Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 36 – 9 Georgia

Scotland vs Georgia
© Scottish Rugby Blog

Scotland finished off their RWC 19 warm-up matches with a rather lacklustre first hour, but ran out comfortable winners against a spirited Georgia side, who will have given defence coach Matt Taylor a thing or two to think about tweaking before the big kick-off in just over a fortnight.

After an equal trading of conceded but scoreless penalties in the opening minutes, Scotland had a great opportunity to open their account in the 12th. They attacked with real pace and venom off of a line-out, but Kinghorn’s out the side-door pass was fumbled by the usually predatorial Seymour with the try-line beckoning.

The opening of the account was not short in coming though. After Kinghorn fielded a kick from Georgian stand-off Abzhandadze, he fed turbo-kid Darcy Graham down the left. Graham popped the ball inside to Sam Johnson, who straightened up and carried into contact before off-loading to scrum-half Ali Price for a simple run-in.

Georgia reduced the deficit with a penalty from the boot of Abzhandadze, but Scotland were soon on the scoreboard again.

A lovely break from fleet-footed, luminously-gnashered Adam Hastings set Scotland on their way, Scott Cummings barrelled on, and with the Georgian defence in disarray and having conceded a penalty, Hastings kicked to Graham. The winger had to check his to run to gather, but Kinghorn was on hand to help out his club teammate and dive over.

Abzhandadze (I have never been more grateful for the “copy” and “paste” functions) reduced the deficit again after Jamie Ritchie was rather harshly penalised for not rolling away, at which point Chris Harris came on as a replacement for Blair Kinghorn. The initial call on the ref mic stated it was a blood replacement, but Kinghorn was not to return. The reshuffle saw Seymour go to full-back with Harris go onto the right-wing.

A cheaply conceded penalty by George Turner allowed Abzhandadze to reduce the deficit to a solitary point, when Georgia had posed no considerable threat to Scotland’s try-line.

A series of disrupted scrums saw Poite’s patience ran out with Fagerson and Nariashvilli, who both went off for a seat on the naughty step. Both sides replaced flankers with new props, Scotland bringing on Simon Berghan, who will of course be travelling to Japan as a double-headed prop.

Georgia looked like they would take a shock lead after a brilliant weaving run by Matiashvili took him up to 5m of the Scotland try-line, but Hastings managed to intercept his attempted pass and clear the danger.

A scrappy first-half came to an end with a tale of two line-outs for Scotland. One, in a good attacking position, just on the 22, was stolen, and the second, a quickie taken by Ali Price, saw Scotland run through a couple of phases before a wasteful knock-on.

Half-time: Scotland 10-9 Georgia

The second half started without Jonny Gray, but did continue with the scrappiness and cheap penalties of the first. Straight from kick-off, Scotland were pinged and Georgia began a brief spell of possession and territory dominance. Full-back Matiashvili again looked dangerous as he broke the Scottish line, but Scotland held firm until Georgian lock Mikautadze was penalised for entering at the side of a ruck.

When Scotland were able to gain possession and keep it for any period of time, they were making metres with relative ease, and even despite Dzneladze’s cynical foul on Graham with Scotland camped on the Georgian line, Sam Johnson eventually breached their defences to make it 17-9. Dzneladze’s foul also saw him become the third man of the night to take a 10min break by order of the Poite.

There then followed a 10-minute or so period of what can only be described as honking rugby. Fagerson, who repeatedly fell foul of the officials all evening, was hooked for Berghan, as scrum after scrum, which only occurred because of knock-on after knock-on, went to the deck.

Whilst the mediocrity continued, Ben Toolis, who had replaced Gray, had to go off for an HIA after taking an accidental straight arm to the face, therefore causing further second-row concern for Townsend, who has already lost Sam Skinner to injury, and back-up plan Richie Gray to a newborn baby.

A bright spark eventually emerged. Scotland won a scrum penalty, went to the corner rather than take an easy 3-pointer, and after switching from left to right and back again, Darcy Graham crossed for yet another try in international colours. Notable mention to Chris Harris, who had done well to draw in the last two defenders and release Graham in acres of space.

The sometimes, unfairly in my eyes, maligned Adam Hastings, was having a pretty good outing, and it was his fleet of foot rather than boot to foot, which created Scotland’s next score. He danced between 3 Georgian defenders, and when the ruck was formed, his half-back partner George “Horneito” Horne picked up from the base, and found space round the side to scamper away right between the sticks, which he then converted himself.

Not little, but Big Horne, then helped himself to a try after stand-off Abzhandadze tried to channel his inner-Finn and dink a kick over the top from his own try-line. Unfortunately for him he only succeeded in finding Horne the Elder, who had time to gather the kick, pick himself up, dust himself off, take a selfie and complete a cryptic crossword before running in. In the end it looks very comfortable, but for long periods it was at times indisciplined, at others just a bit sloppy. Hopefully Gray was only taken off as a precaution, with 40mins of game time finally under his belt, Kinghorn’s may just be superficial, but the biggest concerns will be over Toolis and Ritchie.

Referee: Romaine Poite

Attendance: not 67,000.

SRBlog Man of the Match: my inner-Warrior wants to give it to Scott Cummings, he made a couple of bullocking runs and was exceptional in the line-out, as we’ve come to expect, but Darcy Graham with his electric pace, never say die defence and predatory finishing takes the honours this time. Whether he or Seymour starts against Ireland is a toss of the coin.

176 Responses

  1. Great from Cummings and Graham.

    On the other hand Duncan Taylor doesn’t look at all dynamic and i’ve yet to see him sprint. George Turner can’t throw and can’t scrum, other than that’s he an ok hooker! Both the lineout and scrum were better with Stewart on. Blade Thomson still hasn’t shown much and had an absolute nightmare of a ten minutes.

    The game never really got going as a contest as their were so many errors and Georgia never really put any sustained pressure or possesion together.

    1. Didn’t think Taylor was too bad, by no means a first class performance but solid. Not much breaks himself but he linked well and in the absence of a functional back row seemed to be doing plenty of tackling and jackling, reminiscent of the kind of work Alex Dunbar did.

      1. According to the match stats Taylor only made 60% of his tackles. Not good at all.

        It will surely be Harris at 13 for Ireland. Townsend was obviously desperate to get Taylor in the squad so sat him out the middle two games, only gave Huw Jones 35 minutes and played Hutchinson knowing that no matter how well he played he wasn’t going. Bizarre.

        Townsend needs to engage with reality. He’s picking a team at the World Cup not on the blog. The classic online Scottish rugby fan tropes are players getting better the longer they are out (Taylor) and the new guy always being better than the guy you’ve seen already (Thomson). Gregor would fit right in here.

