Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 77 – Official Sleep Partners

This week on the podcast Cammy is joined by John and Sandy to look back at Scotland’s win over France and wonder who’s comfortably browsing the duty free and who’s stood outside the airport waiting for a taxi home.

We also get post match reactions from Scott Cummings and man of the match Hamish Watson and Gregor Townsend gives us his thoughts on how many places are still up for grabs.

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The Scottish Rugby Podcast brings you the best in informal chat and discussion about Scottish Rugby. Each week during the season we put out a 40 minute podcast suitable for all listeners, covering all the latest news and key analysis of the big matches. 

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39 Responses

  1. WC Squad

    Forwards (17)

    Berghan Reid Dell Fagerson Nel McInally Brown Stewart Gray Gilchrist Toolis Cummings Thomson Bradbury Watson Wilson Ritchie

    Backs (14)

    Laidlaw Price Horne Russell Hastings Johnson Taylor Jones Hutchison Hogg Kinghorn Maitland Graham &

    Interesting question: We are all assuming 3 scrum half will be picked. does anyone think Townsend may pull an Eddie Jones so that he can bring in an extra centre ?

    Also.. Do we have anyone that can cover 9 if we were only to bring 2 ?

    1. I hope George Horne gets a start either this weekend or next. Ali Price has failed to impress me for a while now and Greeg looked pretty snappy last weekend (not the best game ever but he looked quicker than he has done).

      As much as it pains me to say, Greeg has proved he is invaluable yet again even though he isn’t really the type of 9 we should have playing for the type of game we are supposedly trying to play, unless one of the others plays a blinder in the next 2 games he’s in pole position for me.

      I do think he’ll take all 3 though.

  2. On the transgender stuff i think it is fairly simple…

    Either allow fully mixed gender games (with i would not be in favour off in contact)


    Do not.

    If you want to see the horrific scenes of what can happen when Transgender from male to female in a contact sport happens look up the
    MMA fighter Fallon Fox.

    I assume this post will stay up as it is a genuine talking point which was brought up ?

    1. I’m not familiar with the example as I don’t follow MMA but just read a summary on Wikipedia. I’m not clear why you think this case would support excluding trans-women competing as the gender they identify with? Your simple solution is just exclusion really.

      1. To be clear the point made on the podcast is the tone of debate needs to be more reasoned.

        We said safety of players is paramount but we also have to acknowledge rugby is a sport for all. We were very clear we didn’t have the answers.
        We said World Rugby needed to act quickly so clubs and players weren’t left to deal with this alone.

        I don’t think it is as simple as you suggest. But it is understandably an emotive subject on both sides of the debate so I would ask anyone to think carefully before leaving a comment and to listen to the podcast before doing so.

        If you are unsure if a comment is acceptable please drop us an email. If people use fake emails when registering comments there’s little we can do to address individual questions.

      2. Actually FF my first option stated would be to allow fully mixed Male/female games, so for example there would be no U15 boys & U15 girls team, it would just be a one team all playing as one.

        This would sort the ‘trans’ issue in my mind, it is not something i would personally choose as i think the physical traits would generally be to big and the majority of women would be put off playing the game, Although perhaps i am old fashioned & would just be uncomfortable tackling women with the same power as men.

        The only way i could see it working would be something similar to what Cammy suggested but in more detail so that weight is not the only factor considered.

        I would be curious to know any female players/listeners thoughts on this.

  3. Im sick and tired of reading these debates and their contributions from people who in all likelihood have no experience at all of the issue. Firstly rugby is not as inclusive as it makes out. As previous cases in Scottish rugby around initiations have shown if you are not part of the Hoo-rah Henry lads lads lads brigade the clubouse isnt a fun place. This is why I stopped playing in my 20’s. As someone who spent 20 years of my life playing, has a sister who plays and also has another transgender sister I can tell you that some things are just more important than sport. Social inclusivity, human rights are two of those things. There is no arbitrary measure which can be applied here to dictate whether someone should or should not be able to play. 15 stone 6 ft players are not excluded from U18’s when they can injure, small players are not excluded due to risk of injury. This issue is bigger and more important than sport. I know female players who would destroy me on the pitch and Im a 6ft male. This specific example looks more to me like she is playing at too low a level but I dont know where she plays.

    1. Hi SlimJim. The article we mentioned is on the BBC website. It was done as a good news story but some of the language used by another player and coach was unhelpful but well intended.
      I hope World Rugby looks at this and comes us with clear guidelines so no one is excluded. I felt the player and club were hung out to dry a little at the weekend and it would have been nice to see World Rugby intervene.

      1. Its a bigger issue than just rugby, Athletics has been at the front end of it, although admittedly they dont have the safety concerns of a collision based sport. To add to this. Imagine a hypothetical scenario where a race of people where athletically superior, bigger, stronger, faster (can’t think of any real life examples in rugby, can you????). Could you imagine for one second proposing an exclusion for an entire subset of the population based upon a set of physical traits. This is no different at all other than deep seeded prejudice against the concept of transgender people or if I am being forgiving at least an innocent ignorance as it is something many have no direct experience of whereas we can all relate to race.

