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

The most recent encounter between these two sides was the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup match at the Principality Stadium earlier this season. 28 of the 46 players who contested that game return this time round, 13 for Scotland and 15 for Wales, with the Cup again up for grabs. Who benefits most from the changes made?

Tale of the tape

BACKS
36   Tries   79
89kg   Average weight   95kg
172   Total caps  291
78   6N caps   133
26.1   Average age   28.2

FORWARDS
900kg   Pack weight   906kg
16   Tries   21
186   Total caps  372
73 
6N caps   173
27.6   Average age   28.1

SUBSTITUTES
214   Total caps   181
92 
6N caps  76
15
  Tries  6
28.8   Average age   25.1

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

  • 11 – Graham for Maitland [-]
  • 10/12 – Russell for Johnson with Horne to 12 [+]
  • 9 – Price for Laidlaw [-]
  • 3 – Nel for Berghan [+]

SCOTLAND
15 Blair Kinghorn
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Nick Grigg
12 Peter Horne
11 Darcy Graham
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ADV Wales
EVEN
ADV Wales
EVEN
ADV Wales
ADV Scotland
EVEN
WALES
15 Liam Williams
14 George North
13 Jonathan Davies
12 Hadleigh Parkes
11 Josh Adams
10 Gareth Anscombe
9 Gareth Davies

1 Allan Dell
2 Stuart McInally (c)
3 Willem Nel
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Jonny Gray
6 Magnus Bradbury
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Josh Strauss

ADV Wales
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Wales
ADV Wales
EVEN
ADV Wales

1 Rob Evans
2 Ken Owens
3 Tomas Francis
4 Adam Beard
5 Alun-Wyn Jones (c)
6 Josh Navidi
7 Justin Tipuric
8 Ross Moriarty

16 Fraser Brown
17 Gordon Reid
18 Simon Berghan
19 Ben Toolis
20 Hamish Watson
21 Greig Laidlaw
22 Adam Hastings
23 Byron McGuigan

ADV Scotland
ADV Wales
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Wales
EVEN

16 Elliot Dee
17 Nicky Smith
18 Dillon Lewis
19 Jake Ball
20 Aaron Wainwright
21 Aled Davies
22 Dan Biggar
23 Owen Watkin

Overall

Backs – advantage Wales

Part 1 of the preview picked out Liam Williams and Josh Adams as the Welsh danger men. Both players have been hugely influential in this Six Nations so far. Scotland have tried to use intelligent kicking in their home games against Italy and Ireland to work their way into the right areas of the pitch. There will be even less margin for error on these kicks with the Welsh back 3 prowling.

Scotland’s 9-10-12-13 axis should know each other well from their days together at Glasgow – although they only started together as a complete unit on 3 occasions for the Warriors before Finn Russell left for France.

Forwards – advantage Wales

The Scottish forwards have been taking their lumps from various sources (one in particular pulled no punches) during this season’s Six Nations. They’ve actually been outworking their Welsh counterparts though, averaging 75 carries per game as a group compared to 65 for Wales. It’s been more effective graft too with a gain line success of 41% (Wales – 32%) and 13 broken tackles (Wales – 2).

Wales definitely have the edge in terms of experience, plus a recent history of showing they can shut Scotland down, but any Welsh fans heading to Murrayfield thinking their side are just going to roll over a powder puff pack may be in for a slightly unpleasant surprise.

Subs – advantage Scotland

Gregor Townsend has only once named a more experienced bench than this selection during his tenure. The reserves against Australia in Sydney had 264 caps compared to 214 for Saturday’s game. The head coach will be hoping his replacements are coming on to a positive situation when he starts to use the bench!

Miscellany

–  There is only one change to this Welsh starting XV from the one which opened the tournament against France, Gareth Davies replacing Tomos Williams at scrum half.

– By contrast Stuart Hogg, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Greig Laidlaw, Ben Toolis, Sam Skinner and Ryan Wilson all started against Italy but are replaced by Darcy Graham, Nick Grigg, Peter Horne, Ali Price, Jonny Gray, Magnus Bradbury and Josh Strauss in the current lineup.

