Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


RWC 2019: Ireland 27-3 Scotland

Scotland vs Ireland
Graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog

Does it hurt more, or is it easier to ignore, when that sinking feeling after all your pre-tournament hope evaporates in a different time zone and you are sitting bleary-eyed on the couch at an ungodly hour?

It didn’t take long did it?

Both sides started this Pool A opener in Yokohame off with kicks in the early stages, but if that was an indication that the teams had their tactical approach right it was only 50% true.

Stuart Hogg was lively in the opening stages with some neat little chips but Ireland were as usual content to soak up the close play and quickly limit the damage from any excursions into the wider channels.

On the other hand all it took was one little mistake – a missed tackle on Iain Henderson by skipper Stuart McInally – for Ireland to be rampaging in behind Scotland’s defence. Several brutal short carries later and James Ryan inched over the line enough to score.

The confident world number 1 ranked side spurned a kick at goal as early as the 12th minute of play, but when the rolling maul works as well as it did why would they need to do anything else? After quarter of an hour it was 12-0.

A Greig Laidlaw penalty chipped away at the lead following some Scottish possession but that was to be their only points of the half.

The Scots were more adventurous, but Ireland made fewer mistakes. Early pressure unsettled Irish half-backs Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton but not to the extent that it hampered what their team was doing – although Murray took over the goal kicking pretty early on. Bundee Aki in turn failed a HIA following an attempt to do something similar to Finn Russell. But Irish line speed shutting down his options to pass to shackled Finn far more than any late hit would.

A more telling tale would be the first decent incursion into the Irish 22. Tommy Seymour misread Finn’s fairly familiar inside crash ball – one he must have taken a few hundred times – and Andrew Conway was able to hoof the loose ball up the pitch. Hogg won the foot race comfortably but the ball bounced off the post and meant a hurried grounding in goal that was far from comfortable. In the red zone, ball over the line, tick. Just the wrong line from where the move started.

From that scrum Ireland sent CJ Stander charging through the middle and although Sam Johnson looked to stop him, there were more of those pick and go carries and Tadhg Furlong was the scorer this time.

It was far too easy in a first half when Scotland had no answer to any of the multiple questions Ireland were asking of them. The excellent Jacob Stockdale was reading any half-chances out wide and Hogg and Finn Russell looked starved of time on the ball; little was seen of Duncan Taylor or Sam Johnson aside from some good scramble defence.

The half ended on a truly miserable note with Hamish Watson twisting his knee in a ruck – under pressure from Irish forwards of dubious legality – and leaving the game on a stretcher, replaced by Fraser Brown. By that point he may have been glad to see the back of it but for the rest of us there was another full half to contend with.

Half-time Ireland 19-3 Scotland

Second half started with Scotland losing the ball in possession so softly as the rain that had been promised started to hammer down in Yokohama.

Suddenly attacking moves with a high degree of difficulty looked even more foolhardy but was there a plan B that suited Scotland in such weather?

An Irish-like succession of short range carries and better ball protection actually got them within a few metres of the line but Barclay was distracted by the onrushing and possibly offside CJ Stander and spilled it.

After losing that scrum, Nel and Barclay were replaced by Berghan and Blade Thomson. That’d didn’t alter the trajectory of the result as Andrew Conway put things to bed with a try following Ryan Wilson’s failure to deal with a high ball bang on the Scottish 22. At 24-3 that looked like that, and Ireland brought off their key men with bigger challenges to come.

They’d played very little rugby as is their way – there were very almost no attacks through the backline of any note in a stifled second half, but they do what they need to do, and do it well, only missing half the tackles Scotland did. Could they win the World Cup? You can’t tell on this showing, their single gear was enough to beat Scotland, and beat us well. It should also see them out of the pool comfortably.

Even as Tadhg Beirne was binned for slowing a rare Scottish break it was too little, too late. Scotland couldn’t even get anything out of that with a man advantage but did at least look livelier in the final quarter of an hour with Price, Thomson and Graham on. There is an argument that the presumptive “top team” we saw today may now have had their chance.

Scotland on this showing now have a massive question mark even over their ability to get out of the pool, and a tournament that once looked full of eastern promise now looks like the usual struggle for something approaching respectability. With a single penalty the only score, there was very little of that today.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (RFU)

SRBlog Man of the Match: very difficult to pick one as almost everyone in the starting XV made key mistakes at exactly the wrong time. So you could give it to, say, Fraser Brown who probably didn’t anticipate playing much of his first game back from injury as a makeshift openside and made a decent fist of it.

241 Responses

  1. I thought I would jot down how Ireland scored their points today:

    Taylor throws the ball into touch, Laidlaw’s terrible box kick, Gilchrist McInally wave through Henderson – Try

    Hogg running away from support, Pen, Nel in from side,Pen – Try

    Drop ball in midfield – Try

    Wilson drops the ball. Wanders about aimlessly – Try

    Berghan knock on – Berghan offside – Pen

    Notice a pattern?

    This generation of players are complete chokers – time and time again they are incapable of combating any pressure that’s applied to them – they crumble.
    If there was one period that summed up this terrible performance it was the last 10mins – Ireland down to 14 men and we made mistake after mistake.

    Toonie plan of selecting experience worked out well didn’t it. I’d start with picking players who are actually fit – I cant believe Huw Jones is at home watching Taylor waddle about in the midfield it’s bewildering. Barclay was blowing oot his erse after 15mins – what was the point of picking that backrow and barely competing at the breakdown.

    Samoa and Japan will be licking their lips.

    1. Agree about the fitness and lack of control. Might be the last game for some of the older players.

      Seymour looks like he’s sick or lost too much weight or both.

      Barclay wasnt match fit.

      Gray lasted ok but never got out of second gear.

      Big reaction required next week or Toony and the rest of the coaching team are out of a job.

      1. It is all a bit predictable what was going to happen. Townsend must be held accountable for the mess he has created. People forget he was the attack coach for I believe 3 seasons when we could not score a try for love or money. Instead of getting rid of him then we boot Sean Lineen out of Glasgow who put together that winning team for GT to take the credit. He then throws his toys out the pram wanting the Scottish job when we already have one of the best coaches in place and this is were the Dobson GT love in is a disaster. He has sat over and put in place his technical blueprint for the future of Scottish rugby the Scotland way. Turn up to tournaments unprepared as with our future players of the U20s relegated from World championship to second tier competition.
        Does nobody realise this has been coming for years it is professional sport and we have the same people going around on-this non stop conveyor belt of failure. I truly hope Scotland can and do come back from the latest set back but bigger question have to be not just asked but answered.

      2. Ramsman, totally with you on this. Whatever Toonie wants Toonie gets. His ego has stalled the development of Scottish rugby. Most talented generation is quickly becoming the lost generation.

    2. That’s it basically. Also a complete inability to build pressure through phases to impose some level of control and build composure.

    3. Agreed. Townsend hedged his bets, and didn’t put a fast paced team up. It’s one or the other: fast southern hem rugby or slower tactical stuff, and this team is trying to be both unsuccessfully. So they attempt to play quick but in a predictable fashion, and without the quickest players. Jones, Graham, Price , Thomson, should be starting. Hogg has lost a bit of pace, and is getting predictable. We need the likes of Graham and Price to add some variety. Also, not sure about the Captaincy…. Russell would be better to take charge and direct things. The forwards need to protect Russell and give the guy some space. We’ve seen what Scotland can do when things are firing properly. Today was extremely disappointing. Onwards and upwards, we hope!

    4. Please God do not let me hear the Sound bytes from the players tomorrow about how well things had gone in training how they hated letting the fans down, how they will make it right next time (copyright Gerry Rafferty !)but can’t understand why it didn’t work out on the pitch.
      And yes they are very likely to ram my words down my throat by losing valiantly to New Zealand in the 1/4 finals (having been 30 points down at half time and starting to play rugby when it doesn’t matter) (assuming they beat Samoa and Japan) .
      Vern Cotter had begun to change the Mentality in Scottish Rugby and was let go too soon for Toonie who is a brilliant attack coach but no more than that. No bad feelings about Gregor but he should have been brought in to support Cotter, not replace him.

      1. Rational good post , I don’t think supporting Cotter would have worked for either of them. Cotter was on short term or extended contracts with the SRU and Townsend was ready for a new job, Glasgow had peaked , he was in danger of slipping back.

        Cotter was on the right trajectory, he had a few bad days but generally , his record is reading better at the minute IMO and he was working with less mature players.

        Our players look frazzled , I suspect worn out being run like headless chickens.

    5. Stu2 and Ramsman – great points!
      I’d add that we keep playing absolutely frenetic rugby from first phase ball right from kick off – when the opposition is full of puff, correctly aligned and ready for it. They soak it up and wait for the mistake. This time, Stu rightly points out, it was Taylor’s world’s longest miss pass straight into touch that did it. A few minutes later and we are 12 points down. I actually think the stupidity of our tactics was the problem – not ‘failing to turn up’. If you watched a lightweight boxer go toe-to-toe with a heavyweight from the opening bell, get knocked down twice and then just hang on for the rest of the 3 rounds, you’d blame his tactics not his effort! I think that was the problem here. I blame Townsend for an impossible game plan.

      1. But if you don’t form a team from that talent that can perform or at least compete with other Tier 1 teams on a more regular basis than we can then you become that Tier 2 team who on their day can spring a surprise. That’s all we are becoming now.

        We’ll find out if we are an in between Tier or actually Tier 2 next week. Samoa come in with a more than decent shout of beating us now you have to think and that’s us out of the World Cup before it really starts.

      2. TeamCam…this is true. Fiji have some awesome talent but are strangled by lack of opportunity and frozen out of the big leagues (also their variety of skills is not quite there in my opinion…).

        To say we are “tier 2”, which is mainly an economic/structural definition that does not apply, takes the edge off the fact we do not have that excuse…although a small nation, our opportunity through Pro14 and 6N is world class, and is limited by what we make of it.

      3. Agree. We have the players. Except Reid they all play at a high competitive level same as Irelands players.
        People ever so reluctant to admit GT and HIS staff…have made an utter pigs ear out of this. I’m done with him and his stupid fairy thought ideals of rugby. They’ll win the square root of didley squat at this level of rugby. Performances prove it…results prove it!!
        No consistency of selection….wrong selections… historical relationships and performances preferred to actual current form and skills. He is out of his depth at this level…he is at his best…a backs coach..NOT a national team manager.
        Wins against Russia or Japan or Samoa will prove absolutely nothing. Getting the dubious pleasure of scraping our way to play an NZ team who will absolutely pummel us with probably half a 1st choice team??…no thanks!
        ‘we’re here to win it!’…..hahaha…

  2. Was excited to watch this match , despite not agreeing with a large number of squad selections by GT, as I hoped with all the talk from GT , the coaches , the players….that we were ready to actually turn up for an 80 minute performance.