  2. Zander Fagerson has followed a similar path to Ryan Grant. Showed great promise at first followed by a tragic drop in form (and in Ryan Grant’s case never regained any form after the Lions tour).
    Good: Graham ++, Cummings, Taylor, Johnson, Kinghorn and Gray
    Bad: ZF, Seymour
    The rest were so so.

  3. Why was the hit that took Toolis out of the game not reviewed by the TMO and punished? Poite penalised an innocuous ‘high’ tackle by Berghan in Gorgodze, but ignores a red card offence? Cowboy. Ok, so it was accidental, but it’s still illegal. Scott Barrett must be baffled.

    1. I reckon he’ll quit the national team after RWC anyway… doesn’t look comfortable as a national coach, to me. He is a bit naive in his approach to test rugby.
      He should have tested himself at another club or 2, in different leagues, before taking on Scotland.

      1. I think he’d be more suited to a Director of rugby role working on grass roots, strategy and innovation side of things. While he’s a very astute and bright guy I don’t think he has enough ‘bad cop’ in him to succeed as a head coach at international level. I just don’t think he sends players out fired up in the way Gatland, Schmidt and even Cockers does.
        Maybe the SRU should have offered him Scott Johnson’s old role depending on how the RWC goes, offered Cockers or Rennie the Scotland gig and let Mallinder take over Edinburgh or Glagsow. Toonie clearly wants to work as a head coach and will probably end up at a club in England or France.

      2. Saint: you are well named,much too generous. He is not suited to anything other than club coaching where his petulance may be tolerated. Cotter was the man for the job all day long.

    2. It was good of Townsend to come out and thank the fans tonight. Nice words of appreciation to the fans on pitch , in front of the camera.

      When he walked back through the tunnel the camera followed him. He didn’t high 5 any of the kids who had lined up to show their appreciation.

      They do say , our true selves , can be found , if we examine the things we do , when no one is looking.

      A few kids went home disappointed.

      1. He never has. I remember as a kid at a couple of games when he wasn’t even playing, RWC 99 hanging over the tunnel as a kid and trying to get him to high 5 and he just blanks everyone.

      2. I think the guy is highlighting the duplicity of his nature, on the pitch praising the crowd, seconds later out of camera , ignored the kids walking off.

      3. Sorry lads you can make stuff up to suit your agenda all you like, but it isn’t reality.

        I knew Gregor personally back in my college days, and I can certainly attest to his nature in being one of the good guys.

        Wales and Ireland have had years of success with about a decade of the same coach at the helm. We should be modelling ourselves after this. I’d start looking for the positives at this point to save yourselves years of misery.

      4. No agenda simply stating the facts of my personal experience. Not making any judgements on motivations either. So chill oot.

      5. SW90 : No problem and long may your memories be good ones. I am not going to disagree with them but I am just agreeing with the original post. Some kids out there may not be feeling as warm as you , their memories of last night may not be so convivial. Its a hard one to argue with (check your recording) but if you think otherwise , good time to say it. No one is overheated or thinking of years of misery.

      6. I think Toonie is a good guy and a good coach.
        I don’t think he’s soft either, or one of the lads.
        He’ll do things his way, as he did as a player.
        Sometimes you’ll watch through your fingers, other times we’ll overtake a 24 point deficit away to England.
        His task is to make the latter performance the norm and find consistency.
        He has made a decisive move leaving Huw Jones and Hutchinson out which clearly isn’t to everyone’s taste, but those players have defensive frailties which he has long identified as a problem and Taylor and Johnson are not exactly bad players in attack.
        Jones and Hutchinson now know what they have to do to get back in the team and my prediction is they will both come roaring back and be much better for it.
        As for Richie Gray, it could be that he doesn’t like the set up but equally anyone who’s had children would understand that 3 months away from your wife when she’s just had your 1st child is not small beer.
        We’ll see if he comes back when he’s ready, I think he will.

      7. JonB: Do not let me change your beliefs. He definitely does it his way and you are entitled to believe he overcame a 24 point deficit against a side that has a decent chance of going the distance (different point). I do not , I believe the players did that.

        I think there is an element of truth in all the stories going around about Richie Gray’s omission , right guy wrong timing IMO.

        All in all, whatever the reasons, he has made the right decision. Family are for life, rugby in general and current ‘set up’ will pass. I agree with you on that.

      8. JB if overcoming the 24pt lead was a result of player rebellion we’d know about it.
        Remember something similar happening with Matt Williams?

        It was the end of his tenure.

      9. JB : Was it a ‘rebellion’, bit dramatic. Would we know about it ? RWC preparations immediately thereafter? I will take your word with Matt Williams , much too long ago. bit away from the point now, don’t you think !

      10. If the players decided to go against the coach that means he lost the dressing room. If he’d lost the dressing room you’d know about it.
        What happened when McLeish lost the dressing room? Snodgrass openly refused to play and other players suddenly became injured.
        What happened when Mourinho lost the dressing room?
        He ranted and raved to the press, blamed his players and they obliged by turning up, taking the money and losing.
        Matt Williams lost the dressing room at Twickenham in 2005 after a similar abject 1st half. The players threw his playbook out the window and managed to draw the 2nd half (from memory).
        Senior players didn’t hide it. They told the press they weren’t going to play Matt Williams’s way anymore and he was sacked really quickly.
        If Townsend lost the dressing room then we’d have lost both warm ups to France and played so badly against Georgia that we probably would have lost those too. There would be a bunch of players ruling themselves out of Japan. That’s what teams in conflict with their coaches do and you’d know about it.
        I remember the same kind of mithering about Vern Cotter. ‘Fern Cotton’ some called him.

  4. ‘Honking Rugby’ that night catch on Iain . The ‘Scunner’ of Scottish rugby (there is a good word) has to be the inability to capitalize on the 10 minutes when the opposition have a man in the bin. We never scored a point and gave a way a kickable penalty which just missed.This is an old habit that we cannot kick.

      1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. These comments should be on a Facebook group. I’d relish the post after post responding to each other via gif. Although the tone may be a bit more decent at times if using real names.

  5. Have to agree that for much of the first half and the 10 minutes we were a man to the good we were indeed honking. Between knock ons and daft penalties there was precious little continuity for much of the first 60 minutes.
    Fortunately when we did manage to get through more than a couple of phases we scored some cracking tries! Felt we got a bit of a raw deal at scrum time with Poite seemingly reluctant to penalise the Georgians even when they stood up in the scrum. It has to be said our best scrums didn’t feature ZF who frankly had a night to forget.
    I thought Mr Darcy was outstanding in attack and defence and must be close to supplanting Seymour in the starting 15 for Ireland. Tommy dropped a pass for a walk in early in the match and struggled to impose himself thereafter. Hastings did pretty well although he dropped a couple of passes under no pressure and struggled with his goal kicking for much of the night.
    Toony will have a sleepless night waiting on the medical report with neither Ritchie or Toolis looking very happy when they came after bangs to the head/face. Hopefully Gray was just scheduled to play 40 mins and Thomson was just taken off as a precaution.
    Taylor got through 80 minutes and was solid if not spectacular and Kinghorn looked good before he had to go off.
    Graham deserved MOM but I really like the look of Cummings – great engine and really put himself about and may force himself into the reckoning if Gray isn’t 100%

    1. I thought Jonny Gray looked a bit average tonight. Not quite ready , however there is still a few weeks to get fitter.