      2. The article itself is not helpful. the quotes from the coaches in particular are not what anyone would want to hear from their coach. Joking about her injuring team mates in training. There is a clear bias based on prejudice on the entire subject. I forget the details but earlier this year the Daily Hate ran the usual hate fuelled bile before a track and field event because there was a trans gender athlete taking part. The next day she came second last. Daily Hate didnt follow up at all. These people who are being vilified by our media & our rugby media in some cases the same way Afro Caribbeans were in the 50’s , homosexuals were in the 60’s & HIV victims in the 80’s. To see many ppl in the sport I love contributing to that or at least putting it below a game of rugby in importance is horrifying to me. Rugby is either inclusive or not. Get players of all genders playing at the right level and there shouldnt be an issue.

      3. Rugby definitely needs to be inclusive. I hope our discussion hasn’t caused any upset. It certainly wasn’t our intention. Like we said we weren’t looking at discussion solutions as we’re probably not really best placed to do so. We were just looking for more clear messages for players from World Rugby as this is a very current issue in sport. It should be the governing body explaining how the sport can deal with all these issues rather than individual clubs and players.

  4. To be honest Cam, I havent listened to the pod, I was commenting more on the story itself and the general feeling I get around the game. Ive got a few hours on the road this afternoon when I’ll be listening. My issues are that I dont buy the arguments against inclusion of trans athletes in rugby. We have all played at various levels where there were extremes in size and fitness, especially in the amateur game. We have all experienced the cliche of under 15’s rugby when the opponents have stubble and drove themselves to the game. Yet when it comes to the trans issue size is suddenly a risk and it is unsafe yet no one is kicking off about it elsewhere. It stinks of hypocrisy driven by bigotry. As well, the majority of trans women are not excessively large individuals so at best the suggestion is preventing the majority taking part due to an extreme minority. It would be like stopping the under 15’s because someone built like a teenage Tuilagi pitched up one season. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss it rationally (if I am). Other groups Im in have auto delete on any post involving trans, Folau or anything other than crooning NZ & Wales fans.

    1. Thanks Jim. You’ve raised loads of very good points and I agree with them all (although as someone who developed height wise later in my adolescence I am an advocate for weight based youth rugby like they have in NZ but that’s an entirely separate issue to this as it’s more about developing young players). It’s worth listening to the Brian Moore podcast this week. He had a good chat with a women’s international who gave a very good reasoned response.

      1. I’ll try but the prospect of listening to him made me sick in my mouth a little. As a previous big old tight head before (ironically) post rugby weight loss I would advocate the same for youth. I demolished opposition up to under 15’s then realised I hadnt developed any actual skills. But as you say another topic for another day

    2. Not wishing to sweep anything under the carpet, just keep some much needed perspective. I didn’t say ‘how many trans ppl play’, I said ‘how many trans women want to play with non trans women ’, changing your straw man in two important ways. Also probably disagree that ‘trans women’ are under represented – please let me know the pc of post-op trans women in society, then at the same time as isolating other relevant factors (including whether they want to play), we can figure out how many ought to be represented on a purely proportionate basis. Then, of course, we can decide whether it’s worth having the common sense discussion about differences between genders, physical attributes and grouping for sports. I suspect the number you arrive at is so small it could be decided on a case by case basis if ever relevant. Clearly you have some personal experience with the issues (on a side note, id be interested to know whether this is all moot or the person you are talking about has ever expressed an actual unfulfilled desire to play rugby with non trans women) so understand it is an emotive subject for you and mean no disrespect. However (1) I do believe that when this is raised by most people it is posturing, and (2) unless you disagree with grouping sports by gender, then you have to draw a line, and for many facts it is unnecessary to repeat outside of a biology textbook, that line is not inclusive of trans women within the definition of women for sporting purposes.

  5. Re Scottish Rugby Blog away trip to Sale – tour song has to be ‘Enya – Orinoco Flow’

  6. Scotland rugby tweet posted then deleted said Johnson starts at 12 with Hutchinson at 13. Mcinally to captain.

    Exciting if so!

  7. Such a non / virtue-signalling issue. How many trans women actively want to play rugby with non-trans women (the only area of concern)? We should instead expend energy on famine and clean water, malaria, eyesight, cancer research and expending the planet’s natural resources. In the rugby context, a far more pressing issue is the treatment of the pacific nations.

    1. It is possible to be concerned about a number of issues at once. Our HITR section is generally an opportunity to discuss current issues in rugby outside of Scotland (but not always). This was current so we talked about it. We’ve discussed Pacific Islands in the past too. The other topics you mention probably aren’t relevant to a rugby podcast.

      1. Yeah but this is a bandwagon issue that keeps coming up at the moment for the purposes of virtue signalling usually in virtually irrelevant contexts (not saying it doesn’t ever have its place). If every time it was raised, folk agreed to talk about something more important we’d be in a better place as a society.