    Absolutely awful performance. Embarrasingly awful really.
    Soo bad its difficult to even bother analyse it.
    Ireland didn’t do anything special…they just looked up for it and focussed…and that was plenty good enough.
    Hindsight is wonderful thing of course…..but that decision to let VC go at a time when all his efforts were starting to turn us around into a tough team has quickly been dismantled by GT.
    Time to go….Id tell him now to be honest. This has happened just too many times….he won’t turn it around imo.
    SRU got it wrong and so has GT.
    Who next? preferably someone who can organize a team and get them to play the basics well.

    1. A poor performance, and I agree that Scotland didn’t look up for it. Fair play to Ireland who took their chances well.

      Scotland kicked possession away far too much – not that they looked very threatening when they maintained possession for a reasonable number of phases.

    2. We should get Cockerill 1) because he might even get this bunch of bottle merchant powder puff serial disappointments to show some backbone and 2) because it would wind the English up no end

      1. Think that over two seasons a play off place in a competitive pool and a CC QF including home and away over toulon and montpellier at home isn’t a bad record for Edinburgh perennial underachievers who won about 5 games the season before he arrived. League was disappointing last year but I haven’t taken it too much to heart and think Cockerill has vastly improved Edinburgh. Most importantly Edinburgh has proven themselves able to do what Scotland can’t, bully teams at times including big French packs. Which is odd considering so many of the players are the same.

      1. He also oversaw victories against Wales and Ireland which townsend hasnt in 6 attempts and unlike other collapses in recent years at least Twickenham had mitigating circumstances such as fraser brown losing the plot about 2 minutes in and a series of injuries. Price ended up on the wing under cotter because we had about 5 injuries in game. Townsend would stick him on the win as some “cunning plan”.

        Was thinking there is a bit like that blackadder goes forth at times with Toony “we will play the fastest rugby in the west and dazzle them with our superior speed and inventiveness” “but we tried that the last 11 times and they just dominated our underpowered forwards made sure we got slow ball and rushed Russell” “but that is why it is a perfect plan, it didn’t work the last 11 times so they will never guess we will try it again, we will take them totally by surprise”

  3. Russia next is a real double edged sword. There is no danger of a loss (…) so we have a chance to regroup.

    Ideally though you’d want a response after today’s bilge performance but it’s wasted if it’s against Russia, even if we out 50+ on them we learn nothing.

    1. Aye, this was the big test of this group and was a clear fail. As far as the group stages go, we only have the potential for things to get worse, rather than better. If we play with such a lack of accuracy again we’ll struggle against Samoa and Japan.

  4. Pathetic capitulation by players that have talent but are being poorly managed and lead. They keep trying to throw it side. Need creativity at outside centre. Should never have got rid of VC. They were afraid of losing GT abroad but that may given him the education he needs to win with blood and guts.

  5. Watching with English and Welsh and Irish mates m. They can’t even be bothered to take the pish. It was that bad.

    1. Our team is full of characters who strike me as ‘losers’

      McInally, Gilchdist, Gray, Barclay, Laidlaw, Seymour, Hogg, Brown, inspire no confidence in me despite their merits as players.

      On the other hand players like Cummings, Dell, Graham, G Horne, Hastings, M Fagerson feel more like winners to me. Whilst maybe not quite as good right now but they certainly have a higher ceiling.

      1. Agree.
        What worries me though is these up and coming talented players players like Cummings, Graham, G Horne, Hastings, M Fagerson, Ritchie, Kinghorn have to learn from experienced players who just don’t have what it takes and show the kind of malaise that I dont won’t to see repeated in the next cycle.
        If GT could do just one intelligent thing in his tenure it would be to have the backbone to admit he got the selections wrong and pick as many of the new guys as he can so they can build some consistency and make their own stamp going into future 6N or RWCs.
        Going for ‘experience’ shown to be a total fail. We looked like the aging side not Ireland.

    2. You know it’s bad when you’re mates feel sorry for you when your team are that bad, I feel your pain.

  6. It doesnt look like the squad has been together for 5-6 weeks. The poor elements of our play, which in the 6 Nations were put down to the number of injuries continued today and havent been addressed.

    For being a team that can score tries, it didnt look like we would ever score today.

    There is no balance in this squad. All out attack and no defence, very rarely works.

  7. If you’re a Taylor or a Barclay you have responsibility to put your hand up and say you’re not ready for this. Laidlaw and Seymour really are done. Our memories are too short. Was Wilson even playing?

      1. Yes it will have been. We’ve several hundred comments to wade through on big game posts and won’t be able to fix/edit all the ones that break the rules in order to get them on.

    1. I understand, however surely s*&^% is just part of our generic language these days?? Either way i shall self censor in future boss man

  8. Agree with everything above. During games like that it’s combined individual character that makes a difference or change. Where was there one moment in that game where someone stood forward and said no more. This is what is different to teams of the past. Sorry to say it in the 90’s!! I don’t see real grit anymore. Players to me just rely on game structure and that’s all you get. Professional rugby in Scotland has forgotten something and that’s pure Scottish damn right grit, determination and your not in the hell having one over me! I suppose we saw some of that under VC. Will the players stand and revolt I hope so! Get Gordon Reid and Hoggy to fire these ‘boy’s up. COME ON SCOTLAND!

    1. Still worried about our captaincy. Not sure McInally is the man but then there were several former captains on the pitch and still no leadership or control. Really frustrating to watch.

      1. Big Al it was really hard to watch when play stopped. I saw one close up and McInally was standing looking vacant and had no desire to say anything that would help. McInally is a good hooker and good player. He ain’t the Captain we need.

      2. McInally looks burdened by the Captain role….his performances were great before he became captain…then they suddenly went pear shaped.
        I like him…he is a good player… a test level player….and seems a very decent bloke..but he is NOT a captain. I actually think the likes of Jake Kerr should have been selected..much more aggressive even if inexperienced and a bit raw. He’s the type Ireland would select for the front 5. There can’t be ‘nice’ in the front row…and that was the general issue for me. Ireland turned up ready for a fight and were focussed….we looked like we didn’t want to fight…we wanted to play pretty rugby and be all around nice guys. Its rugby for goodness sake!!!…not a tickling competition. Urghh …just pathetic.

  9. Townsend has to take a certain amount of responsibility but these players have had very good performances with Townsend in charge. The bad performances are piling up that is for sure. Cotter got brilliant and dreadful performances as well.

    Look at the players and look at their reputations and what they can do they are good players in World Rugby standards. So we have to look at how their mindset can become more consistent and they can become better prepared individually before games on a consistent basis. We make so many errors in handling, the kicking became laughable and desperate by the last quarter. We kicked when keeping the ball would have been very useful.

    The players have to learn to stay cool out there!

    Ireland showed us how to do that in every way and in every area.

  10. Wow, god that was bad. Up there with the first game against France in terms of utter hopelessness. Ireland’s defence was ferocious but we expected that and didn’t have an answer for it, well our answer was play two phases then kick it. Lowestlights for me were Barclay, Taylor and Seymour who just didn’t look fit and at the races at all. Hogg needs taken down a peg or two, I’m sure he’s frustrated but he can’t do it himself and teams have his tricks well worked out now. Trawling deep for positives I thought most of the bench looked good, easy to do so though with a tiring field but Price looked quite sharp and to his credit the often lambasted Harris did more in 20mins than Taylor and Johnson did the whole game. The annoying thing was Ireland didn’t even look that good, they didn’t have to be good, they just kept the error count low and waited for us to implode.

  11. Someone tell Hogg he can pass the ball to his team. Caught up in his own hype. Opposition know he’s going it alone and line him up.

    1. The All Blacks use Beauden Barrett at 15 as a second distribution option who can keep the opposing side guessing, and as a player who can make carries off of turnover ball.

      We use Stuart Hogg to catch kickoffs, charge up the field and knock it on.

      1. Well, Hogg made loads of metres and at least created chances. There were, however, two times when he should’ve passed but didn’t, but there were several times when he did pass.

    2. Hogg is one of our best individuals but I have said before that we have better balance without him as others take greater responsibility rather than just throw it to hogg and wait for him to do something amazing.

      1. Horse sh**.
        Hogg is the best attacking back in the NH. Would be mental to drop him.

        Reason we got beaten today – forwards, forwards and more forwards….

        Going too early off slow ball meant Hogg, Russell getting face full of green jerseys.

        Nobody can magic tries in those circumstances.

        Team needs to be more patient. This is what Cotter coached. Retain the ball, retain the ball then go when play breaks up (which it will).
        I wonder if Toonie has neglected this in favour of fancy back moves?

        Team was very nervous today and this selection is unsettled compared to Irish.

        They will get better.
        They have to!!!

      2. ‘Hogg is the best attacking back in the NH.’
        Subjective opinion… little to back that up during the last year.
        Attack is half the game. FBs need to be able to defend also…and he’s terrible at it imo. His defense is so bad he is clearly now a tactical target for opposition. His positioning is poor and he has been becoming predictable in his attack.
        Id rather have a player like Halfpenny as our FB… good team player …great defender.. great under high ball… kicks …and does his share of attacking too.
        Hogg will be fortunate to make the lions 2nd team in his current form…all the home nations FBs seem to be playing better than him. There is no way he is better than Liam Williams at the mo…imo
        That said, pert of the problem is that we have a horribly weak pack that create no running lines for him.

      3. I’m not criticising Hogg, I’m criticing the team around him. But him playing is a catalyst for others to abdicate responsibility for getting over the gain line. I would have loved to have seen the Scotland pack smash it up the middle with pick and goes, they can be very effective. Draw in the defence and then go wide. But McGeechan said it at half time all Ireland focused on was Russel and Hogg and ignored everyone else and Scotland kept doing it in the first half. It was just like Cardiff 2018 6N. Wide wide everyone expects it, everyone knows how to defend it and we just keep dishing it up. In truth you don’t even need good line speed to break our wide wide game, average line speed will get the job done just fine. This was utterly comprehensive defeat and Ireland never even got out of third gear. Townsend has to own this and take responsibility.

    3. Cant judge hogg on a game where he had to force it and his pack was giving him the ball + bundee Aki.

  12. I hope Watson’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked. He’s one of our very limited number of world class players and will be missed in the remaining games.

  13. Just such a depressing match plan and performance. Ireland were so much more clinical. First 3 kickoff receipts Ireland managed to take in, control and then kick to the half way line ..under no real pressure. First 3 visits to the Scottish 22 they came away with 3 easy forward dominant tries. GT is just not taking the team forward… every tier 1 nation knows they can bully us upfront and win and so they do… while VC toughened the forwards up … under GT our pack has gone backwards and I just don’t if GT has a real match plan.. the critics may from the TV commentators was all about poor tactics ..GTseems so naive compared to Schmidt, Jones, Gatland, Henry etc. we are in danger of being in no mans land between Tier 1 and 2….it is more than a bad day

  14. Ireland were always going to play the Irish game. No surprise no pulling rabbits out the hat, yet despite this we looked as though their game plan was news to us. It was a pathetic display Ireland knew they could win Scotland hoped they could. Good international manager don’t allow performances like that

  15. Easily the worst Scottish performance in recent memory.
    Made us look like the side from 2004.

    I think that’s Toonie done.