    2. From what I could see at the end of the game Ritchie was walking around and looked fine, Thomson was hobbling, didn’t see Toolis though.

  6. Darcy was solid to begin with & excellent later on,

    Who i was particularly impressed with though was Kinghorn for the time he was on, a real point of difference between two evenly matched teams in the first half.

    My starting back 3 was Graham – Hogg – Maitland but i could see Kinghorn getting that staring spot over Graham based on what i have seen over the past few games.

    Seymour through no fault of his own is 4th choice atm, he has been in good form & solid but the others have just outshone him.

    1. I doubt Seymour is 4th choice wing. GT will have him in his usual spot v Ireland.
      Graham or Kinghorn will get spot on the bench. I agree with you tho I would have Graham or Kinghorn work the opposite wing from Maitland ..who deserves to start and is a very consistent quality winger for Scotland who is in good form. Graham just gets better and better…but then Kinghorn is improving his defensive side too.

  7. There’s a part of me that wants to see the full house party backline one day of: Horne, Russell, Graham, Taylor, Hutchinson, Kinghorn, Hogg. Good thing we have the likes of Laidlaw, the elder Horne and Maitland to control the volume for now.

    1. This team but with Hutchinson 12 and Jones 13. Pure absolute unadulterated madhousery…

      We can only dream…

  8. This would be my squad for Ireland based on what i have seen.

    1. Dell
    2. McInally
    3. Nel
    4. Cummings
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Wilson
    7. Watson
    8. Thomson (Due to a lack of another 8)
    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Kinghorn
    12. Horne
    13. Johnson (Yes he has played here well for Glasgow)
    14. Maitland
    15. Hogg

    16. Brown
    17. Reid
    18. Berghan (has pipped Fagerson)
    19. Gray
    20. Ritchie
    21. Horne (better impact than Price)
    22. Taylor
    23. Graham

    I think Gray/Taylor are not quite Match fit yet is the reason they are not starting, they are just looking ok atm.

    1. Entirely feasible selection.
      I would like to see Cummings start ….to me he looks far and away our best lock…the only one who can seriously break the gain line. Gilchrist , for such a big lad , always seems powderpuff. Toolis ditto.
      Considering what is available I would prefer Barclay, Watson and Thompson(because next up on our depth chart at 8 is a traffic cone)…with either Ritchie or Wilson on the bench.
      Id start Taylor over Horne. Horne on the bench.
      Id only play Fagerson against Russia….where we could actually win with 14 ….not sure how Fagerson has made the 31 to be honest. Berghan miles better than him at the moment.

    2. Go Neil for reasonably sensible and relevant team sheets.

      Hastings, for all his faults, is a good bench player. Always looks good coming on later in the game where his style of 10-play is better for finding holes in the defence. For that reason I’d have him on the bench.

      I actually agree with Cummings starting as well. Easily our most dynamic lock and the best going forward.

      Torn on Graham vs Kinghorn. Inclined to go with Graham after tonight though. He’s lightning in a bottle and will have defences on their toes just that little bit more. Blairhorn is excelent mind so really horses for courses.

      Barclay over Wilson though. Barclay betters everything Wilson offers imo.

      And yeah as RuggersB said, Taylor starts. He might not have let loose today but he’s in absolutely everything and looks to be a real leader on the park in both defence and attack. His pace is not quite there yet but I’m sure with a bit more confidence he’ll be back to his best in no time.

      1. Graham is also a wee guy, will get caught high all game long by the clumsy louts, penalty , bin, 10 mins for us to get something on them.

    3. Johnson has 2 starts at 13 for Glasgow. The last one was against the Dragons in 2018 when there was essentially no-one left for the Warriors and Brandon Thomson was playing 12.

    4. Agree about Cummings. His ball carrying is superior to all the other locks who tend to fold like deckchairs. He takes the ball whilst running…now there’s a good innovation and he runs at gaps or soft shoulders…another good innovation. He just suddenly lit up towards the end of last season. If he changed his breakfast cereal I would like to see a few more try it.
      I would pick Gray ahead of Gilchrist…just don’t see it with him.

  9. Darcy Graham has to start v Ireland, he is brave in defence & electric in attack, he makes things happen.
    My concerns are holistically – lack of beef & specifically – Blade Thomson – shown little to justify his inclusion over Fagerson, Bradbury, Strauss & he seems “fragile”. Hutchinson not travelling, Z.Fagerson’s form & if anything happens to Finn… 3 wins out of 4 is fine & we can/will play some sensational rugby but I fear the better teams will simply clear the ball long & out whilst denying us front foot/broken field ball. The “thing” is us forcing our style onto teams & getting Hogg, Russell, Graham front foot ball & a wee bit space

    1. Strauss rubbish now, Bradbury injured for last 6 weeks…I think Matt Fagerson has most to feel hard done by. Let’s see if Thomson can step it up, it is too soon to judge.

      1. ‘Strauss rubbish now’.

        I hate comments like this. Sorry.
        He played well last week and has played in so many Scotland teams where he was the only significant ball carrier. He’s taken a battering for us. He’s 34. Be more grateful.

      2. Fair enough. But Strauss is well past his peak. At his peak he played one legendary game for Scotland against France but otherwise in his 11 starts in 24 caps across 4 seasons he contributed relatively little to Scotland. He was rightfully lauded at Glasgow but rarely reproduced that rampaging form for Scotland.

        If you want to police the blog you might want to have a word with the Pete Horne pitchfork mob :)

      3. It’s not policing the blog to say your comment is out of order.

        Come on. I believe we supporters are part of the team.

        Don’t you get the sense that when you play Wales or Ireland you are playing the entire country?

        I don’t think you get that with Scotland. The sniping is dispiriting, especially against a bloke who hasn’t even made the plane.

        So what’s the point in it?

      4. You are being over sensitive – this is a rugby blog and discussing which players we think are good or not is well within bounds of reasonable discussion. Being a fan doesn’t mean we have to behave like cheerleaders at a pep rally. If you think saying someone is rubbish is over the line I think the internet might not be for you. The Welsh and Irish discuss their players in exactly the same way just check out walesonline or the 42 if you don’t believe me. Honestly I’m a bit bemused you’ve taken exception to such a mild comment.

  10. Zander Fagerson has dropped off horrendously and looked a bit petulant with it. Graham looked great but hard to judge against Georgia. Hastings needs to sharpen up his basics, kicking from hand and sticks was poor and concentration went. That knock on was unforgivable. Cummings has played himself in to the 23 at least. I think Thompson going of may have been tactical once the game was done to practice playing a man down. Agree that Taylor didn’t look spectacular but he did look accurate. The scrum was awful but nowhere near the pack that’ll start against Ireland.

    1. Yeah folks saying Fagerson is just rusty from lack of match play.
      in the last few games he has acted immaturely and petulant …he seems more interested in the mental confrontation than actually improving his technique.

      Hastings isn’t really ready for the 10 spot at this level. He shows moments of potential …but that’s about it.

      Cummings looks, hands down, our best most effective lock. S Skinner and Cummings should be our lock pairing in future. Im sure instead tho, Ill have to endure more of Meek ‘good stats’ Jonny and Powderpuff Gilchrist.

  11. Taylor threw a great pass for one of the tries.
    Players at this stage are probably conscious of getting crocked and Georgia at home is a horrible fixture. You gain nothing by beating them, it’s seen as a gimme so you can’t slip up either and they’re full of big, hard forwards out to prove a point both about last week and being recognised as a tier 1 nation.

  12. Concerns over 5 players allegedly. Ritchie went to hospital with a facial injury, Thomson and Gray hamstring injuries and Kinghorn and Toolis head injuries…yeesh. Hope they have daycare in Japan..get big Richie over!

    1. Sounds like only Ritchie serious concern for first test though, Return to Play protocols notwithstanding.

      Ireland play wales today with two full lineups hopefully going full pelt. Obviously you’d never wish injury on a player, but I wouldn’t be devastated if Sexton and Murray picked up niggles.

      1. Or PoM. Or Beirne. Or Earls…

        Joking aside, I hope we play them full-strength, 1) so they have no excuses, and 2) because the likes of Larmour, Ryan et al. are great to watch, even in a boring team.

  13. Jamie Ritchie took a “dull yin”, Gray & Thomson hamstrings. Kinghorn & Toolis head. Not good

    1. Just going by the offside lien article. Camp not too concerned with others but Ritchie went to hospital as fear broken cheekbone or eye socket.

  14. Tbh I wouldn’t mind them starting. On form Ireland are unquestionably better than us but so many of them are on the decline or just out of form.


    None of these guys are as good as they were 12-18 months ago but are all likely to be picked. Hopefully we pick more on form than reputation and come away with a win..

    1. I don’t think Ireland are unquestionably better players. They usually play the basics better than we do and they flex the laws of the game to get the win.
      We are far too ‘nice’ when we play teams like them. It our own downfall.
      1 o2 of Hogg, Russell, Johnson, Graham etc will get taken out by a ‘borderline legal’ challenge…GT will yet again have no plan B ….disrupting our game thus ending our chances…

      1. Agree that Ireland’s long-established stars are in decline, and the Ireland side overall is descending from their 2016/18 plateau. They remain very well coached and streetwise though and will be a formidable opponent on 22 September. Ok, they’ve beaten Wales home and away to help them recover from their Twickenham annihilation a fortnight ago (welcome to our 2017 6N world, Ireland) but I don’t think either of those sides is much better than ours, if indeed they are better at all.
        Only been able to watch brief highlights of the two Georgia games, but two things struck me.
        First, the increased use of grubbers and kick-passes to counter the almost berserk and mostly offside rush defences of teams like Ireland and the Saffers.
        Second, that young Darcy Graham is indeed one hell of a player and must start against Ireland. The lad has pace, guts and lots of footballing ability. A future Lion, dare I say?
        It seems to me we will be able to put out a pack against Ireland that can match them in tight and loose. And that behind the pack we can out-think and out-pace them.
        We will also need a captain and senior players ready to call out the inevitable hands in ruck, take-outs off the ball, late hits and offside lurking that have been key features of the Ireland game plan for a few seasons now. And of course, ‘a listening ref’.
        Bring on 22 September!

      2. You would like to think he will be a future lion John Mc but it wont be SA with Gatland in charge.

      3. In terms of Ireland’s infamous hands in ruck, take-outs off the ball, late hits and offside lurking, I wonder if the SRU have sent a dossier or some kind of communication to World Rugby in an attempt to ensure that the officials keep a closer eye on these kind of things at the RWC.

        Wayne Barnes will be the man in the middle. Has he pinged the Irish for these kind of things in the past? I’m curious to know if his appointment will favour the Irish more than us.

      4. I though Wayne Barnes struck a good relationship with us and have high hopes he will do well on the 22nd. I think he may officiate till deep into the tournament, it is his time.

  15. One of the positives no one has mentioned is that we did not concede a try, has that ever happened under Townsend ?

    1. I think no one mentioned it because Georgia’s attack was woeful.
      Its a positive….but in context a very small one.

    2. How much time were Georgia in the red zone? They were never going to score unless they broke through in mid field. I do not think we need stats to work this game out. We won, in a game that had more significance for Georgia than us. The only stat we need to be concerned with is adding nothing to our account when they went down to 14. Ok it probably contributed to their surrender in the closing minutes , but 14 v 15, we must be ruthless . These are the fine margins we all talk about , winning kick offs, Taking 10 points in a sin binning etc. Missing tackles and losing line outs, that is basics. Costly though, 5 left the pitch with injuries.

  16. Just watched the game and Scotland need backup to Nel who can scrummage. The whole front role kept telling Fagerson to stay up but he keeps putting his feet too far back. Very poor

    1. Must be a reason for the feet going too far back. He was against as hard a loosehead as he will meet in his career yesterday. Too hard to explain the interactions taking place but I think he did well to avoid injury yesterday. The feet back and collapsing was the price. Let’s see how he gets on when it matters.We needed him through yesterday in one piece. All right for others to give advice when it is not them with the strain of both packs on their shoulders. Best to leave each to his own. Nel has a natural advantage , a lot of power on a shorter frame. Everyone around him needs to stoop an inch lower and that inch can make all the difference when the shove comes on.

  17. Z Fagerson hasn’t played a whole lot of rugby recently.
    He looks like he’s bulked up.
    He needed the game time.

    1. It is his technique that is the issue. Not his match fitness. He was constantly being told by other players but looked to be not listening

      1. His technique was just fine against Leinster’s first-choice front row when we annihilated them in the scrum in April.

  18. There were a load of missed tackles and a Georgian dropped one at the line early on, are you really gonna use the ‘didn’t concede a try’ thing to claim a top defensive effort?!

    Some good, some bad. Zander is a worry and we’re down to 30 men already with Thomson in there, a bizarre situation. Watson gonna be the busiest man in Japan.

  19. Ali’s passing was very good last night in terms of distance and speed, makes a real difference.

    Graham was stellar as well, with Cummings putting his hand up for selection on the 22nd 😊

    1. Ali ‘s passing , what ! No, do not agree . He passed an interception as I recall, fortunately someone tackled the receiver immediately.

  20. Seem to be a lot of odd comments on the blog recently, I love a good debate and discussion about the game but let’s stick to that!

    I didn’t manage to watch the game fully, saw most of the first half and skipped through the second a bit, so I am sure I didn’t see everything.

    From what I saw, I was actually pretty impressed with Taylor – in attack at least. Nice direct running and some very good offloads. Maybe not as flashy as some, but we need someone like that – seemed to do a similar role to what Dunbar did.

    Kinghorn was excellent, as was Graham – would be happy with either of them on the pitch. Seymour has not really shown his old form unfortunately – he surely wouldn’t have dropped that pass in the past. He also doesn’t seem to be looking for work around the pitch match, Compared to Graham who was popping up all over the place. Maitland and Graham are surely the best starting options at the moment.

    Johnson was good again – I think him and Taylor should start (from those that are going…..).

    Hastings showed his potential, but he has always looked good in a team that is on top – he tends to struggle when on the back foot.

    Price was ok, although i much prefer Horne and would still like to see how he gets on starting a game.

    1. Forwards – Cummings is looking really impressive.
      I like what I saw of Thomson – obviously has some really good skills as a linking 8 and decent carries. Maybe I missed some of the bad things he did, but I do think some people have a negative agenda towards him as an import.
      Zander Fagerson is a bit of a liability I’m afraid – really struggles in the scrum and can’t seem to adapt to the ref.
      Turner looks good in open play, but he is a hooker and set piece has to be the priority.

      Overall it was a decent run out – obviously missing some key players but it shows we have the capacity to rest people in the non-key games to some extent, rather than being forced to overuse certain players, and I think that makes a big difference in tournament rugby.

      Japan got blown away a bit by South Africa, but SA are really hitting form at the moment so it’s hard to know how to take that. Ireland are building but not unbeatable – we need to really work on dealing with their choke tackles for that one though as I have a feeling it could kill us.

      Really looking forward to the World Cup now and think we will do ok – quarters is realistically our target though given the draw.

      1. Australia beat Samoa today too – Samoa blown away at the start by three tries in first half hour but got back into the game well and only 22-15 down heading into last quarter to lose 34-15. Has to be said it was 6 tries to 2 though but supposedly Samoa showed up reasonably well. We are not playing the Samoa of old though.

      2. Cummings is exponentially improving at test level… he has rugby smarts…is athletic …sure handed…good turn of pace…and most importantly is combative and wants to break the line at every opportunity.
        I would not say any of the other locks have all that in their locker.
        Im sure GT will make him sit on the bench, if he’s lucky, and watch how not to play lock watching Meek Jonny and Powderpuff Gilchrist..who wouldn’t make into any other tier1 nations side..

        I can’t see anyone from our group beating either Sth Africa or NZ….infact it’ll be more like damage limitation.

      3. Thats highly unfair RuggersB I think both those locks would make the Italy squad/bench.

        Who knows how Ireland/Scotland will be performing by end of pool games.

      4. As for the locks issue, Toolis looked sore, I am just wondering now we have named him, will we need to take him if he is likely to regain fitness part way through the pools.Does anyone know the rules?

      5. I flicked through the Samoa game as well – looked like one of those that was close in score line but Australia never really looked like losing.

        Samoa did look better than I expected though, so we can’t take them too lightly.

      6. Fraser: Steady now, get back to being your positive self, we don’t need you converting to the dark side this early in the world cup.

        Samoa always give us a bit of a pummeling early on , they disrupt,target big hits on key positions. They just do not seem to maintain it for a whole match. I would not want to let them get ahead early or it is a long game . Always punitive, we are likely to sustain some damage in the hits. I think we better keep Taylor and Russell on the bench for that game.

      7. Australia were thrashing Samoa with tactical kicking – until they got sucked into tit-for-tat physicality and loose play.

        It will be a game for cool-heads and shrugging off the hits with as much of a smile as possible.

      8. I agree the physicality of Samoa is going to be a factor – finding the balance of putting out a good enough team to beat them without risking too many key or fragile players will be tricky – probably a very strong bench for that one I think.

        I am positive about getting out of the group, Japan and Samoa are not as good as us, but our second choice team might be a different matter – team selection for each game is going to be very important.

  21. Agree with many of the posts here, Cummings had a really good game and carried the ball frequently with real pace, that going to create space and options for fast distribution. What’s also to like along with graham is he’s clearly enjoying the opportunity and backs himself. For me he’s becoming a handful, and has to start against Ireland, as does graham, not to fault Seymour who is an excellent player, graham sends out a real message that Scotland want to play on the front foot as we will loose an arm wrestle with the irish

    1. Other than Russia I wouldn’t be comfortable with Hastings starting against any of our RWC opposition.

  22. I shuffled uncomfortably in my seat as I watched how the Irish shut down the Welsh & more so when Gatland confirmed “the Irish choked us” – if Russell, Hogg, Graham are given time & space we can be competitive, however Ireland know this only to well. We can win v Ireland but need to get front foot ball.

  23. Jp07, Hastings is funny…….. on occasions he looks a very decent alternative option @ 10 but on other occasions he looks hesitant.

  24. I think Hastings has had a rough deal this series. Finn has always played outside Greig and against France had Pete Horne outside, both these players take an enormous amount of pressure off him.
    Clearly GT knows that Finn/Laidlaw is the 1st choice half backs but I think Hastings would look a better player had he been in the teams Finn had.

  25. Hogg



    Some really tough calls there.

    Right wing – gone for Graham as I think it’s a positive selection rather than picking someone like Seymour who’s better in the air, purely to negate the Irish. Really happy with all back 3 players in the squad and I don’t think there’s a bad combination between them.

    Centre – on paper i like Johnson/ Taylor partnership. It’s just a shame it’s taken this long to test it out.

    Loosehead – don’t think Dell is a strong enough scrummager to start the game. Reid did well against France at Murrayfield. Bring Dell on later on to pick up the pace if required.

    No. 8 – was impressed by Thompson against France at Murrayfield, he’s physical, athletic and got good hands. Unsure about his durability though. I’ve gone for Wilson as I think experience will be key in the first match and the Barclay/ Watson/ Wilson combo was a massive reason for some of our biggest performances recently.

  26. Last 6N v Ireland – POM injured Hogg, Pro14 v Munster Kearney injured Hogg. I reckon they’ll try & do it again

    1. Hogg was the key man who bagged two early tries against Ireland in 2017 which led to the win. They clearly know he is a danger man. I really hope the senior players ask Barnes to look at the TMO if they injure him again. I think Hogg clutched his head last time in the hope that it would force a referral to TMO but they didn’t bother. The players need to prepare for it and not be deflated if he does go off.