– During the Townsend era the split between tries scored by forwards and backs has been very different for Six Nations’ games compared to other matches. The proportion of tries for the pack:

  • Summer Tests – 46%
  • Autumn Tests – 39%
  • Six Nations – 11%

– Toony and the coaching staff will be looking for more impact from their forwards in the dangerous areas of the pitch.

– This game brings a home debut for Darcy Graham after a couple of caps on the road. It will almost feel like home debuts for Nick Grigg (8 minutes off the bench against England his only previous experience of Test rugby at Murrayfield) and Magnus Bradbury (nearly 2½ years since he got his first cap against Argentina in Edinburgh).

– Of the 1,103 players who have featured for Scotland’s men’s team over the past 148 years, just 40 have notched up 50 or more caps so far. Tommy Seymour and Jonny Gray will join that elite group on Saturday.

– In his 9 starts for Scotland, Blair Kinghorn has played alongside 7 different players and in 8 different combinations in the back 3.

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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

84 comments on “Scotland v Wales, Six Nations 2019: Match Preview pt II – head to heads

  1. FF on

    Well I was more optimistic than you in the French head to heads but I think you’ve been generous to us here.

    No way Seymour even with North, Price even with Davies, Ritchie even without Tipuric.

    Let’s face it, we are facing a mountain to climb here. We need Price to play the game of his life and Russell to be in song and our pack to be as brutal and thuggish as possible, to levels we rarely see them reach.

    • Rory Baldwin on

      It’s a tricky one, some could be on reputation, some could be on form, I imagine Kev uses a mix of both. Ritchie is one of the form players of the tournament for sure.

    • DC on

      Totally agree FF. Offer one thousand fans North or Seymour in their team and you’d get a fairly obvious result. Sorry Tommy. Ritchie isn’t at Tipuric’s level yet. Davies and Price is at least a close call.

      • TeamCam on

        Yeah, but that’s based on North’s reputation. He’s been poor to average for years now. I mean, the last time he had a good game was against Ireland two years ago, and that was after a couple of years of doing nothing. That said, Seymour’s not been the same since the Lions, so…

      • Alanyst on

        Davies has it over Price psychologicslly, if only because of the intercepts. First thing he’ll say at scrum time “how many you giving away today”

      • TeamCam on

        Absolutely. You could see it in the game at Parc y Scarlets last season, too. Davies schooled him.

    • Kevin Millar on

      FF – one of these days we’ll be on the same page!

      North has been some way behind the other 2 members of the Welsh back 3 and he’s miles off his dominant form of old. In this tournament he’s been quiet in attack – 2 defenders beaten so far. He doesn’t pass (1 in the tournament) so if he’s not getting it done himself he’s not really creating for others. He has a couple of tries but they were both handed to him on a plate by atrocious French play. He’s definitely the weakest link in that Welsh defensive system (eg Huget’s try). Tommy’s ‘slump’ is a little overdone for me. His try-scoring form is not where it was pre-Lions but the rest of his game is generally on point and we will need his contributions in defence and under the high ball.

      Price struggled last year but he’s been back on form this season – Glasgow’s number 1 ahead of Horne for games when they’ve both been available. By contrast Davies was flying last year but he’s not hit the same heights this year. Gets a lot of stick from Welsh fans for not doing the basics of scrum half play well. It Tomos Williams hadn’t been injured I don’t think it’s certain that Davies would be starting.

      Ritchie has been our best player in this tournament. He’s carried more – and more effectively – than Tipuric. Made more tackles. Won more turnovers. Tipuric has the reputation and the experience but Ritchie definitely has the form.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      Don’t agree with you here FF. North is one concussion away from retirement, and hasn’t been the same player since the Lions tour to Australia. A one trick pony reliant on his size. Seymour is miles better in the air and a better all round player now.

  2. Johnny b on

    Hmm. North’s try was the main difference on the scoreboard in November.
    In 2016 he pulled an individual try out the bag when we had Wales on the rack late in the game which saw them home.
    Ditto 2013.
    He’s got form against us.
    Not to be underestimated. Don’t think he’s quite the player he was after all the head bangs but can still pull out a one off.

    • TeamCam on

      I’m not saying he can’t score or hasn’t scored tries, but Seymour scored a hat trick not that long ago, and no-one would argue that he’s in form. 2019 North is not a patch on 2013 North.