    1. Oh come on get behind them!

      Under Townsend selection has been unsettled partly due to injury and the team has also lacked patience.

      Think of when we should have beaten the ABs in 2017 v the next game v Wales in the 2018 6N.

      This is the difference between us when we play well and badly in a nutshell.

      V ABs we went through phases, pack played with intensity and retained the ball. Backs went wide only after pack had generated fast ball.

      Against Wales…. the opposite. Ball flung out wide from the get go.

      Same story today with end result of Russell and co getting ball + Bundee Aki!
      Townsend needs to calm them down.
      Forward coach needs to assert control and instill intensity and patience.
      Ball retention and fast ball key to unlocking potential of our backline and this can be coached…

      1. Sorry JB but no excuses today. We were rank amateurs today and it wasn’t a surprise. This is a result of coaches and players who should not be there. Toonie needs to go. VC should never have been released.

      2. This is guff. The Wales’ match was tournament rugby; the All Blacks was a friendly. We’ve done F all under GT when backs have been against the wall. We left behind one of our best forwards and one of our best backs. Even the most casual fan winced at the back 3 and could see what was coming.

  16. One more score from Tonga and they’ve done better than us. So Scottish to be criticising Hogg the only player who looked like doing anything – we’re lucky to have him, should have cashed in his Best connection and played for Ireland really. GT OUT.

  17. Well that was the acid test of the last few years of development and it was a resounding fail. Above all, we have failed to develop the route 1 game, which is an essential requirement for any successful team. When we actually started to go through some phases we managed to build some momentum, until we spilled it. No patience, poor defence and concentration. At times there wasn’t much between the teams, but Ireland’s ability to go through the phases and turn the screw helped them to build control and composure. Then they just bossed it. We made mistakes, they capitilised. They made mistakes, we took the ball and then gave it back. Still very obvious long term failings in our game and no obvious progress in addressing it. This group of players should be peaking just now. A very poor reflection on where we’re at.

  18. Generally agree with other people. Biggest annoyance for me is once again physically we were far inferior to Ireland. If we can’t win collisions & secure ball quickly your Russell’s/Hoggs will have to take risks & they can’t play of the front foot. Don’t like to name but since Townsend has taken over there is also a real lack of patience. It’s like in the 22 they think they have to score in first 5 phases & rather inevitably mistakes creep in. Contrast that with Ireland yes they’re dull but they’re patient & willing to wait for the chance to come & even us under VC & O’halloran as attack coach we had a greater degree of patience & willingness to wait.

    1. It almost seems like Townsend doesn’t pick bigger players as a point of principle. The opposition aren’t going to just let you play your game, you need to impose it upon them. Players like Bradbury and Strauss will at least get us over the gameline.

      1. Strauss won’t but I take your point, Bradbury and Matt Fagerson would bully their way over the gainline. Expect Bradbury to now be in for the Samoa game given the injury to the Mish.

      2. Its bizarre how Fagerson and Bradbury weren’t taken. Thompson looks like a player in the small opportunities he had. How Wilson was taken ahead of those guys…I truly just dont get it…Ive watched him soo many times… again another of those players who wouldn’t make it into any other home nation side imo…GT picks him like he was his son.
        Surely , with Watson now out, the back row has to be Bradbury , Ritchie and Thompson… Barclay as cover. Hope GT picks them and sticks with them…I think they could be an excellent combination.

  19. Jeez.
    Ireland did what they do, but where’s the pattern? This was Nice all over again.

    I just get a sense this is the Toonie tombola coming home to roost.

    In the pro14 changing your team all the time might work over 20 games but in internationals where you’ve got 4 or 5 games making 6 or 8 changes every game just doesn’t.

    Having Huw Jones as your go to for 2 seasons then dropping him from the squad has an effect on me as a fan, so I wonder what it does to team spirit and confidence?

    Last 6N Toonie had a ridiculous injury list to contend with and that might have been an excuse for not nailing his top xv but a pattern didn’t even emerge in the warm ups. The core of team has constantly been disrupted and even when he’s picked a starting XV most fans would understand there’s always been a twist. Laidlaw covering 10? I stood up for Townsend on that but if you were in the team you must look at that and think ‘I hope Finn doesn’t get injured’.
    It’s going to affect the way you play.

    I just hope Toonie proves me wrong. That was abject but it now seems traditional that we start series with a shambles and I think a lack of pattern is part of it.

  20. As Rory noted we failed to get a single point when they had a man in the bin. So yes, our subs looked lively against 14 tired men. Does anyone know why Brown came on for Watson ? What was that gamble all about ! Feels like the kind of thing that happens in amateur rugby.

    Much as Cotter has his critics, he made incremental changes, he didn’t try the big bang theory and fix it all at once. I am weary, bewildered and keep watching , sadly , for the wrong reasons. It is compelling viewing, you could not make this up.

  21. GT just not upto it.
    Cavalier rugby and bugger all else isn’t good enough. Good teams will combat this all day long with minimal fuss. Especially so when we execute so poorly in the process.We have to earn the right to go wide instead of trying to force this at every opportunity.
    With Gregor no composure, no patience , no phases, porous defence, neglected pack,no pan B.
    Compounded with this he’s left Jones, Hutchinson and Richie Gray at home.
    He’s not capable enough at this level to succeed. I also suspect he finds it hard to admit fault and change accordingly. Its his way or no way.
    Separately, though admittedly no one had a good day in the office, how easily do Gray and Gilchrist go down in contact ?. Not sure if they got over the gain line once. At times I think they were going down even before contact. Dreadful.

      1. Don’t think he’s a narcissist or that this word should be bandied about lightly.
        Narcissists are a real problem for themselves and everyone they come in contact with.

        Ego? He’s an international rugby player and coach.

        A dose is required.

    1. Absolutely right – they go down far too quickly and easily. You will never break the line if your first instinct is to hit the pitch.

  22. It was a terrible performance but this hasn’t become a very poor squad overnight. There seems to have been muddled thinking about whether we are trying to play a fast game (which would suggest the inclusion of Darcy, Price or Horne, Hutchinson, Cummings). It has also been a long term issue that we don’t earn the right to play fast, open rugby by getting over the gain line. Too late to get Hutchinson in but I assume Bradbury will come in for Watson. He can provide some ball carrying strength. Surely time now to throw caution the wind.

    1. I don’t think a change in the backs personnel would have massively changed the outcome today. We are lacking the ability to hit it up with a short game. Ireland have aggression and the grind, England do it with power. We struggle against either. The depressing thing is that we don’t necessarily have the individuals sitting in the wings (with the exception of Bradbury) to address that.
      Alternatively, the coaching philosophy is not focussing adequately on this area of the game.

  23. “There is an argument that the presumptive “top team” we saw today may now have had their chance.”
    This is the question. We had the very rare chance of putting out pretty much all of our long-term, first choice, regular starters, on the biggest stage and against a team we know very well. Essentially, it was our best chance to show where we are at – the apical point for this group of players.We needed at least a respectable result against Ireland for this campaign to be deemed a success.
    What we see instead is the perennial glaring holes in our game. It’s massively disappointing as someone that backed GT on selecting his most experienced and familiar team.
    The next questions are: is it the players, or the tactics, or both? There are a number of players today who have to be under a great deal of pressure if this is the pinnacle of their development. Is there any value in giving these same players another chance, or do we accept that we have failed at this significant first hurdle and start the development for RWC 2023? Hope that, if given a chance, the up and comers can light up the team somehow for our remaining games.

    1. If the players can’t execute the tactics, they are the wrong tactics (or the wrong players).

      It’s the coach’s job to make this happen, one way or the other.

    2. I’d say 60% of the fault lies with Toonie and 40% with the players. We knew rush defence was on the cards yet the tactic seemed to be to attack really flat at an unsustainable pace which resulted in us in getting smashed, turned over or simply dropping the ball…

      We hardly mounted any pressure and made lots of mistakes…the exact inverse of Ireland…we simply handed it to them with our tactics/execution.

      If Toonie coached NZ he may do alright…but you need to know what you are up against and the limitations of your players.

      Toonie’s tactics seem to be based on fantasies of how things ‘could’ happen rather than what is realistic. As a coach your judgement of risk and reward when putting your gameplan together is paramount.

      Finn’s interview after the Calcutta cup comeback where he basically dismissed Toonie’s gameplan at halftime was the first nail in the coffin and a constant reminder that he isn’t the man for the job.

      1. “Finn’s interview after the Calcutta cup comeback where he basically dismissed Toonie’s gameplan at halftime was the first nail in the coffin and a constant reminder that he isn’t the man for the job.”

        Except that’s not what happened. They stuck with the gameplan but executed it better.

      2. Never bought that spin after the horse had bolted. Finn changed things up Calcutta Cup, overriding GT, and said as much on live TV.

    3. The pack played without intensity and the cr*p ball they generated was then flung to Hogg and Russell with 5 Irishmen attached.
      Danny Wilson needs to earn his wedge, get a hold of the pack and inform them that they have one mission which is to get quick ball for our backs.
      And you don’t need to be the incredible hulk to do that either, you just need a bit of cohesion, accuracy and aggression.

    4. Hi Matto,
      Interesting question!
      Many years ago when we were underperforming in the 5 Nations, we’d call for Jim Telfer. A couple of weeks later, the same players who had been getting smashed backwards were winning the contacts and causing mayhem. So it is possible that better leadership might make the difference.
      As against that, I fear that we cannot select Laidlaw, Barclay, Wilson and J Gray all at once. They are great players but none give any go-forward or make dominant tackles at international level. We need some more muscle – even more so now that Watson is injured.

  24. I’ve defended Toonie in the past but i’m done. I’m sorry for being his apologist for all these months.

    – He’s not the coach we need
    – McInally isn’t the captain we need. Give it back to Greeg.
    – Barclay is finished…looks like he has come out of retirement on a weeks notice.
    – Taylor became a deity in his absence but ain’t what he was. We need Hutch…even Jones would be better. Harris is now our first choice 13.
    -Hogg played one of his worst games in a Scotland Jersey…i’d be tempted to start Kinghorn at 15. Hogg is an amazing player but Kinghorn has done more off late.
    – Graham is an objectively superior player to Seymour. Experience isn’t a reason to pick an inferior player.
    – I really like Johnson but Horne may see himself back in contention @12
    – Berghan had a shocker but I don’t trust Fagerson
    – Give Cummings a shot. Gilchrist is a 6/10 player.

    Team for Samoa
    1. Dell
    2. Brown (vc)
    3. Nel
    4. Cummings
    5. Gray
    6. Bradbury (Watson looks like his WC is over)
    7. Ritchie
    8. Thomson
    9. Laidlaw (c)
    10. Russell
    11. Maitland
    12. Horne (takes pressure off Russell and linked well w/ Harris)
    13. Harris
    14. Graham
    15. Kinghorn (links well with Graham + Hogg out of form)

    16. McInally
    17. Reid
    18. Berghan/Fagerson
    19. Gilchrist
    20. Wilson
    21. Horne
    22. Johnson
    23. Hogg

    So upset by this result…mainly as it confirmed that the other shameful showings weren’t anomalies

    34-7 vs wales
    27-10 vs France
    32-3 vs France

  25. I. Firmly believe that 99% of our issues are coaching. There is mental fragility, a lack of adaptability, poor game plan for the players we have, an inability to get 5e best out of players, an inability to form units, an inability or unwillingness to address weakness and show ruthlessness in selection. This applies to coaches as much as players. Our defence is amateur.

    1. JP07 – totally agree!
      The players are getting the blame for not showing up but I think they are only partly to blame. Playing high risk rugby from first phase right from the kick off against a good side is stupid. The All Blacks don’t do it!
      We need a much tougher defence first of all. Everytime anyone gets into our 22 they come away with 5+ points. Then we need to stop coughing up possession with over-ambitious plays and high risk rugby in the wrong positions. We also need to beg, borrow or steal some Henderson / Stander like ball carriers!

  26. Today was appalling but not unexpected which is the most disappointing thing. GT has stuck stubbornly to a style of play that very very rarely works and a group of players that are not skilful enough to implement it even on their best day! This was evident watching Glasgow in their last season under him and now the chickens are coming home to roost. A number of players today looked too old, unfit, soft, clueless, and, based on the apparent lack of effort, lazy.

    We are a soft team that’s badly selected and poorly coached.

    1. I don’t think they know what to do. They have clearly had this supposed game plan and mantra drilled into them and when it doesn’t work as we all know it wouldn’t against Ireland in the rain they have nothing else to turn to. These players, especially the non Scots based ones have shown they can do that but they need to have at least run through other plans and been coached to do so. All the fuss made over Blades selection and flying Bradbury over as cover yet when Watson injures they bring on the hooker! We are on the brink of slipping back into being the joke we were from 2000-2013 yet this time it is in spite of having genuine class. Whose the next coaching cab of the rank. Mallinder? Cockerill? Sounds like Rennie is off to Oz and he’s been meh anyway. We need a good coach not a coach of gimmicky philosophies. We need a Vern or a Dean Richards type not a Toony or an O Shea.

      1. Sorry Bazz – I do not agree, I think Rennie has his own baggage. ‘Dean Richard style’ !(do you mean Cockerill) neither is right for this gig. I believe we had the right coach and let him go. Cotter did not take the support for granted.

    2. ‘A number of players today looked too old’ That is exactly what many were saying about Ireland in blogs leading up to this game. So the old men of Ireland, on the decline came through. I would agree that we are poorly coached.

      1. I agree wholeheartedly on Cotter but he isn’t coming back so who would you suggest? My Richards esque comment meant someone who would take no nonsense and care nothing for reputation so yeah a Cockerill, Diamond type ball breaker. Just saying no no no doesn’t tell anyone what kind of coach you think we need. Vern was a Richards eaque character.

      2. I am not willing to comment on who is out there (leave that to the experts and if I did say – it would be highly controversial, this is not the time to be distracted from the pain that Townsend has created) but I am not disagreeing on the style (Cotter had the temperament, maturity and guile) , I am saying , not Rennie (he is not Cotter like) and I think Richards or Cockerill (good as they are,)is repeating the same as we did with Townsend (too much too soon).

      3. It’s an online blog, get over yourself man. You’d rather not say? Unless you are privy to SRU conversations I doubt your going to make any headlines by suggesting someone you think would fit.

  27. Much easier after this to see why Ireland are ranked number one and we aren’t! They did the basics much better than us and thrived off our mistakes! Their rucking and protection of their ball was excellent, their line out was better, defence was better, kicking was better, ball retention better, mentality better and they made their own luck! So many things we need to improve on!

  28. The big concern for me is that in 2/3 of our last games against tier 1 sides we’ve been nilled in the try scoring and even in the 6 nation it was only italy and a 2nd half glut against England that put a gloss on our strike rate.

    Quite simply with a back division like the one we have that should never ever happen + if you know you can score tries then you always have confidence that you can come back even if you concede.

    There have been a few performances like this in Townsend’s tenure – Wales 2018, 2nd half v England 2019, v France in Nice during the warm ups and they all have 2 things in common.

    1 is a lack of intensity from the pack and the other is a lack of patience and failure to go through the phases.

    Today we started going wide immediately and the Irish just closed Hogg and Russell down before they could do anything.

    A lack of intensity and patience reeks of low confidence.

    Townsend has chopped and changed the team by, for example, dropping his go-to attacking midfield threat completely from the squad for a more defensive selection on the eve of the tournament. Decisions like that affect fans’ confidence so I can only assume it affects the team.

    It also brings into question what they practice on the training field. Do they, for example, practice phase play and ball retention and building momentum before flinging the ball out wide?

    Qualification is now edgy but I hope the team up it and come back.

  29. Probably a bit beside the point and not to excuse that woeful performance but warm weather training anecdotally seems to be awful for teams.
    Scotland did a warm weather training in Portugal and then produced Nice.
    Wales went to Switzerland and then got pumped of England
    Ireland went to Portugal and then got smashed by England.
    England went to Treviso then lost to Wales.
    Now Scotland have been training in the Hottest part of Japan and produce this??
    Just an observation.

    1. Hey Sam,

      I understand with respect to conditioning there’s two ‘good’ approaches here:

      1-proper acclimatisation (takes 2 weeks to a month or even more for bodies to adjust). During this time the body is in overload and decline.

      2- train in normal conditions, go play, get back to normal (not good for a WC)

      Those 2 week camps are bunk from a physical conditioning point of view UNLESS the conditions are sustained.

      Returning to Scotland, Wales etc begins the retro-conditioning process.

      Conditioning might be right by the Japan game…in any case that wasn’t the main problem today.

  30. I watched the game live. Scottish supporters were outnumbered by Irish (either real or band-wagoners) by about 10 to 1. It felt like we were playing Ireland in Dublin. Despite that, it was a dire performance. Key issues: 1. as usual, we were terrible under the high ball, at both ends of the pitch. 2. Finn’s tactics just didn’t work; little chip kicks or grubbers nearly always ended up straight into Irish hands. 3. the front row failed to perform once Nel and Dell went off.

    1. I do not agree

      point 1)It feel like we are blaming the fans, surely not ,we need to applaud them for being there.

      2) The kicking is what Finn said wasn’t working at Twickenham before he was gagged and we denied it , deluded into believing the second half was proper execution of the game plan.

      3) I do not think the front row did fail, I think Reid was very solid (he also showed great hands in the loose) , at 6 ft 4, Bergham is too tall for a prop, it is easier to buckle a tall man.

      1. 1. I didn’t blame the fans – I just stated a fact that there weren’t nearly as many Scottish fans as Irish. This probably doesn’t come across on TV.
        2. I agree with the kicking tactic – it just didn’t work today, either for Finn or Greig.

      2. DJB:Fair play, no offence intended , it is great to hear how it feels out there and well done for making the effort, don’t let is spoil a great experience. I just think it was an away game for both sets of fans. Generally I am not a fan of the kicking game as you need the ball in hand to score however it has its place and we came second in that contest as well.

  31. Townsend said 2 weeks ago we’re the fittest team in the finals as they have the data on all the other teams too. At one point early on Mcinally and Barclay were on their knees after one passage of play, one vomiting and the other looking like he’s just gone 10 rounds with peak Mike Tyson. For the avoidance of doubt, Townsend is a fantasist even before the delusion of his comments is laid bare on the paddock.

    not knocking the players but the following you could see coming a mile off. Barclay is washed-up, he didn’t look on his game for Edinburgh after his long lay off. Duncan Taylor was outrun by a prop at one point. Who’d have thought he wouldn’t be fit after 20 years out injured, he’s unlikely to recover his best. Seymour surely cannot now hold off Graham/Blair.

    To be fair Thomson looked decent and put in a couple of big hits too, we need that. We also need the big scary boy who can do some of the bullying and make some dents in defences in now, Bradbury. Back-row of Ritchie, Bradbury, Thomson. Cummings in for either powderpuff 2nd row that played today.

    Hogg we know about, he has a big ego and about 5 brain cells, which hold him back. Still well worth his place in the team though.

    1. ‘Fantasist’ that is a great word, You sound like a clone of me , but you are not.

      ‘Scary’ yep Good word for Bradbury. Does he have a nickname yet ?

      Hogg, I agree he has to be there but 14 plus 1 is weak.

    2. I dont understand why they looked so unfit – they’ve been in a training and conditioning camp for what feels like months – they should all be as fit as they have ever been!

  32. So the scene is set. We scrape into the quarters. On the 89th minute we
    Are leading the All blacks after the best Scottish performance ever. We’re in their 22 last play of the game and they intercept
    Run 80 m and win

    1. Except that we wake up that morning to be gutted that it was all just a dream…and we are in fact still recovering from jet lag from the flight back from Japan.

      NZ s 2nd team cruising to a cricket score v Japan…their 1st team siting down for dinner and a few drinks whilst they ponder playing a team that actually look like a professional talented outfit.

      Its ok though we’ll play better next time!!….sigh!…will we??

    2. If we do that it will be remembered as a great World Cup for us… Don’t forget that VC’s team scraped past Samoa to make the quarters last time around.

  33. After such a pathetic performance major questions for SRU (appointment of coaching team), coaches and players. Some of latter have played their last game for the national side or we supporters are being taken for mugs. Just hope the press get really stuck into the team and coaches who have been getting a free ride despite serial underperforming. Time to start the rebuild for 2023 with fresh blood from the squad as the experienced selections aren’t up to the job. Worst were the so called leaders.

      1. He’s the least of our problems. Several times I saw him screaming and waving at the forwards to get round the corner and then watched them amble into position and stop running rather than working hard to get round then running onto a pass. Poor stuff symptomatic of a weak psychology

  34. Why is our back division getting nilled so often against tier 1 opponents?

    A back division with Hogg/ Russell/ Maitland etc. Should NEVER be nilled.

    Under Cotter 2 or 3 tries a reliable return and this was a source of confidence. 2 or 3 tries today would have made us competitive.

    I am concerned that not enough attention is being paid to the platform to score.

    Hogg and Russell are great but if they’re getting the ball + 4 Irish defenders after a single phase there’s not much they can do.

    That’s what happened today…. played straight into Irish hands.

    Also happened in Nice. Also happened v Wales in 2018. In fact only Italy and a 2nd half v England glossed a poor scoring rate in the 6N.

    Why didn’t we go through phases today?
    This is what Cotter coached the team to do. He had the same raw material as Townsend but he coached them to retain the ball and wait until it was on before unleashing the backs.

    Yes, we all know selections have been inconsistent and Townsend Tombola has gone out n out attack to defence and back again. That doesn’t help, although some of that is injury related, but are the forwards being well coached?

    Irish and AB forwards are not massive, but they do basics – specifically retain the ball and play with intensity.

    That can be coached.
    Are our forwards being coached to do this stuff and does Toonie even care?

    1. Yeah something seems to have been lost in the transition from ‘traditional quick rucking game’ to fastest rugby in the World’…. Mainly the rucking! The breakdown work has been really poor at times of late, lacking aggression and intensity, getting the speed and numbers right, clearing out, protecting the ball. How many times did the carrier get isolated today on the ground or otherwise? It’s rule 1 against Ireland – don’t let your carrier get isolated! That’s just grist to the mill for them and we should be 100% prepared for that.

      1. Right.
        I think it’s our biggest problem and has been for years.
        Cotter reversed it.
        We can get away with a smallish pack as long as it’s well drilled.
        Cotter usually found a way of getting whatever ball carrying heft we had into the side too.
        Strauss or Denton + R Gray usually involved.
        It’s probably a bit late for that now, but we can make more of the players we’ve got.

        I suspect Townsend is all about the backs,.in which case Wilson, who has a tremendous record with Wales U20, needs to step up and drill the pack in its sole mission. Reliable ball retention and quick ball, preferably slow ball for them.

      2. Our pack wasn’t and isn’t small. Ireland’s pack were 1Kg/man bigger. That’s nothing. It’s attitude and coaching, right?

  35. Sorry Bazz – I do not agree, I think Rennie has his own baggage. ‘Dean Richard style’ !(do you mean Cockerill) neither is right for this gig. I believe we had the right coach and let him go. Cotter did not take the support for granted.

  36. I’m not sure Townsend can be forgiven for this, the result is not the issue but the performance is.

    I don’t know what our identity is as a Scotland team anymore, under Cotter is was organised chaos, this team throughout Gregors tenure has been inconsistent.

    I don’t think it is acceptable to just have a lot of highs and lows, i was expecting a progression in attack while retaining that defence we had developed under Cotter.

    He has badly messed up the selections also, i do not think you should be making wholesale changes in the year building up to the WC, just tinker 1 or 2… it left us in a position of having great depth but no familiarity to make use of it.

    Townsends biggest flaw however, is that he has failed to show he can learn from his mistakes, we all know you have to earn the right to go wide against the best, yet we consistently pick forward packs with no real ball carriers who can give our backs the platform they deserve.

    He is to loyal to the older players, form has to be rewarded.

    We are currently squandering the best generation of players we have had in 20 years and probably for the next 20.

      1. They would need to play consistently better, not a one off in the quarterfinal if we are lucky enough to get there, i want to see a real edge defensively and spark in attack in the 2020 six nations.

      2. Agreed Neil.
        Why would he be forgiven for getting the team ‘playing better’?
        Unless that means beating NZ in the QF…thats a nope from me.
        Otherwise the chance to do something special wasted …yet again!!

  37. I am getting this from Wikipedia which I consider it will be good , not perfect.

    GT has now coached 28 Games . Won 15, drew 1, lost 12 (of which 2 were Fiji and the USA). We have never beaten Wales or Ireland in 6 attempts.

    Cotter coached 36 games, won 19 , lost 17.In 7 games against Ireland and Wales we won 2. Losses to anyone other that 6N plus ANZSA = None.

    Toonie’s record reads better than it feels but there is a crack that is showing a worsening trend.

      1. I prefer to think that previous coaches inherited nothing and left us nothing. You cannot say the same of Townsend, he inherited something, albeit some think he inherited what he created at the Warriors.

      2. Townsend’s problem might be that he’s more interested in fancy pants back moves than the forwards.

        Make no mistake we lost today because the forwards shovelled terrible ball to our backs while Connor Murray and co sipped champagne in a jacuzzi.

        So Danny Wilson the former coach of multiple title winning welsh u20 sides needs to step up and instruct the forwards in their primary purpose which is quick ball for us, slow ball for them.

        The good news is that this can, to a large extent, be coached.

      3. Their record reads very similar which seems about right. For each impressive win each one has an embarassing loss.

        For example Cotter beat Ireland and Wales in 2017 but the same year sustained a 60 point loss to England, lost to Italy at home in 2015 and got thrashed by 50 points against South Africa in 2014 (admittedly we had about 14 players available in this game).

        Everyone saying “yeah but Townsend inherited a better team” again doesn’t account for the fact that the team that Cotter had was a majority of title winning Glasgow players at peak confidence all still playing together week in week out.

        I’m not saying Townsend is the man for the job but people need to lose the overly rosy perception of our time under Cotter too.

      4. Tryhard : You are well named but no one is buying it. Cotter lost to sides worth losing to. Not USA or Fiji. He did beat Ireland and Wales. There is no similarity. Cotter had gone through the pain and was building, you may argue give Townsend more time he is just the same , but no one was this unhappy with Cotter.

      5. ” You are well named but no one is buying it” heh

        The games against USA and Fiji featured experimental sides. The object of the game against Fiji was to test the depth which backfired and some players careers never recovered. The USA game gave new caps and first starts to new players, the same players then beat Argentina away the next week.

        “Nobody was this unhappy with Cotter”
        Again, this very site published a player ratings article after Cotters 2nd last game giving the entire team 0/10.
        Even the game he won against Wales was against a Wales team that eventually finished 5th and had an interim head coach.

        I’m not saying one is better than the other, I’m just saying the same flaws (inconsistency and struggling away from home) were there when Cotter was there.

        We don’t need Cotter (who incidentally is doing terribly with a massively wealthy Montpellier), we need someone with actual international experience.

      6. You need to try a wee bit harder.

        If Townsend had quit experimenting then your comment would have some gravitas. but has continued to play experimental teams , even in the warm ups for this world cup. This is their first run as a unit.

        He even experimented today by bringing Brown on when he had a backrow on the bench to replace Watson. Blade Thomson must be wondering what he signed up for.

        Yes Cotter inherited a poor side and got some bad results , I can get that but Townsend inherited a decent side which under Cotter did beat wales, did beat Ireland, and did not lose to USA or Fiji.

      7. Brown has played in the back row for both Glasgow and Scotland. He was brought on presumably for his pilfering. Although Barclay’s a pilferer, too, so it didn’t strike me as a wise move.

  38. The key to unlocking our backline is ball retention and only going off quick ball.

    Today we went off slow ball, too early so Finn and co got the ball + Bundee Aki.

    This has been common feature of all our bad performances and it can be coached.

    Townsend needs to calm the players down, and Danny Wilson forwards coach needs to assert himself.
    Retain the ball, pick n drive if you have to (ireland are happy with carries of <1m as long as they get the ball back!) and only go wide off fast ball or if you spot someone out of alignment.

    Basic stuff.

    We have great backs whatever anybody says. Today they didn't get the platform and that should be the focus.

    You don't need 8 hulks to do it. ABs do not have hulls, nor do Ireland. They are accurate and intense at the breakdown.

    Scotland can get better and they will!
    It's the first game. Expectations now zero. Just how we like it!

    Come on Scotland!

    1. So why was Laidlaw dollying his short slow passes out to Russell when we had failed to get the gain line. We hardly ever tried pick and go and the one out passes were usually taken standing still so inevitably taken behind the gainline. Want to see Price and Horne told they are playing in tandem the rest of the World Cup. Back row Bradbury, Thompson and Richie – much better balance. Cummings has to play – he runs hard at gaps like Henderson today. Johnson or Taylor at 12 but not both. Harris best 13 out there (sadly).

  39. I’d like to see Cummings in as first choice for either of Gilchrist or Gray and the other can consider themselves lucky Skinner is injured. How can two men of that size play with such a lack of impetus and impact. When we need a hard hitting giant we have hard working lumps with not a snarl or growl between them. Ryan and Henderson were streets ahead.

    If Watson is crocked then a backrow of Thomson, Ritchie and Bradbury is a must. It actually has the components that an international backrow needs. Mobility, power, size, athleticism and hard hitting aggression.

    1. Gilchrist is a powder puff 2nd row and J. Gray doesn’t seem to have hit the heights of a couple of seasons ago.

      1. Gray hasn’t hit the heights of a couple of months ago. Where’s the Gray who made 43 tackles against Leinster one week and almost single-handedly demolished Ulster the next?

        I like that back row a lot. I’d have Wilson on the bench, too, as when he’s come off the bench in the past he’s been good.

  40. Feel hugely let down today. 24 months of anticipation of this game and we had the wrong game plan and the team looked very nervy, and seemed to be unable to play what’s in front of them. Takeaways from today:
    – we can’t string two games together as ‘the fastest team in the world’ … we need to drop this – it’s a noose around Toonie’s neck
    – how did we manage to chose the wrong tactics today
    – we have no patience … feeling very like 10 years ago
    – certain players very unfit: Barclay in particular, Taylor even McInally
    – leadership on the field seems poor/non-existent
    – basing our entire game plan around #10 is very high risk
    Need a quick response now

  41. the really irritating thing about all of this is that it proves Gatland right when it comes to the Lions.

    1. It’s true. That game today was the perfect advert for no Scottish Lions 2021. That is just showing Gatland that when the heat is on and it’s time to step up to the big stage, Scotland wither.

  42. In all honesty, with all the preparation, all the talking, all the testing, all the training… This is the result? That’s a disappointment of immense proportions. At least some energy and belief couldve been showed today. But even that was too much asked. I don’t see this repaired in a couple of weeks for an eventual qf. If we even get that far. Stagnation since VC left…

  43. The only way the coaches redeem themselves now is by beating the all blacks to make a semi assuming we get to a QF. Quite some bar you’ve set yourself there Toony. We forgave other results as it was building to today. Well what a joke that was

  44. Ultimately GT lost his nerve and picked a muddled side that is neither stoic grit or fastest brand of attack rugby. If he wants his style to prevail he needs to go with aggressive forwards and his fastest backs. Price, Graham, Jones etc.. Today’s team had neither leadership or zip, it was the worst of all worlds. Bench Barklay, Seymour, Taylor, Laidlaw, MacInally.

  45. We might as well deal with this now and get the positive viewpoints in the one sock.

    Today was a disaster, it should have been a close game , but Toonie played his best side and we never looked like getting near the whitewash.

    Does anyone have any confidence in our current setup ? Let’s hear it !

    1. Hmmm.
      A couple of simple things would make a difference.
      We have a forwards coach who took Wales U20 way beyond their pay grade.
      Time for him to step up and impress upon the forwards that their job is to secure quick ball for us and slow ball for them.

      This is the kind of thing you can coach.

      I think Toonie might spend his days dreaming of sweeping backline moves that go from tryline to tryline, which is great.

      Get the forwards to win the ball first.

      That backline should never ever be nilled. It’s a 2 try/ game back division against anyone.

      It’s been nilled/ scraped the odd intercept a few times and that’s because the forwards are serving up the opposition forwards.

    2. Sorry Ben F that was not our best side, it was a cobbled together potential first team.

      R.Gray & Skinner/cummings would be my first 3 picks at locks atm.

      Bradbury/Ritchie offer a better balance in the backrow with Ritchie being in better form than Barclay/Wilson.

      Matt Fagerson is ahead of Blade for me purely as an 8 although i get he covers lock also.

      We dont know who our best 9 is considering we have been going back and forth for the past 2 years.

      Taylor should be our best 13 but he is not regained his fitness yet unfortunately, Hutchison should have went in place of someone based on the form he showed, Jones did not earn his spot unfortunately.

      Seymour is not a better back 3 option than Graham or Kinghorn… that is just a fact as this point, Seymour has been out of it since his raping by Gatland, he is solid at best, hopefully the dunderheads who were barking on about his 4 WC tries in a row will give it a rest now.

  46. So something really pivotal happened today for me in the first ten minutes. Finn got the ball from a ruck and he played the most mundane / average inside ball to someone (can’t remember who (bit drunk just now)). It looked like a pass a Scottish 10 pass from the dark old days. No cohesion or impetuous. I knew at that point it was going to be a long 70 mins and boy that was a long 70 mins. Finn Russell is the best thing since sliced bread so what’s going on in the background for the team to come out like they have been on a morphine drip?

    1. I thought it was going going to go pear shaped as soon as Ireland walked out the tunnel.
      Fired up …fitter looking…focussed.
      We looked nervous , physically in lesser shape and under pressure.

  47. In every other match I watched this weekend both teams turned up to play. The likes of Tonga and Russia and Nambia may have lost heavily, but at least they tried. Sadly, the same can’t be said of most of the Scotland players today. Something is very wrong in the Scotland camp.

  48. A pure Scots born squad with Maitland and Watson as only players head or shoulders above other options so worth picking:

    Fagerson, Rae, Welsh
    McInally, Brown, Turner
    Reid, Bhatti
    Gray, Gray, Cummings, Gilchrist
    Crosbie, Ritchie, Watson, Bradbury, Fagerson

    Laidlaw, Horne, Shiel
    Russell, Hastings
    Horne, McDowell, Scott, Bennett
    Graham, Kinghorn, Maitland, Nairn, Hogg

    Passion. Am I wrong?

  49. Right, three more group games. Samoa, Russia then Japan. The Russia game should be a given regardless of the team selected but Scotland need our most aggressive physical pack in the games against Samoa and Japan. If Bradbury is eligible to replace an injured Watson, it’s Dell, Mcinally, Fagerson, Cummings, Gray, Bradbury, Thomson, Ritchie for me. I’d also drop Taylor and Seymour for Harris and Graham with Kinghorn filling a bench place. Seriously tempted to go full beans and drop Laidlaw (who was in all fairness poorly served today by the pack) and start Price with Horne on the bench. Those who played particularly poorly today get a run out v Russia to restore some self pride but that’s it. No sentimental picks. This is a World Cup and they had their chance.

  50. GT …..“We want to play the fastest rugby in the world but we’re not going to change for anybody.”
    post match after Ireland tore us a new one in our biggest game since 4 yrs ago.
    Well… that just awesome GT!!

    You might want to play the fastest rugby in the world…..however….err…we dont…and we cant defend…..and …and….and….
    Wonder if the players are ‘buying in’ now??

  51. GT said during the post match presser that McInally was too out of breath to join and he apologised on his behalf. Yet he managed an on pitch interview minutes after the final whistle?! Something ain’t right here.

    1. Yep …this aint gonna be pretty.
      Will be sacked or resign at end of RWC.
      He’s lost the players I reckon. He doesn’t come across as a man to man manager…he’s a top of the pyramid type of coach…thinks he knows better than all.

      1. Yeah it sounds like the players haven’t bought into his tactics or what he is trying to do. Heated debate at half time at Twickenham was masked by the comeback.

        Giving the captaincy to the not so vocal McInally with Barclay and Laidlaw on the field also makes me wonder that all is not well.

        The squad is not exactly overfurnished with battle hardened warriors and we also have mild mannered GT at the helm. We need a head coach with an edge who can send the players out buzzing.

      2. “We need a head coach with an edge who can send the players out buzzing.”

        Yeah, Schmidt and his cats just scream “edge”!

    2. I’ve just watched that press conference. Some difficult questions asked by Irish journalists. The Rambo thing is incredibly strange.

      1. Yup. Ireland have Andy Farrell, Wales have Gatland and Edwards. All no nonsense coaches who can motivate players. Cockers is the same. We have no such coaches in the national set up.

  52. Article in Scotsman on interview with GT after game with him saying that the coaches didn’t understand what went wrong with the players attitude, motivation, lethargy etc. They are not sure if it was the warm up or something else …… ??????? Great to know they are on the ball …… not!

    1. Hi Rob,
      I thought that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the players attitude for the first six minutes. They were so fired up I thought Jim Telfer must be coaching. But then stupidly ambitions 3Q play (long miss pass from Taylor straight into touch), a barnstorming run from Henderson and a few minutes later 12 points down and we were a different team. Whether it would have made a difference I don’t know but had Laidlaw been captain from No. 9 I think he would have had a better chance to change things than McInally, head down in the scrum / rucks

  53. Today was a shocker, but…

    …IF we win our remaining pool games as we still should and then somehow take out the All Blacks, this World Cup would represent the greatest achievement in Scottish rugby history.

    Anyone else still daring to hope?

    1. Oh yes.
      We’ll do it. We are going to win this thing.
      Any team which can concede 31 points without reply to England at Twickenham in one half then score 38 without reply the next cannot be written off.

      1. Yes, one poor game is entirely permitted at this stage and if we were going to have it against anyone and any game – it had to be against Ireland now. We lost – no big shocker. We can still do this and take it against the odds and all expectation.

    2. No. The thing is we were T2 quality for most of the last 20 years (99 onwards). Yet we could still muster a ballsy defensive performance now and then to beat anyone except the kiwis. Now we have the talent but we don’t have any guts. We are the softest side in T1. We don’t put our bodies on the line, we don’t have the ability to even attempt that kind of heroic defensive or forwards based performance anymore. I used to joke in the dark days that we didn’t have backs we had thin forwards now it’s the opposite. We haven’t beaten a T1 nation in a RWC since Italy in 2007.

      1. You have rose tinted glasses.

        Scotland had talent in that era – think of Simon Taylor, Mike Blair, Nines, Lamonts, J White, Paterson, Strokosch, Rennie even Toonie himself + others, including players like Rob Dewey or Tom Philip who tore up leagues then didn’t quite make it (injury, form).

        The only teams we ever regularly beat were Italy (at home, 2007 excepted) and Wales (before 2004 when they got organised).

        We didn’t beat Argentina in a decade including them knocking us out of rwc 2007 when we were the better side and France tore us a new backside in 1st fixture of rwc 2003.
        SH giants usually bowked us including a 50 pointer v the ABs in 2010 which we followed up on by defeating the Springboks the next week. How about that for flakiness???

        The whole team suffered a loss of confidence perhaps partly from poor selections but also from general negative attitude pervading Scottish rugby since scorched earth infighting which nearly killed the game off in this country after professionalism.

        I still think we have a hangover from those days and have never really recovered tbh.

        One thing is for sure, which is that the team of that era had some talent but also had the kind of confidence issues current team has…

      2. Are you high? Rob Dewey? Tom Phillip didn’t last long enough to judge him. This is an era that made centurions out of Lamont and Paterson! We have always been lucky for 9s. Morrison, Laney, Di Rolo, Southwell, Godman, Henderson, de Luca, Danielli and that’s off the top of my head of regular starters. All guff. We were getting pumped then but we are now!

      3. JP07 – 2000-2014ish we probably were T2 quality. But however ballsy we sometimes were out actual record in 6N and RWC was utter garbage.

        We are in a far better place now because of Cotter and Townshend at Glasgow. I think townshend made progress initially but no doubt we have a problem about rising to the big day. Townshend might not survive if we don’t reach the QF. But these problems didn’t start with him – under Cotter we lost to Italy in Murrayfield, collapsed to England in Twickenham and were utterly destroyed by Ireland at Murrayfield too. We scraped by Samoa in the World Cup.

        I hope the SRU is moving heaven and earth to find a Shaun Edwards type.

  54. Amazing to see Harris is now a fan favourite after the hard time he’s had on this forum?

    I wonder how this see-saw of incredible expectations followed by scorched earth recrimination affects the team?

    Other fans think we’re chippy, negative and harsh and don’t deserve a good team.

    Maybe they’ve got a point?

    We’re not the only team to have been in the doldrums. Ireland have actually been terrible for most of their existence as a rugby playing nation and we used to see fixtures against them as a gimme.

    We’ve got a bit of talent. It’s widely recognised. The pack needs to be better than the sum of its parts and it’s disappointing that Toonie doesn’t seem to know the core of his team, but they’ll get over it and improve.

    1. I’ve defended Harris as I watch a lot of Falcons and he and his vindication is the only bright spot. I also advocated Taylor if fit but he doesn’t look like he is close to his previous fitness, he looks sluggish. It’s easy to forget that he is 30 and maybe it’s been 1 injury too far or maybe he just needs another few weeks. The point is he was always going to be on the plane and in the team if he could walk. The coaches see a lot more than us but it’s clear now that Barclay isn’t fit, Taylor isn’t fit enough. George Horne probably won’t get a sniff and Ryan Wilson will be in the 23 irrelevant of his or anyone else’s form. Toony doesn’t seem to be able to recognise when something isn’t working or has too much of an ego to change what he has tried and hasn’t worked. Forwards coaching isn’t doing its job, defensive coaching isn’t doing its job. Backs coaching is questionable. How many tried do we have against T1 this season? I also worry about Hoggs headspace, he seems to be either raging or thinks he is better than everyone else. Perhaps he has been a big fish in a small pond for too long?

      1. The lack of tries is linked to performance of the pack.

        The Harlem globetrotters would not score from the ball our backs got today.

        It also affects the defense.

        The whole performance just reeked of nervousness and lack of confidence.

        Players do things like fly out of the line or force play when they lack confidence and are trying to spark something.

      2. I would love to find a bright spot . I think it is a bit strong to say Harris was vindicated and for what ? He came on when the game was won. Ireland , were simply looking to get the game over without sustaining any injuries for the next stages.

    2. “Other fans think we’re chippy, negative and harsh and don’t deserve a good team.”

      You’re kidding right??

      Have read their forums when they lose a match…. usually a meltdown. Thats just blinkered thinking if they say that….and regardless…who really gives a monkeys what they think…focus on their own team.

  55. 1. We were pummelled by a team that is, deservedly or not, number 1 in the world.
    2. On my reckoning, only one definitely and four or five at the most would get picked in an Irish-Scottish team: McInally? Watson? Russell? Graham? Hogg.
    3. Conditions in the second half were miserable enough to put paid to any reaction we might have hoped (or prayed) for.
    4. We remember what we want to remember. Our performances against South Africa and Samoa in 2015 were dismal, but what sticks in the memory is the injustice against Australia. Townsend and his teams will be judged by the matches against Japan, let’s hope against New Zealand. We’ve jumped back from pitiful results before.

      1. I like Watson…a very good player.
        However, he struggles against the teams with more powerful back rows.
        He was getting hammered by the Irish back row at the breakdown.
        With no help at all….from that completely useless selection that is Ryan Wilson….and a clearly finished Barclay.

      1. Watson wasn’t better than VDF yesterday….and yesterday mattered. He was getting nothing out the breakdown. Like I said , good player though he is …he got no help from a poor 8 and a finished 33yr old flanker.

  56. It’s not ‘all in the mind’, but even when the Springboks – no shrinking violets – were chucking every kitchen sink in South Africa at the All Blacks the other morning the ABs, harried and hassled though they were, didn’t panic. They kept the ‘Boks out, and slowly reset the terms of the match. No swagger, no bravado, nothing flash, just a deep confidence in what they’re doing and in their team – mates.
    Where, when, and how, do they acquire it?

    1. I feel an important factor in the consistency of the ABs is that they call a spade a spade.
      The slightest hint that established players are slacking off or aren’t playing at the required level they are replaced.
      Our established players on the other hand seem to be continually selected even when making critical mistakes during games, past their best, or totally out of form.
      They know that if fit they get their spot. It creates an anti competitive dynamic.
      NZ have to turn up…otherwise they are unceremoniously chopped…and its next man up.
      They simply set the bar higher.

      1. May be onto something but I think Townsend facilitates this far more than say Vern. Also we have less competition so Finn knows he has none but you’d hope club competition keeps him sharp. Hogg hasn’t had any competition other than playing for lions. That’s about to change at Chiefs.

      2. …and for eg…NZ had Ben Smith internationally renowned great player playing pretty well. When not playing FB usually used on the wing. Benched for 2 young exciting wingers with little experience against their toughest rival in a critical match.
        GT selects an aging ,out of form, last dance at the disco winger in Seymour vs an inform superb talented young winger Graham 8caps/5starts/5tries. In an equally important match for Scotland.
        Says it all….

      3. Think so….should be dropped now.
        All his talk in the media little action on the field. Of his meters ran yesterday how many were meters gained? vs simply running the ball back from inside his own half? 1 defender beaten. Awesome.
        Give Kinghorn a chance…good for both of them.

      4. Hogg is in a horrible place. He needs out of this tournament and into his new club. Injuries in a world cup is not the best way to start your new life in England.We need 15 commuted men on the pitch.

  57. when you choose the safety first selection based on defence and they defend badly and cough up the ball you get days like today where we played badly and never looked like scoring a try.

    Graham had to start ahead of Seymour.
    Maitland who has been good at finishing dot downs looks like he’s running in treacle. I’d have Kinghorn ahead of him.

    That said you have no forwards who can carry the ball once Mish goes off.

    I think GT is a poor selector and the ones he has picked make him look like a poor coach too.

    Although who would take the job I have no idea.

    So that’s a shame with a whole World Cup to get through.

    Posters remember this game when the next Lions squad gets picked.

    1. And let’s remember Ireland’s last two games against England when it comes to the next Lions squad, too.

  58. What an abject performance, from the whole team. Something is seriously wrong within the set-up. These performances are now the norm. Most disappointed by the lack of aggression and passion. Locks were abysmal considering the physical attributes of JG and GC. Barclay and Taylor not fit. Wilson not an eight. Seymour has regressed. Both Kinghorn and Graham offer more. McInally was looking shell shocked and couldn’t muster a word. What’s going on but more concerning, why? I don’t have the words to express how let-down we’ve been by GT. He’s had long enough but hasn’t got the bottle to pick the players he needs to deliver “his” brand of rugby. Gutted for Hamish but I hope we can see Bradbury-Ritchie-Thomson. Proper physicality. Gray and Gilchrist were on the way down before contact. They should be smashing holes through any defence. Cummings to start Samoa and Japan with Toolis.

    Should we crowdfund to send out JJ, Fin, Captain Sole, Peter Wright et al to give them a rocket and show what passion and controlled really is…..

    1. Well thing is … I would be ok with having lost that match had we even been in it at all….competed the best we could..but simply lost to the better team.
      We lost to a good team… I dont think a great one…but a good efficient, competitive, hard to beat side…who turned up desperate to make the most of their challenge for RWC.
      We turned up like a limp lunchtime sandwich that then got soaked in the rain after we waited inline for an hour for it. Dont think I ever witnessed a JJeffrey or a Fin Calder play a match with that attitude.

  59. Its a massively psychological issue. Its really difficult seeing the players lose their heads so quickly when the game plan set by the coaches does not go to plan. There becomes a despondency. A level of lostness amongst the players where some will attempt to play whilst others seem shell shocked almost. It’s concerning. But this has been something part of the thread of Scotland teams for sometime. But then we have the ability to show up after defeat dig in and get results build self belief and then…… it all starts all over. The hope that Gregor’s early games brought was comforting. You could sense it – players believed. I’m not saying that they don’t now but something deeper is a miss. I don’t get much of a confidence that is projected by Taylor (defence coach) and Danny Wilson. Who the question is do you guys think will seriously step up and tell it how it is to help re-group the squad – I’d love to see Gordon Reid’s reaction. How much do the players and coaching staff really listen to how the supporters feel?!!

    1. I agree but this is a coaching issue. It’s the very definition of the word. We have a losers mentality yet the team is made of players from successful clubs. Glasgow, Saracens, clermont, Racing not so much Edinburgh. It all sits with the forwards for me as far as players go.

    2. Or like Scotte said send the ‘Rockets’ out! I’d pay good money to see that. This is almost what is missing. Players for sometime I very much would argue have no idea or have forgetting those who played before them who never took a step back and wore the thistle with pride that made you choke with honour just watching them.

  60. Simply not enough grunt and go forward ( dominant collisions if you use the modern jargon ) throughout the pack. No nastiness. And when POM goes off injured, he’s replaced by a hungry beast. We bring on our reserve hooker for Watson.
    Outfought, bullied and so obviously outcoached. Did Ireland’s game plan surprise anyone ? Did we have a plan to stop it ?
    TBF I didn’t expect to win – Ireland aren’t the No. 1 team in the rankings for nothing – but to go down without even a fight is so embarrassing.

    The only Scottish players who came out of this with any credit were a couple of those who didn’t start or didn’t have their boots on.

  61. Around 4 mins in there was a line out in our half and from the Ireland ruck Murray kicked through, first man back, Jonny Gray , no left winger , no full back cover, next man in was Taylor (and he was not fit but he did have positional sense). Just wondering why we think the forwards were the problem. Our ‘Powder puff’ Second row was first man to cover the gap.

    1. Because our ‘powder puff’ 2nd row row was played off the park…for the umpteenth time. Gray is a bench 2nd row at best for any other home nation…and Gilchrist wouldn’t even make their squads. Toolis is a joke…shoud have stayed in beach volleyball or whatever non contact sport he enjoys.
      Skinner, Cummings, Carmichael and Hunter Hill for eg..all will prove better suited to this level of rugby ..imo

  62. Equally as disappointed as anyone but some bizarre comments about Hogg. That was one of his best performances for Scotland in very difficult circumstances. His tactical kicking was the only thing giving us territory at some points. He also looks to have got all his pace back. Very mature performance, it just wasn’t nearly enough.

    1. Hogg gets slated for trying to do everything himself – as far as I’m concerned, he only starts doing that when everyone around him is so bad he doesn’t have much choice! Showed some amazing pace chasing the ball that bounced off the post.

      As for the game – the backline looked like what they are, a group of players who haven’t had any game time together.

      Seymour surely has now had his last chance to show some form.

      Ruck/maul defence was abysmal, surely this should be a basic skill.

      Don’t seem to be able to get on any ref’s good side at the moment.

      Have always been a fan of McInally but his captaining was non-existant

      1. Good observation about the backline. In fact it was the first time the team played together . But I am not sure I get the point, was that acceptable or unacceptable?

        McInally is an articulate captain who leads by example , he is also a hooker, so who was calling the shots in the backs yesterday , reading these posts in previous games this has been Hogg’s call as a vice captain or whatever. Are we expecting too much of Hogg ?

        Surely we are not bringing the ref into this one ? I think this is the first post where we have implicated the referee.

      2. My point on the backline was that the errors in communication and reading what others were going to do were a lot to do with that – especially since it’s no longer just a Glasgow backline that plays week in, week out. I’m afraid that although I don’t agree with a lot of the hate Townsend gets, the blame has to lie with him for not having them play together in any of the warm up games.

        I just don’t see McInally speaking to the ref much and arguing our corner as much as other teams do and I feel it makes a difference.

        I am not implicating the ref at all! I’m saying that we are terrible in understanding what the ref wants and adjusting how we play to each one, so we end up either being too well behaved and losing some advantages or giving away needless penalties from pushing things too far (or amazingly both of the above at the same time!).

      3. McInally…very good hooker on his game the he is…is 100% NOT a captain. He was like a deer in headlights against Ireland… at a time when an AWJ or RB would simply get his team to roll the sleeves up and fight harder.
        McInally was clueless…and this experience probably damaged his confidence.
        I get the impression GT likes him because he is quiet and takes GT instructions without question. A good captain thinks and speaks his mind when needed.

    2. What I find bizarre is that some folks think Hogg is beyond critique.
      He didn’t do anything special in the game. He was predictable. Ireland knew his preferred routes and how he is utilized. He beat 1 defender the whole match!
      His kicking wasn’t great…Irelands was better. His meters ran seemed high ..100 or so..but were ineffectual because they were accumulated running the ball back from his own half. Ireland gladly let him do that.
      He was no less poor than anyone else imo.
      Whilst Kinghorn is raw…I often feel that one day he will be a better overall FB than Hogg. Graham is already more effective in attack than Hogg.