      1. Saint4805, exactly & particularly the last point re deflation, you can “feel” the disappointment around the stadium if Hogg gets injured. He is the heartbeat of the team

      2. To guarantee a TMO you need to go down stay down and await the doctor so game is stopped at next whistle.

        TMO has so much to check it isn’t easy so anything well off the ball is unlikely to be seen.

        We need to be smart. So annoyed with some of the analysis on PMO Hogg who calmly said it was only a penalty so didn’t affect the match. Yellow or pen is mostly irrelevant. Ireland got a try and took all our momentum. It was crucial it was picked up. BBC at half-time went to town. The Offcial Scottish Rugby podcast not so much. Really poor and feeble from them

  27. Shame for a young guy coming off a good season, but Ritchie will be back bigger and better. But really corrects the issue that GT had picked too many 6s – should never have had all of Barclay, Wilson and Ritchie. Bradbury is a hugely welcome addition.

    Shame we still don’t have any 13s.

    1. Ritchie was covering 7! We now have no open side apart from Watson, unless you consider Barclay moving back to 7. I guess if push comes to shove Turner can fill in back there, or even Brown but as his fitness is still to be proven those options might not be available.

      1. Ritchie, Barclay, Wilson all have similar skill sets. As you say Watson comes first at 7, but Barclay in particular is easily a test 7. I think Bradbury for one of them improves the options and reduces the concerns about Thomson. I just wish Jones was there for when we realise there’s no cutting edge in the midfield.

      2. Bradbury should have been there instead of Wilson anyway.
        Wilsons inclusion is about as ‘annoying’ to many fans as it allegedly to the opposition. Ive read all the pro Wilson comments.He is average…imo..about the same level as Rob Harley…a club guy.

        Barclay covers 6 and 7 better than Wilson. Bradbury covers 6 and 8.

  28. The centre selection is an interesting one. I totally get the clamour for Hutchinson and Jones on the basis that they can on their day provide some X factor but if Gatland or Schmidt were picking a Scotland squad I can’t help but think they’d go for the likes of Harris too. Not sure about P Horne but I imagine they’d go for experience and defensive solidity in midfield over x factor so maybe Toonie isn’t far off after all. P Horne is in because Toonie clearly rates him and his versatility obviously appeals.

  29. Ireland’s victory yesterday with their first XV playing brought into sharp focus the fact we have played 4 games and not really come close to playing our first XV – especially in our two vital areas of backrow and centre.

    On Friday Johnson looked lost at times with Taylor outside him – is it any wonder, it’s their first time playing together.

    That Irish team were creaking but have played themselves back into the formidable side they can be and will hit the ground running.

    Meanwhile Toonie is still working out after 2yrs what his best side is.

    1. Ireland played a Wales side who looked like they were in a training match. Which is exactly what they are.
      Ireland are nowhere near world no1 ranking ..’formidable’ ?…ha!..NZ or Sth Africa would tear them another new one …in addition to the one England just provided for them. More like somewhere between #6 and #8 imo.
      If we can’t beat Ireland we stand little chance of beating our QF opponent, if we even get there.

      1. No welsh side sets out to lose. Wales were dominated and got little possession. What they did get was quickly dispossessed by an improved Ireland side. In Toonie;s tenure we have played Ireland three times and lost. It has to change sometime, at least we know what side they will put out, they haven’t a clue what our coach will do next.

      2. Campbell B…..why does it ‘have to happen sometime’ …Scotland beating Ireland??
        It’ll happen when we finally learn to play differently against them. GT played 3 lost 3… there is no indication yet he has learned the tactics to play against them.
        We’ll be starved of space and ball… Ireland will finish opportunities they get…we’ll pretend its because we ‘didn’t turn up’..or ‘it was the refs fault’..spit our dummy out and bemoan Irelands ‘boring’ style of rugby.
        It would be soo refreshing if GT did the opposite and actually played intelligent tactics against them… we’ll see.. there is always hope.

        ..and yes …their team will be well versed on what GT will likely do, what the likely selection will be…the pros and cons of our main threats etc. Their coaching and analytics team will look at a range of footage of Scotland under Townsend and look of the common denominators. Just like all the top coaching teams do. GT will need to do something he hasn’t done before to knock their tactics off balance.

      3. Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding. We know what side Ireland will play, they are settled and playing together. I actually meant Ireland will have no idea what Toonie will do because he is so inconsistent. What is our test side? When was it last seen in action ? Does anyone know ! Neil’s selection is as good as any. Townsend’s latest prank was playing club combinations (Edinburgh front 5 etc) , Harris anywhere., I could go on but it is boring .Surely it is only a matter of time before someone calls him to account .

        We have beaten Ireland recently when we were the underdogs at home .

        But we had VERN COTTER in charge, a coach who’s pedigree commanded respect from his peers.

        Townsend wants to play fast rugby, fittest men on earth and all that. It sounds like he needs to go and coach the 7’s team.

      4. RuggersB: Scotland have only played Ireland twice under Toonie. And I didn’t read any comments blaming the ref or claiming that we didn’t turn up: we lost because we lacked composure. We created more than enough opportunities to win in both games. Of course, it would have helped had the officials appropriately punished PoM and Kearney this year- that’s a 14-point swing and at least one yellow card.

        As with our draw with England, the solution isn’t to change our game plan, it’s to execute it better.

    2. I can’t see us beating Ireland if I’m honest. On paper we have a Team capable enough but too many individuals and combinations still not sufficiently bedded in IMO. Far too many errors. If we can get out of the group we can trouble anyone as I would expect to see significant game on game improvement but I think the Ireland game will come too soon unfortunately.

      1. Even if we do we are out in the quarters. All this hype is pointless. The RWC feels like the lions tour given our draw.

  30. Well will GT tinkering over the last few years come back to haunt him?

    There are certain key combinations that have not played enough together, to deliver at this high level.

    Still can’t accept that HJ or RH have not made the squad.

    I hope it will not become a critical issue but I am not overly confident, wish the team all the best.

    1. It’s not so much GT tinkering as that we’ve had horrendous luck with injuries over the last couple of years. We’ve struggled to put a full strength squad out up until now.

      There’s a couple of players that haven’t made it that many would have included, but apart from that the squad he’s chosen isn’t too controversial.

      1. I do not agree , the injuries are distractions he is continually experimenting, Club front and second rows , Harris has been played anywhere to get him game time.

  31. Looks like Darcy ‘Rudy’ Graham will be watching the Ireland match wearing his comfy slippers rather than footy boots….GT saying ‘its good that Darcy is playing well and is contributing whether he is playing, on the bench or even if not selected and pushing the others to be better.’….. awesome Seymour in his usual spot …Kinghorn on the bench… the curse of a man of the match performance.