  8. Slightly afraid of kicking a can of worms here, but in for a penny…..

    …..Perhaps the first thing to get out of the way is that equality doesn’t mean treating everyone the same, in a sporting context at least, it means treating everyone fairly.

    To take SlimJim’s slightly crude example above – if you have a ‘race’ of people who are athletically superior, would you exclude those athletes from competing against other athletes from other races? Of course you wouldn’t, that wouldn’t be fair and would go against the spirit of sport and competition. Would you allow the men from that superior race to compete against women of another race? Of course you wouldn’t, that would be daft, but that’s kind of what he seems to be proposing. Unless we’re prepared to be realistic and grown up about this sort of thing and openly recognise the distinction between sex and gender without fear of being labelled bigoted or ignorant, we’ll never get anywhere.

    1. I made a number of points, it’s a somewhat disingenuous response to pick the one you have something resembling a counter argument for. My over riding point here is that rugby is not important in relation to this wider societal issue and rugby can’t be part of the problem.I’m going to assume again it’s an issue being put to task by folk whose entire experience is based upon watching coronation street. As for the above point about it not mattering because “how many trans ppl play.” How many Asians play? How many gay ppl play? Under representation of minorities reflects a problem not a non issue. Caring about a cause enough to not sit on my backside and dismiss it is not virtue signalling. Dismissing it as such is a lazy and quite pathetic means of trying to belittle something you wish to sweep under the carpet. A lot of folk here clearly demonstrating how easy it is to be part of the intolerance problem.

      1. Bore off Jim and whilst your at it dry your eyes, nobody here is anti-trans other than possibly Neil.

  9. Interesting discussion on who goes and who doesn’t. The back row and the centres being the places that are most difficult. Centres are a nightmare. Harris has improved a lot and now seems to have settled into his role. Not sure Harris and Jones should ever be a combo that should be used as they both seem to suit 13 best.

    I was never one to say Harris didn’t deserve a shot but not to be played in crucial matches to find his feet there and Scotland lose a vital match while he works out how to play at that level.

    You didn’t know the team by the time of podcast but now looking at what has been played I think it’s clear that Horne and probably Wilson is on the plane for sure. He has only had one game of the three to show his mettle and if he was a doubt he’d be there playing in Georgia. Just like Hutchinson and Jones and Strauss are to either cement their place or play themselves out of contention or play themselves in.

    Sam Johnston is getting a run out as is Dell and Hogg is getting a rest. Bhatti and Stewart are there to hope to get a place on the plane.

    Oh and if there was a choice for when you pod next week I’d bid for after the announcement rather before. You’ve done enough discussion on potential be good to hear your thoughts on the actual squad.

    1. Has 1 good game in 6 and people think he is first choice & on the plane… wow.

      The only reason he is even in contention is because Jones has lost form, Taylor is still returning, Hutchison is fresh & Dunbar,
      Scott & Bennett have all had there injury worries & Toony has cast them out for his Newcastle Bias.

      To be clear i thought he had a good game on Saturday & if can replicate hit he will always be in the mix the 23.. but it’s only been 1 good game, lets not squirt our panties just yet.

    2. I’m not basing this on a good game or not other than Saturday just basing it on what I’m seeing. You think Townsend won’t take him?

      1. I think he will take Harris – but I have to agree with Neil that having 1 fairly good game isn’t enough – no different than when people were saying having 1 (or 2 or 3….) poor games wasn’t enough to say he wasn’t good enough.

        Needs to show some consistency – although obviously not time to do that before the world cup.

        My feeling is he will go and be given a chance next week, then probably not picked for Ireland and see how he goes in the next couple of games then by that time we should know who is first choice for Japan and hopefully the 1/4s

      2. Of course he will take him but for all the wrong reasons and bias we have consistently seen from Toony in the past excluding the like of Dunbar, Visser, Strauss exile etc etc.

        He does not have the potential to be a world cup winning 13, he will likely do a job in the smaller warm-up games but thats about it. I would of used the warm up games to give Taylor & Jones more time to rediscover there form as they are potentially world class when firing.

        I can see an argument for him getting in ahead of Hutchison only because he is so raw to the international scene.

      3. My main of my post may have been lost was about Horne going. I know their is huge opinion on here to say he ain’t going but it seems he will now. Thoughts?

        I personally believe he is the most consistent centre and we win games when he plays.

  10. Samoa have names their squad. Really not a vintage crop for them at the moment. Still I can’t shake the feeling that they are the side we are going to make a meal off. Dare I suggest even drop the ball. Japan hold no fear for me, I fancy us against Ireland and Russia will be men against boys (albeit genetically engineered super boys) but Samoa leaves me feeling twitchy.

  11. I forgot to congratulate and thank you for bringing back the term “wing forward” in this pod!! Ditch this silly song nonsense, get a campaign going to get it back into common rugby vernacular.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion