Andrew McGavin on

      That’s a lot of major hunches, RuggersB! I’d be surprised if there are that many changes, unless GT was so sickened by the Paris performance that he’s told a bunch of bench-warmers to strip off and do a better job.

      You mentioned on the injury update article that Duncan Taylor was there on the training video. I noticed that too and was surprised and heartened by it, for his sake and ours.

      • RuggersB on

        Yeah … I know. Its a lot of changes…it’ll either go like that or it’ll be , as you say , not many changes at all.
        Depends just how annoyed GT was after the France poor performance.

        Cant keep playing players that aren’t improving things….especially against ’10 in a row’ Gatland. I think some players need a shake. GT might want to make a statement of intent…then again they might be given last chance saloon.

        Would be great to have Taylor back… we need him. Hope his presence was a positive sign.

      • Rory Baldwin on

        John Barclay was also training with the group (according to his Instagram). Townsend obviously sees these guys as part of the plan and wants to make sure they are up to speed with systems etc once they do resume playing.

  10. Warks Scot on

    As per that great British film “Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels”, will everyone please stop getting shot! Ok, so Grigg almost certain to get 13 & though tough on Johnson, Horne at 12. Not sure about bench places for midfield & back 3 – we have plenty to cover 12 but 13/wing? Would like Hastings on bench but maybe need both a centre & a wing in which case Horne provides cover for fly-half. As pointed out, back row another conundrum – can G Graham cover 8? Would like to see him somewhere in the 23 but assuming Watson & Ritchie in, leaves an issue at having extra cover at 8 assuming one of Strauss or Bradbury starts.
    Rewatched the 14/15 final as needed to see a Scottish team win something! Interesting to recall how useful Strauss was then in making useful yards & off-loading & that J Gray could also make dents – he just seems a bit weary now & yet is still relatively young. Would love the national team to play with that level of speed, confidence & inventiveness this weekend. Also think Dougie Hall was a very underrated player but that’s really another thread.

    • Greenhorn on

      Team for Saturday 1Bhatti. 2Brown. 3Berghan.4Gilchrist. 5Toolis. 6Ritchie. 7Watson. 8Bradbury. 9Price. 10Russell11 Graham 12 Horne. 13 Johnstone 14 Seymour 15 Kinghorn.16 Dell. 17 McInally 18 Fagerson. 19 Skinner 20 Graham. 21Laidlaw. 22Johnson. 23 McGuigan

  11. Campbell B on

    Visser was treated badly, well oiled, class act , ousted by a manequin called McGuigan. Sas is right, the departure of Cotter and the escalation of Townsend is a setback.

    Is that harsh, do I have any evidence ? When was the last time anyone in here said ‘In Toonie we trust’.

    Nuff said.

  12. Merlot on

    Is it just me or is it getting difficult to remember who’s available and who is injured? Hopefully Townsend is more up to speed. :)

      • Merlot on

        Thanks Rory. Kevin’s piece was invaluable although it would have been easier if he’d listed them by position.
        So for outside centre we have
        Nick Grigg, incumbent but hardly shone in Paris
        Mark Bennett, back to fitness but hardly back to form and being kept out of the starting XV by…
        …James Johnstone, playing well for Edinburgh but uncapped – against Jonathan Davies???
        or Stafford McDowall, lighting up Glasgow but only 21.
        Tough choice but Grigg has to start.

      • TeamCam on

        McDowall’s only played 13 once this season and that was a loss against Benetton (not that I’m saying this was the cause!), so I’d be reluctant to include him as an option at 13 against Wales.

    • Greenhorn on

      What’s Gray done recently and Nel not match fit yet and yes we need to develop squad also Toolis will at least win line out ball think Rambo will explode of bench.

  13. Johnny b on

    I hope Toonie keeps things simple and doesn’t make any ‘tactical’ selections to try to nullify their game but which also nullify ours.
    That’s what he did last season against Wales when he could have picked Horne and Jones but tried to bolster our defence by moving Jones out of position and throwing in the inexperienced Harris for a debut. At the principality. With 70,000 Welsh nutters willing him to drop every ball……
    Darcy Graham gets a start on the wing, Kinghorn at fullback. In the pack maybe Skinner can come in at lock and perhaps Gary Graham can start at 8 if he can play there. I gather he does for Newcastle.
    That frees up a bench spot for Strauss who’s taken on almost all the ball carrying and a hell of a battering so can be deployed as an impact sub.
    Maybe, maybe Price starts at 9 although that means dropping the captain. Alternative is tell Laidlaw to speed things up (which he can if he wants to). Centres will probably be Horne and Grigg. Bolter might be a bench slot for Stafford McDowall. Why not? Absolutely nobody expects us to win this one.

    • Kevin Millar on

      I don’t think Gary Graham has ever had a start at 8 for Newcastle. Even for Jersey in the Championship he was always either a 6 or 7. With his carrying game he does look like he has the raw materials for number 8 but there must be a reason his coaches haven’t trusted him with that role.

  14. andrew murphy on

    My only fear about starting Price is his ability to throw an interception. He did against Wales and then threw an identical one against Scarlet! 3rd time lucky anyone?

    • Johnny b on

      Maybe Price has felt compelled to force the game by selection sometimes.
      Last year against Wales rejigging the centre with an out of position and debutant had the probably unintended consequence of overloading the half backs with attacking responsibilities.
      And Price is an attacking player, he’ll take it on if required.
      He’s been playing very well for Glasgow.