  32. Rob Robertson at SDM tweeting that good chance Ritchie will still be fit for opening game against Ireland as injury not as bad as feared.

    Some big calls to be made at lock, blindside and wing. I really hope GT backs form and selects Cummings and Graham. Think Wilson might be a better 6 to start than Barclay who doesn’t seem to be quite back up to speed.

  33. Just watched Squidge Rugbys latest video on Japan, they are more organised than i thought they would be and suggest having a look at it..


    There was an awful hidden message on John Hardie basically taking the piss out of him for his previous drug problem which i thought was in really bad taste and should not go unpunished, perhaps one of the social media boffins with ‘clout’ could let him know this is not acceptable ?

  34. Other than the injuries, I thought that was about as reasonable a result as we could hope for. A relatively easy win over a Georgian side that was smarting after last week.
    OK – there were errors and these need to be ironed out, but not conceding a try all game (or any points in the second half) has to be seen as a positive. Especially given our recent history in defence.
    Like others, Graham and Cummings have pushed for a case in the starting XV, and I would be surprised if they weren’t in the 23 for Ireland. Feel for Ritchie and hope he recovers quickly and well, although Bradbury is great cover.
    Townsend has managed to build a decent squad where pretty much all of the 31 have a reasonable case to make for their inclusion against Ireland. I just wish he’d settled on a starting XV a bit earlier. But injuries, form and the fixtures didn’t help him. I have to say that when I saw the warm-up fixtures I thought then it would have been better preparation if they were reversed:
    First up Georgia at home, then Georgia away, then France at home the France away.

    1. I wouldn’t say GT gets the credit for building any perceived depth we have.
      Many players were given game time during the 6N due to an unprecedented spate of injuries.
      GT plays his favs otherwise…

      The R Hutchinson squad omission highlights this….the lad did everything asked of him…and adjusted to test rugby like a duck to water…clearly added value to the backs…yet was bumped for ‘experience’. An in form try scoring defending well Graham not even in the 23 for the Oirlund match will be the next perplexing selection.

  35. Not sure there’s much else to add now it’s just counting down to kick off but now the dust has settled on the last 4 weeks I think the warm ups were adequate for us to select a squad but I don’t feel we have done anything to really prepare for Ireland in those tests. This would be fine if Ireland was later in the pool but they are not. What have we learned? Cummings looked test standard against a T2 side. Taylor is injury free, Harris is competent, Z Fagerson is increasingly a liability, Thompson is injury prone. I honestly do not see what we have learned which will help us against Ireland other than Cummings and Graham are hungry and capable. What evidence is there that we will be able to do anything other than exactly what has failed against Ireland for the past 2 seasons? Ireland have struggled against solid packs with dominant defences. We have neither.

    1. I think Ireland really struggle against teams where they also focus on defense 1st…attack 2nd.
      His focus seems to be on attack 1st defense 2nd. Its a focus that I disagree with… you have to earn the right to attack…its fundamental to most competitive sports. Our defense is reactionary and scrambling…the top sides all use structured ,proactive, rush defense to prevent any meaningful attack…because it’s effective. It gets results.
      GTs style or rugby outlook is good for highlights reels….not winning critical matches at major competitions.

      1. It’s also high risk high regard which means that it’s not sustainable. That ethos will never serve up half a dozen consecutive wins against T1 opposition.

  36. Head to head

    Dell – Furlong
    McInally – Best
    Nel – Healy
    Cummings – Ryan
    Gilchrist – Henderson
    Wilson – Beirne
    Watson – O’Mahony
    Thomson – Stander

    Laidlaw – Murray
    Russell – Sexton
    Graham – Larmour
    Johnson – Henshaw
    Taylor – Aki
    Maitland – Stockdale
    Hogg – Kearney


    Townsend – Schmidt
    Wilson – Farrell
    Blair – Easterby
    Taylor – Feek
    Blank – Murphy

    The experience and continuity in pairing is ridiculously in favour of Ireland, there pack is going to monster us and there will be tons of high balls and territory kicks.. i dont see how we can win that match considering we never put out a squad which is roughly the same, Ireland have recovered after there loss against England and it fired them up, don’t expect this side to show any signs of faltering.

    1. Neil, I don’t believe the Irish pack will monster us. They couldn’t do it at Murrayfield this year and they won’t on 22 September either. Toonie has the forwards available to him to put out a pack that can compete fully against a waning Ireland forward unit, and if we can shove it right back at them in the first quarter they will struggle to think about what other plan they can revert to – and basically they haven’t got another (legal) plan to fall back on. To pull that first period front up off, we need a ruthless and brutal (but legal) mindset from the off. Do that, and it will be Ireland answering questions and not us in the first exchanges.
      Ireland aren’t as good as they were in 16 to 18. We’re better than we were in RWC 15. It’ll be an evenly matched square go on 22 September and although defeat is a possibility, there’s no reason to be defeatist about our opener.

  37. Blimey there’s a lot of negativity out there. This squad is, in my opinion, the best we’ve sent to a RWC since 1991.

    Some of you bemoan the fact that we don’t have enough experience or continuity, and then want GT to pick Cummings (1 cap), Graham (7 caps), Thomson (1 cap). Personally I think Graham has done enough but not the other two.

    Others think our defence is weak and GT is focused too much on attack, and then complain about leaving out Hutchinson and Huw Jones, or why isn’t George Horne starting.

    Ireland are massive favourites for the first match, not least because they are #1 in the world. Obviously the rankings have been skewed by the warm-up games but they have been in the top 3 for about 2 years.

    If you think we can beat them by playing their game – trundle it up the middle, kick to the corners, pressure defence, keep possession – then you are deluded. I LOVE the way we play. Exciting, fast rugby where we attack from anywhere.

    Obviously we need to tighten defence and cut out the unforced errors, but we will beat the Irish with brilliance and bravery and I for one am confident we will upset the odds.

    1. Cummings, Graham and Hutchinson have simply looked better players.. during the opportunities given ..than players continuously selected.
      ‘Experience’ and ‘Continuity’ of mediocre 6N performances and the like is not desirable experience.
      Thompson should get a shot at 8 ….simply because nobody has looked good enough at 8 …with the exception of half a match from Bradbury…who wasn’t even selected. We are poor at 8…. and it matters. Thompson is all we’ve got with a modicum of talent in that position.
      If you think we can play the same ‘attacking game’ …with a 3 games played 3 games lost record against Ireland…Id say you are the one deluded.
      Everyone loves to see tries scored with skill and speed…however ..everyone also wants a successful team…team success is built off a platform of excellent defense. Ou defense systems have looked disjointed and we are only effective at scramble defense. England Wales and Ireland are structured, organized and fast in defense…they have become that way because their respective coaches know that is both sustainable and effective long term. We have a reactionary defense that we can sustains for a match never mind a major competition.