      • DC on

        Seymour, 2 tries in his last 14 six nations games. 5 in 25 in all.
        North 14 in his last 16 six nations games. 19 in 35 in all. Stats can tell you what you want but i think they tell you who’s better in this case.

      • TeamCam on

        How many of those are recent? If you were saying who’s better now, not who’s been better overall, then it’s not as cut and dried as those stats would have us believe. As Kevin says, North has been a defensively liability, doesn’t create much and his try scoring in the 6Ns of late has consisted of two gifts from France and two against a lacklustre Italy. If you were comparing them five years ago, North is the instant and correct answer. Comparing them now, a strong case can be made for Seymour.

  3. The Chiel on

    Tend to agree that the North / Seymour comparison is wrong. Even if you take the view North is playing on reputation, frankly so is Seymour. Hopefully the Glasgow midfield can use a few moves from the old Scotstoun playbook.

    I’d like to see the odds on a Welsh interception try . . . .

    Getting ready to move the couch forwards so I can peep over it.

  4. TheSmidge on

    The only one of those head-to-heads that I’d disagree with is Horne vs. Parkes. As an international 12, with the quality to play at 1st or 2nd receiver, I’d say that Horne is much more established.

  5. Not rocket science on

    Think we should enjoy this beating from Wales. Because looking forward its going to be another humping at Twickenham. Just imagine Teo and Tuilagi running at Horne and Grigg.

  6. Merlot on

    I think North is probably slightly better than Seymour, but equally Adams isn’t significantly better than Graham. Overall it’s probably fair to say advantage Wales for one of them.
    Similarly the Welsh back row is probably worth 2/3 advantage Wales.
    However much I hate him though, Davies is head-and-shoulders above Price on his day. And he keeps having his day against Scotland! If Ali can keep him subdued that will go a long way to winning the match.

    • TeamCam on

      Before *that* game last 6Ns, Price was better than Davies. His performances against Wales, Australia, Italy and New Zealand in 2017, as well as his performances for Glasgow during that time, were excellent. Davies is very good, but Price at his best was better.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      Strangely, they’re similiar types of players. Both quick and mentally astute. Price had a nightmare with interceptions in the game at Cardiff and lost hios mojo thereafter. Think he’s recovered now and will have something to prove today.

  7. DarkHorses on

    I think that assessment is being a touch generous to Scotland in places…but this sort of comparison is always subjective, so you could debate it all day long.

    I think Josh Adams is one to fear. seems to be on good form right now, has power and speed. wasn’t he top try scorer in the English league (last season?). I’d agree with other comments on George North. He has frightening potential to run over or through defenders, but only ever seems to live up to that potential fleetingly. let’s hope this Saturday isn’t one of those days when he turns it on.

    with exception of Liam Williams, the whole Welsh three-quarter line is pretty big and powerful. You can imagine they will be happy running at DG, PH and NG all day. Scotland really need to be 100% on first-up tackles. If they fall off tackles with those big runners they will be in trouble.

    but overall, on paper, I think you’d be a fool not to conclude that Wales have the advantage as a team. It’s up to Scotland to upset the odds.

  8. RuggersB on

    A lot of those h2h comps are not apples to apples ..imo
    Wales have a team that is a solid sum of parts. I dont think they have anyone truly outstanding. Liam Williams has the most flair in that team….and even he doesn’t do a whole lot special.
    They play their systems with confidence…and they get better results over the stretch than us.
    Individualy Id say we have significantly more talent and flair …but we dont seem, or haven’t shown, that we have the mindset to put it all into place on a consistent basis. Often, because of our inconsistent mindset, teams just have to be solid to beat us…how many times have we played the likes of Wales and Ireland knowing fine well if we play like we can we’ll win….that they weren’t anything special and the chances were there and we didn’t take them. Thats mindset.

    • Broono on

      What if he doesnt , it would take a lot more than a welsh win to convince me, but it would give me hope he can build on something for the RWC. Win or lose, if Scotland come out and lose the second half today , I have serious concerns over his leadership. Just for the record , I would sooner win.