      • FF on

        It’s because the first receiver wasn’t in place and price threw the pass anyway. Maybe it was pressure to keep the pace high and frenetic at the start of the game but it was a very poor decision.

      • Johnny b on

        I bet he felt under pressure.
        He would have known that outside the half backs were an out of position outside centre and a player making his debut at the principality (of all places to throw a new guy in!).
        Selections like that put pressure on the team and force them to be impatient because the only way you’re going to win is to risk everything and get a couple of scores ahead.
        If he’d had Horne and Jones outside – an established partnership – I suspect he would have been more confident and more patient.
        I feel Toonie backed away from the fast game after last year’s Wales debacle, and that’s a mistake too IMO.
        The issue wasn’t the fast game, it was the selection.
        I think Toonie just needs to keep it simple. A fast mobile game is the only way any decent Scottish side has ever played and it’s how his Glasgow team played.
        The only down side to it is that it requires a skill level the front line players possess, so if you get lots of injuries (as we’ve had) then you might need a simpler plan ‘b’.
        Otherwise get as many players capable of playing that way on the pitch as possible and go for it.

      • RuggersB on

        Im not a huge fan of coaches selecting sides to nullify opposition. Confidence comes from playing the way you want to play the game. I really don’t mind when we lose…..as long as we played a game that is natural to our mindset and skillset….and leave it all out there on the paddock. Giving it our best shot is all that matters.
        Who cares about Wales and Gatland’s ‘style’ (or lack of).
        At any rate, Wales dont look like a side blessed with edge of the seat talent…they do look like a team that plays to a rugby philosophy very well…and plays their systems with confidence.That said, Good teams usually have one player who is pivotal to them….and when they see them struggle…their confidence can dissipate pretty quickly. Opposition coaches know that if they shut Russell down or whoever plays 10 we dont have a huge plan B with our lack of dominant physicality.
        In general though i wish we would stop comparing ourselves to others.
        We should just focus on doing our own thing as best as we can and see where we get to.

      • Johnny b on

        Wales have a got a few world class talents to be fair to them.

        They’ve got a great coach who makes a big difference to them (A lot of Welsh don’t like Gatland because of his “unwelsh” style of play! Reckon they’ll miss him next season).

        They’re tough. Rugby’s their national sport and it really matters to them, embodied by Alun Wyn the captain.

        They’re experienced. The core of their team has been around for the best part of a decade. North, Alun Wyn, Liam Williams, Ken Owens, Jon Davies, Dan Biggar…..

        We’ve got talent too, notwithstanding injuries, but I think we lack their toughness and dog. Don’t know where it’s going to come from.

  15. Nick Grigg on

    Can we please end the Grigg experiment now, for all his admirable workload and great attitude he simply isn’t an international player. Toonie needs to win back some of the faithful following a poor winter and a yet to start 6 nations. A little imagination might be needed perhaps some new blood, I certainly don’t have the answers but Townsend needs to deliver the correct team and a win at the weekend

    • Johnny B on

      And replace him with?

      With Harris out, the only candidate is Johnstone or Stafford McDowall.

      Johnstone has been playing well for Embra, but presumably there’s a reason he’s been around for a decade without doing much except 7s.

      Stafford McDowall is 21. Good shout for the bench, maybe.

      Grigg has qualities.
      Work rate. guts. Defence.
      Also, let’s be fair, he has a step and acceleration in attack too. The question is over his distribution and whether at the very highest level his lack of size is something the opposition can find ways to exploit.

      In the current injury situation though, I think he is the man.

      By the way, I think pretending to be Nick Grigg and targeting the bloke in that way.. that’s pretty low.

      • Sas on

        So you think the other 3 have had better seasons do you Stu2? When Fife plays at international level he lifts his game every time. And I’m not suggesting that he comes in at this stage of the six nations, but he is one that should have been in the squad. You may watch the odd game of rugby Stu2 , but your not a world class coach are You? And you are obviously Townsend worshipper.

      • Johnny B on

        Harris is a consistently good player in a Newcastle side which has struggled but won their relegation battle last weekend.
        Really, if there was room for him, Harris is the kind of player who could benefit from a pro-team contract.

        He’s raw. That’s his problem.
        He came to rugby quite late having been outstanding at other sports without the age grade pedigree most players who make it as professionals have, and he’s still quite raw.

        But… similar things apply to both Huw Jones and Dunc Taylor.

        Harris is a much better player than you think he is, that’s for sure, and Townsend made a mistake chucking him in outside an out of position and not especially experienced Huw Jones for a debut at the principality.

        on that basis he shall be judged forever more in the eyes of some Scottish supporters, but he’s better than that.

    • Kevin Millar on

      Dougie Fife is already in the Scotland squad. He was called up after the Ireland game – before McGuigan. I’m not sure having an extra back 3 player in ahead of 2 outside centres like Grigg or Harris would have been the best use of squad places.

    • Bazz on

      Sas… Grigg is a centre…Harris is a centre who can cover wing. Should fife be ahead of mcguigan? Hard to say as i haven’t seen much of them in a while but what i have seen of fife has been poor and hasn’t looked threatening at all. He’s an ok club player, nothing more.

  16. Moody Blue on

    Kinghorn; Seymour, Grigg, Horne, Graham; Russell, Laidlaw;
    Dell, McInally, Fagerson Z, Gilchrist, Toolis, Ritchie, Bradbury, Watson;
    Subs: McGuigan, Hastings, Price, Reid, Brown, Nel, Skinner, Fagerson M
    Very unlucky Sam Johnson

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