  63. On another note – Ireland are a very good team and seem to have found last years form.

    I fully expect us to win the remaining games in the pool before getting absolutely annihilated by New Zealand in the quarters.

    1. Scotland never just lost or came second , Scotland surrendered.

      Are you saying that the plan A, was to just get the Ireland game out the way accepting that second place is good enough.

      1. No, we did terribly and it went badly wrong – but I don’t see how that means we can’t turn things around against the remaining teams in the pool – none of which should be anywhere near the level Ireland are.

        I think Samoa are the biggest threat, as once we get to Japan if we have won the next 2 games we will be in a much better place psychologically.

        It’s really a mental game to get over Ireland and move on, rather than completely self-destructing.

        Team selection for Samoa will be vital – we can’t have a complete clearout as the 2nd team isn’t good enough all round. But I expect at least half and maybe as many as 10 changes in the starting 15 with a few key players retained.

    2. Ireland are also a sneaky dirty team. You had Watsons injury from Healy and if you watch Hogg when he was tackled behind our line Farrell came in very late and dived on his upper body when there was no need. Noticed POM went off injured early on so he didn’t have a chance to take a Scot out as is his characteristic

      1. Ha ha, that was ringrose & he only flopped on him. Hogg got up mouthing away, outraged, & ringrose totally ignored him. It’s called bullying! I remember the great Scots teams of the ’90s, we couldn’t buy a win off them. The likes of Finlay Calder wouldn’t be bullied, he’d likely murder you if you even looked at him sideways, would usually take out an opposition player for no reason at all. All the whining about how ‘dirty’ Ireland are shows me yer problems, nice wins nothing

  64. Hogg, really is a little over-rated. Yes, he has a unique skill to create in attack, but too often he is greedy and gets caught out, turned over or driven into touch. Best full-back in the NH ? that’s a subjective assessment, but by now I think most independent observers would rate Liam Williams higher..?

    Obviously, loss to Ireland here does not close the door to progressing to the Quarter-finals, but it’s not exactly encouraging. To be fair, Ireland are a pretty good side. Despite under- performing in the 6 nations and a bad outing against England in the warm-ups, they have alot of quality.

    I guess we watch and see where this goes next. Samoa have been really undermined by off-field politics and logistics. it’s sad, but they aren’t the force that they were a few years back. Scotland should just brush past them no problem… but on the evidence of the game in Nice and this weekend’s capitulation, I’m not sure I’m confident…and if Japan can get even close to Ireland, you know they are going to be sensing blood in weak a Scotland. .

  65. Unfortunately GT has a siege mentality and firmly believes in himself , his coaching team, his tactics (sic) and selections. There will be no changes to the roller coaster we have been on. Japan are no more than average. Samoa havent played yet but they are not the team they were 4 years ago, so I expect Scotland to win both games and reach the Q/F. However after this tournament GT has to go.

  66. It’s all too frantic when we have the ball. I’ll feel a lot better with Bradbury in the team, a big bruiser who won’t get shoved around or just flop to the ground when he carries. Thomson too who at least has shown he can crunch boys in the tackle and he has some skills like a sidestep.

    Most of all we need temperament and calm. For all Russell’s qualities he lacks poise, he was trying fancy no-look passes 2 minutes in yesterday. I’d get Dan Parks in to show them how to structure a match with smart kicking and at the right time get the back line firing. Get Dan in and we’ll see a more rounded performance.

  67. Toonie has a similar record to VC and has led us to some incredible victories.
    The reasons fans get so frustrated with him is that the issues we have can be seen coming a mile away and it makes you wonder if Townsend sees them or if he does but just ignores them.

    With VC very few people argued with his selections or his tactics. Fans were therefore more willing to accept that if we lost it was just because the other team was better than us.

    The thing about Toonie is that sometimes he’s a genius. He was the same as a player.

    I hope we see that come through and the players and team improve.

    Come on Scotland!

  68. Nearly 24 hours on, i would usually have watched the game back or at least the key plays but really couldn’t bring myself to watch it again. Scotland were abject.

    Now, we move on to the remaining three group games. We are in serious danger of losing at least one of them if we play like that again. Not to do with ability. It’s the malaise/lack of fitness/lack of energy/lack of aggression that I don’t understand. it’s a repeated failing of this team under Townsend.

    I think the Edinburgh pack unit needs dismantled if they have to play the ‘Townsend way’. They look so much more aggressive, controlled and dangerous under Cockerill. It’s either style or not being good enough to step up. Possibly a combination of both.

    Glasgow also look more aggressive and direct than Scotland. Again, tactics and coaching?

    Scotland’s attack in a microcosm was seen in the first have when Hogg got clobbered. Think it was Johnson running the dummy line and nobody in the Irish defence paid any attention to him at all as they knew he was never getting the ball. we are always trying to go around teams. If I see that live you can guarantee that the Irish coaches know it too and probably know Townsend is so stubborn he won’t change tactics.

    I would have accepted a defeat but the manner of the performance was abysmal and lacked heart. That was the worst of it. Oh and the Irish pundit trying not to laugh at half-time. It really was the most embarrassing performance yet under Townsend.

  69. As in my previous posts, perhaps more are starting to agree that GT is (and has been) a poor manager of the national team since the beginning. He has steadily been undoing Vern Cotters excellent work. GT’s insistence on playing at a ‘faster pace’ than other top nations is what is behind our being easily the most consistent side for unforced errors.

    What evidence is this speed strategy based on? Our player pool is decent enough quality at this level but when fine margins can determine results, being head and shoulders top of the ‘Unforced Errors League’ will always produce results like this.I’m surprised some journalist has cottoned onto this a produced the stats.

    Ireland played a solid enough game but nothing special. They just had to wait for our guys to spill ball, miss tackles, kick too far, kick too short, etc.

    1. Exactly. I thought the same pre match as I think post match. We are not even what GT is striving for. We dont play remarkably fast….and when we try to we, more often than not, simply spill the ball when retaining possession was required.. It cant be good for players confidence. ABs play multiple different ways often each phase of possession , never mind in a match. Thats smart rugby..NOT.. playing one way. Any team , never mind Ireland, sees what we are doing. The same style EVERY game. Eventually the unpredictable plays become predictable.
      We will not win anything of note with our current rugby philosophy…I am 100% certain of that.
      We have become a soft touch again under GT….VC wasn’t perfect.. BUT at least he was doing everything to get us to be hard to beat. GT has , in his tenure, dismantled that.

      1. Good posts from Adopted Scot and RuggersB.
        I remember watching Glasgow under Sean Lineen on BBC Alba in the Magners. At some stage the opposition would have the ball on Glasgow’s try line. I would go make a cup of tea knowing that I’d come back and Glasgow had kept them out – every time. Then Townsend took over and sacked his forwards coach. I’d still have time to put the kettle on – but now because I know the opposition will score after a few phases, then celebrate and have a minute to take a conversion. With Scotland there isn’t even time to fetch a can of ‘Diet Coke’ from the fridge: the oppositions scores with its first attack.
        The All Blacks don’t feel able to mount frenetic attacks off first phase ball within a couple of minutes of kick off (they wait for turnover ball or until the game is broken up) but Townsend knows better. It’s suicide!

    2. …and
      many of our players play for the same top teams in the top leagues in NH rugby. Why dont we have some sort of parity and consistency with the other home nations…it makes no sense. Losing is one thing …but we should be winning much more too…and at the very least competing hard.
      The problem has to be the coaching!
      Why would the other nations spend large chunks of their budget acquiring top coaches??? …because it’s a difference maker obviously.
      I continue to watch Scotland play and always want them to win however I want to see the current coaching team removed after this RWC and replaced with a good experienced savvy motivator and organizer. There will be a a lot of turnover coaches club and country after this RWC…surely we can find someone in time to start rebuilding a structure before the 6N. Not having a great 6N will not be much loss… we haven’t done well in it for donkeys years anyway.

  70. Just got a message on my phone asking if I want to watch the Scotland v Ireland highlights…. Are you crazy… watch that complete dross again !! Clear proof that artificial intelligence has a long way to go…

  71. Townsend should be removed even if we qualify and do well? (It’s still possible). Really?
    Who would replace him? Rennie? Would he be better? Really?

    The team is short of confidence which is why they were standing off the Irish pack letting them play then trying speculative moves invariably involving Russell or Hogg off phase 1 ball.

    The Irish knew we’d be short of confidence and would resort to that kind of game. They saw it a mile off and just blitzed us.

    Ireland are a more settled, confident side.

    The Toony tombola selection policy probably hasn’t helped confidence but he’s also had a load of injuries to deal with last 6N when he’d probably have planned to settle the XV.

    He now needs to settle the team, cut the tinkering with selection, stop the harum-scarum back moves off phase 1 ball and try to get them on a run of form.

    They can do it, they are good enough.

    1. Qualifying doesn’t really equate to ‘doing well’ .. and whilst you can never take lower ranked opposition for granted…qualifying merely represented our world ranking therefore the least we expected. A success would be reaching the SF..even if we are playing the ABs. A great achievement would be winning the SF and reaching a final for the 1st time.
      Not reaching the QF…Id say would represent total failure especially combined with a poor 6N this year. Not terminating the coaching team and searching for a replacement team in that scenario would represent accepting poor standards, stagnation and apathy. If we lose one of the matches against Samoa, Japan or Russia I would expect the SRU make a statement of intent…it would be sending a very poor message out to Scottish rugby and the rugby world to accept those type of results.

  72. Late I know but been the Copenhagen/Malmo & my “Java” failed me (what that means – I’m not quite sure). Re the game – I knew exactly how Ireland were going to play & I was proven correct. I assumed the GT and the coaches would spend hours in darkened rooms & in the paddock (good BVC phrase) concocting strategies to repel/overcome Ireland. (given we all know that Ireland did what Ireland do & we tactically naively capitulated, i’ll continue onto what went wrong).
    1.squad selection – no physicality optio- no Strauss, Bradbury, M Fageron, Steyn. – lack of flair in backs outwith Hogg, Russell, Graham – no Hutchinson, Jones (Graham dropped from team)
    2. Too many players returning from injury – Taylor, Barclay, Thompson
    3. Team selection – picking a back-row with no beef, Barclay is nowhere near his best and alas Wilson in not a tier 1 rugby player. How was that going to “beat” POM CJS & VDF? Laidlaw has been/continues to be a magnificent servant however he has no break whatsoever, is somewhat slow & simply adds shifts the attack to where 3 defenders are. 13 has no x-factor – Taylor was a brilliant player and may be one again but leaving Rory H behind now looks simply daft. Scotland being Scotland need to score tries, Rory H rather than Taylor or Harris is the boy you want to be on the ball. Seymour looks jaded, leaving Darcy G out was daft. Hoggy is absolutely superb but he knows it & everyone knows it, when he plays he is the heartbeat of the team. maybe tries to do too much?

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