  9. Referendum on

    Take your minds back to two years ago the night before the Wales match. We had a smash and grab win against Ireland. We did well but I don’t think we deserved that win on balance of play. We were just off the back of a French defeat which was very close and perhaps should have won but we lost Laidlaw which was a bit of a blow at the time. Our scrum tended to go backwards and we didn’t have a platform. We were exciting, taking the chances we created and scored some decent tries and our free flowing rugby was new and hadn’t been found out yet. But I remember the night before the Wales match we weren’t confident and with the odds against us and having not beat Wales anywhere for so long it was long shot. We didn’t have the immense home record at this point but we had had a few stand out wins splattered about.

    I think our line-out was in better shape back then, we didn’t lose so much in turnover ball (if anything we did the damage on turnover ball) and we didn’t have anything like the injuries we have now. But Wales have Gatland back this time and he’s grinning from ear to ear., knows he’ll beat us tomorrow and might even trot out the “We’ll batter them” line or equivalent afterwards. I’m getting more and more hopeful as it’s gets closer and by kick-off I’m sure it’ll be win by more than a try. Just got a wee hunch!!!!

  10. Referendum on

    BBC Preview from Chris Patterson’s shows some really interesting numbers, yet unless these change then we’ll not have a chance.

    1. 30 Penalties so far which is the most in the championship but it’s the fact we’re so high consistently that is the real issue. We have to stop with the daft penalties and there has been a few, when competing for ball at breakdown got to keep the hands off the ground. Wales have conceded 11 fewer but again their average is so low due to the England match (3 penalties if I’m right) They knew how key that was against England to win I doubt that’ll be the huge emphasis for this match. Teams don’t think we’re as ruthless with teams that give away pens. We need to avoid a yellow card and take advantage if they get one. This referee is in the habit now of giving cards to our opposition and is probably the French ref we’d take it if given a choice. Again I don’t think we’d won with Lacey against a top team up to 2017 which was a big worry before the match. We’ve beat some good teams with Gauzere in charge.

    2. 32 handling errors. This is ridiculous and probably mainly from France and Ireland second half. Given the weather it may not be as crucial but it’s got to get better and the odd knock on that leads to a scrum fine but nothing to cause us to have to scramble too often. It hit us far too much last time out.

    • Referendum on

      3. 35 line breaks. I’m guessing but I ‘d bet that is the highest in the championship and we’ve got 7 tries so far which isn’t terrible but is only 2 in last 2 outings. So glad for Price’s try as we now have scored points in 2nd half. But it is a poor return for some of the chances we’ve created and so we need a much better conversion rate. We need better support lines when we do breach. With Russell in and Horne at 12 I think we’ll do it. and hope to get outside the high narrow press from Wales. However I think a try in first ten mins when we come out of the traps will swing it our way. We are becoming a very good starting team. We need to maintain it.

      So kick well into space and chase smart. Even if we don’t get the ball carrier we need to think of staying in a line to stop the clean counter attack. That first French try was appalling and just showed how we lacked brain and working as a team.

      But I think we’ll do it and we’ll build up to causing Gatland’s party to wait a week at least.

      • Alanyst on

        Lets just hope support runners are not blocked-out or mown-down illegally. That’s one reason we have struggled…

      • Jp08 on

        That’s going to happen because that’s rugby and smart play. If we have struggled with it it’s because we are not streetwise enough not because it’s happening. It’s our problem to solve.

      • Alanyst on

        Jp…there’s truth there…you’re an idiot if you think it won’t happen.

        Let’s just hope Monsieur has the balls to make positive calls.

  11. Gaffer on

    just read the h2h player reviews on walesonline. only Russel gets the nod over his oppo with Wales outscoring us by 12 points in total. Yet again their pundits are disrespecting us. Although they have the Indian sign over us I am hoping we ruin Gatlans grand slam hopes. I think we need to take some revenge for past injustices such as the Dan Bigger leap into Russel, the Scott Murray sending off, the Lee Byrne into Thom Evans episode, the not pushing at the scrum debacle of 2 years ago and see them off convincingly. I think our forwards will rise to the challenge and the backs fonish off what is in front of them .

      • TeamCam on

        Really? Josh Adams ain’t bad, but he’s not 33% better than Darcy Graham. Horne is better than Parkes. Price is on a par with Davies. Francis is bang average. Nel is better than Evans. “Gilchrest” is better than Beard. Is Moriarty better than Strauss? He seems to be dining out on a couple of tackles on Nathan Hughes, and de Klerk’s intervention last summer put that in context.

      • Scrummo on

        Compare Wales last two results to our last two results and bear in mind those ratings are largely form based.

    • Broono on

      Now that is the spirit, this is a bunch of dispicable individuals we are up against. As far as I am concerned , there is only one game in the six nations we need to win. Then go home , close your door, because they will even rob you of your pride if you hang around.

      We are underdogs, we love that , beat them even by a point, just beat them.

  12. Referendum on

    Just heard that Nel has an incredible win record for a Scotland player. Not sure of it exactly but apparently when he plays ( and invariably he starts) Scotland have much better chance of winning statically. Would love to see some of his runs with ball in hand that made metres we saw early in his Scotland career.

  13. MisterC on

    I think we are going to get pumped. Not enough nous and nastiness in the team and Gatland has the hex over us as it is, let alone with us missing so many of our best players. In a word, we’re doomed!

  14. RuggersB on

    ….and there that is.

    Lack of power and nous to get over the line….its like the fever is returning.

    Our Centers are getting crushed.

    Kinghorn not having a great game….Graham looks dangerous and retains possession well. Strauss a fairly anonymous 8..

  15. Not rocket science on

    Kinghorn having a shocker. McGuigan on. Ritchie giving away penalties. Midfield looking sh*te. It’s just how many Wales score.

      • Neil on

        Thats what we need to see from Scotland, need to put there bodies on the line like Hastings did.

        Mcinally & Townsend need to really put a fire under Scotlands belly, this is all mindset now.

      • Not rocket science on

        Blessing he’s off. Winger or nothing for me. Get Ritchie off and Watson on. No options in the midfield at all. Garbage. Only highlight is DG. Maybe Grigg will tear loose second half, lolz

      • RuggersB on

        Kinghorn reminds me of Hogg a few years back…in that his tackling is terrible and/or shows a lack of commitment to the tackle. Hogg is missed today for sure.

    • Rob on

      McGuigan is not International class at all and should not be there. Needed Johnston out there today!!!!

  16. RuggersB on

    pressure on GT mounting…. injuries aside …some basic stuff missing. We look like we are regressing.
    Matt Taylor can * off back to Aus as coach.. mince.

  17. RuggersB on

    Im not even sure we can beat Japan at RWC playing like this.
    GT is draining the momentum and confidence gained under Cotter….really looking like a terrible decision by SRU

    • Stu2 on

      2yrs ago we were shipping 60pts to England. Cotter was all over the place for us too, but benefited from a lower level to begin with – which hides some of the dross his side’s churned out too.

  18. Scrummo on

    ABSOLUTELY SUPERB from Dell so far. Locking his side of the scrum, making his tackles and adding physicality. And now a lung busting run ended by crocking Liam Williams.

    • pragmatic optomist on

      The best game I’ve seen Dell playing and was all over the place in the loose. He seems to have sorted his scrum issues, but did fall flat a few times and lucky not to give away penalties. Hope he keeps it up.

  19. RuggersB on

    …just another example of a team just needing to be solid to beat Scotland. Just defend and wait for our mistakes…predictable. GT game plan will do well vs lower tiers but looks clueless against top tier.

    We have no real quality leader.
    For all the Hastings criticisms …he has improved us since coming on.

  20. CSC on

    Do the Scots coaching team not understand the value of the first receiver taking the ball at pace?

  21. RuggersB on

    ….dont think I can stomach watching the upcoming England game. If that’s all we got…..It’ll be a landslide.

  22. Kilry on

    Step 1: Clone Hamish Watson.
    Step 2: Have the clones raised by Richard Cockerill
    Step 3: Win everything.

  23. Neil on

    Better from Scotland..

    Im not sure if its just me but we seemed unable to beat the Welsh defensive line when either Graham went off or Laidlaw came on.

    Scotland showed what they can do when they stop being afraid to lose & just go for it.

    Lineout was alot better, Gray/Gilchrist managed it well.

    Thought Price had a decent game (at 9)

    Grigg was Consistent at least on this occasion, solid in defense & no errors in attack, however despite being a fan of him i agree now he does not quite have the skillset or power for top tier rugby, would start him next week though as a stop gap.

    Graham took to international rugby like a duck to water, very solid under high ball/defensively, Amazing in attack.

    Not sure what Horne did today ?

    Kinghorn can be a good international Winger but i question him defensively at the top level.

    Bradbury stepped up today, loved when he boshed moriarty.

    Watson had a huge impact, really is a world class player.

    • Sas on

      Being the best runners up is what we’ve done since the six nations started, teaching young lads how to lose , shame on Townsend.

    • RuggersB on

      Kinghorn: remember the same defensive questions hung over Hogg until around 2 yrs ago. Maybe should be used as a winger until his international experience grows though. I think he’ll learn a lot from these bad days more so than the good ones.

  24. Fraser on

    Game of 2 halves – Scotland much improved after halftime.

    I agree we have gone backwards in that we have lost the cutting edge we had in attack – we rarely look like scoring tries and are not threatening in broken play.

    The defensive structure needs a complete overhaul – we give away soft tries on early phase ball every time. I have no idea what Seymour was doing coming in on the centre for Wales first try.

    Centre pairing as predicted were relatively safe but never looked dangerous.

    Kinghorn made a few errors but I didn’t think he was awful, more a reflection on how the team was playing while he was on.

    Positives

    Gilchrist made some very good carries.
    Line out was dominant.
    Watson looked great (bit of the old pinball magic) and showed how missing a few key players makes such a difference.
    Graham was a live wire.
    Hastings did well at fullback (and maybe gives us more bench options going forward).
    Ritchie is a quality player (and unlucky to be penalised a couple of times).

    • Fraser on

      McGuigan also had a decent game, as did McInally.

      Going forward – time to give the youngsters a shot (particularly at centre), keep the guys that played well today and with a few key players back from injury I don’t think we are in as bad a place as people might think.

      • Fraser on

        I do think we need a coaching change – I am not one to start talking about getting rid of Townsend yet (but if we don’t get out of the group in the World Cup…….) – but a new defensive coach and maybe skills coach wouldn’t go amiss.

        I have lost track of which coaches are changing in the Scottish teams so maybe there is new blood coming in already.

        I don’t expect to beat England at Twickenham but we need to at least be competitive.

  25. Fraser on

    I don’t disagree with a lot of that.

    I don’t think they will start Hastings at 15 – it will either be Kinghorn or Hogg if he is fit, but I would use him as bench cover for 10/12/15.

    Would like to find an alternative to Grigg but there may not be one right now.

    Laidlaw will still be in the squad, McGuigan to start if Kinghorn is at 15.

    Back row I like Ritchie over Bradbury.

  26. Sas on

    Price was so indecisive time after time , I thought for a minute at one point he was going to pull his phone out and Google what to do with the ball

  27. john on

    A funny old game, the 1st half exactly as I feared, hesitant, error strewn, little threat (brilliant Darcy Graham break aside), then we had a right go in the 2nd half/Wales eased off. I thought Hastings had a good game @ FB, Kinghorn looks way out of form, Graham did all that could’ve been asked. Ritchie & Dell went well. Russell’s slight of hand for the try was magic. What a player Hamish Watson is!!!
    Peculiar dropping Sam Johnson, seems to offer much more than Horne.
    Can’t whine to much given the injuries. Hogg leaves a massive hole in that team when absent. However we had chances (again)

  28. Stu2 on

    Andrew – GT doesn’t need defended, we are poorly coached at the moment and he should rightly be criticised for this.

    He was happy taking the plaudits last season he should accept the current criticism as this is his side and tactics.

    • Andrew McGavin on

      Hi Stu, although I was disagreeing with your point about injuries, I was referring to others when I was criticising the ott negativity on the blog (which you’ve called out as well in this thread). I think you’re well within your rights to criticise GT and say injuries can’t be an excuse, even though I see it differently. I just think it’s almost impossible for an international coach to be judged fairly when he has lower-quality or very inexperienced players at his disposal and then very little time to build new combinations.

      I suspect otherwise, but you may be proved right that we’re poorly coached, but we’ll only know that post-WC and 2020 6N if most of our best players are available for those tournaments.

    • Andrew McGavin on

      Re taking the plaudits, I don’t remember him talking up his own abilities even after great wins. From what I could see, he was humble and gracious in victory and just visibly enjoyed the moment, as he should, giving credit to the players.

      • Stu2 on

        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 – he’s now suffering from a second season dip.

        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.

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