      1. No worries… played 2 lost 2… thanks for the update.
        Beaten home and away.
        Same point(s) applies then.

      2. Another useful stat for thought…is that 2013 was the last time Ireland scored less than 22 points in a match against us.

        Id say we’ll need to score at least 3 or 4 tries to have a chance of beating them …something we last did under VC in “17 when we won.

      3. And the same rebuttal applies: we need to execute our game plan better, not throw it out the window. A lot of pros point out that there’s not really a ‘plan b’ at this level.

      4. Id say we need to stop shipping tries as easily as we do.Nobody thinks are attack isn’t great…it can be…but NZ score great tries …SA score great tries…in fact all the teams ranked higher than us score great tries…the difference maker is that they also defend extremely well and far more consistently. Look at Fiji…terrific free flowing skill sets…some amazing tries for the youtube highlights reels…what have they won? zip
        ‘Fastest rugby in the world’ is nonsense… especially if we cant do the basics consistently. Its like we are still in Groundhog day with our defense. ….we just need to work on a few things in training and we’ll be good….. we just need to tighten our defense… never heard that one before. We play defense like we got our systems on post it notes in the changing rooms.

      5. Shipping fewer tries is an example of executing our game plan better… we conceded one try and scored five in the second half against England.

      6. Of course …but then thats generic …its everyone in the world cups plan…if it wasn’t that would be bizarre. Its rugby 101.
        Reality is nobody knows what our actual game plan is except the coaches and players. Doesn’t mean people watching can’t comment on what they see as difficiencies in defensive play.

  38. My 23 for the Ireland match –
    1. Dell
    2. McInally
    3. Berghan
    4. Cummins
    5. Gilchrist
    6. Thompson
    7. Watson
    8. Bradbury (If added to full squad)

    9. Laidlaw
    10. Russell
    11. Maitland
    12. Johnson
    13. Taylor
    14. Graham
    15. Hogg

    Subs –

    1. Why have you decided Berghan over Nel ? & if Bradbury is not added what will your backrow composition be ?

      1. I think its a fair personal selection… but unlikely to be GTs.
        Nel will start.
        Gilchrist & Gray(if fit). Cummings or Toolis on bench.
        Seymour will start. Graham may or may not be in 23.
        Thompson , Barclay or Ritchie on bench …GT likely to play Wilson at 8 Watson 7 Barclay or Ritchie at 6.
        Wouldn’t even be surprised to see Johnson not in 23…with P Horne and Taylor in the centre with Harris on the bench.

        Not my selections… but what I reckon GT will go for. Experience/favs.

      2. Neil –
        I think that around the park Berghan has much more to offer then Nel and solid enough in the scrum. As well as adding much needed bulk in the pack.

        Not such about the backrow, a full strength Barkley would be a definite but not sure he is 100% atm. Richie if not Bradbury with Blade moving to eight but doubt GT would go for that.

  39. My team vs Ireland:

    Dell, McInally, Nel
    Gray, Cummings
    Wilson, Thomson, Watson
    Laidlaw, Russell
    Graham, Johnson, Taylor, Maitland

    Reid, Brown, Fagerson, Toolis, Barclay, Horne, Horne, Seymour

    1. My team would be ….(based on what we have available for selection…)

      My team vs Ireland:

      Dell, McInally, Nel
      Gray, Cummings
      Barclay, Watson, Thomson
      Laidlaw, Russell
      Graham, Johnson, Taylor, Maitland

      Reid, Brown, Berghan, Ritchie, G Horne, P Horne, Gilchrist/Toolis/a traffic cone or homer simpson, Seymour

    2. Think that would be mine too, FF.
      Maybe Gilchrist over Toolis and Kinghorn over Seymour on the bench, but certainly a starting XV with potential.

    3. Looks about right. I’d maybe also have Gilco ahead of Toolis, but would stick with Seymour on the bench, leaning slightly toward experience rather than form.

      1. If I’m honest I forgot about Kinghorn. He’d probably just edge Seymour for me too as he is a better impact player. I do slightly worry about his composure in high pressure games but that is just inexperience I think. Not like Seymour doesn’t have a couple of bloopers on his cv either.

  40. What’s with people picking Thomson to start, based on what? Hasn’t played in months and did nowt when he did play a wee bit recently. I want a big, heavy, ugly guy at 8, that’s Bradbury. He’s the only one that looks a bit intimidating and can smash holes in defenses. Thomson’s beard and shaven pate doesn’t look scary I’m afraid, should’ve be in the team.

    Anyone else going to Japan?

  41. Team for Ireland:

    Reid, McInally, Nel
    Gray, Gilchrist
    Barclay, Thomson, Watson
    Laidlaw, Russell
    Graham, Taylor (12), Johnson (13), Maitland

    Dell, Brown, Berghan, Cummings, Bradbury/Wilson, Price, P Horne (should be Huw Jones), Seymour/Kinghorn

    Back at Glasgow:

    ‘ “And, to be honest, we’ve also talked about playing Huw Jones there because it would really suit our style of game and we’ve got a lot of really good midfielders. Huw is interested in that as well.”

    Rennie recognises that Jones’ only real chance of re-establishing himself as a frontline Scotland player is as a centre, so it is unlikely that he will try to reinvent the player as an out-and-out full-back, but believes that mixing things up in the short term could be a good thing for everyone involved.

    “In the end, he wants to cement the centre position. He is disappointed to be back [with Glasgow Warriors] prior to the World Cup, but his attitude has been great,” said the coach. “He will start this week [at centre] and can push for a starting spot against the Cheetahs.”’

    Note the attitude folks!

    (via TheOffsideLine)

    1. Good update on Huw Jones. It would be good to speak with him directly , he has many concerned and supportive fans.We are all behind him.

      Full back , toxic at Glasgow , everyone will compare him to Hogg and I am not confident he is a kicker.

      Hogg will actually soon be forgotten at Glasgow but that immediate successor will not be easy. I think Rennie is not actually giving him an opportunity, he is simply offloading his own issue to a transient.

      Huw just needs to get out and go elsewhere , he is throwing his pearls to swine at Glasgow. He should write off playing for Gregor Townsend’s Scotland and just concentrate on finding the right club and coach for him. Both Rennie and Townsend inherited him , he should now find one who wants him in their plans.

      I hope I never have to write the name of Hogg in the same post as Huw Jones again. I really rate Huw Jones and that attitude that NRS comments on is why. It is all goodness in him.

      1. Forgot to say : The current situation must be a huge weight off Huw Jones shoulders. He no longer has to be loyal to Rennie or Townsend. That must be a relief for him. The only man that counts right now, is the man in the mirror and he is bigger than both of them.

      2. I really struggle to understand a lot of the anguish that some people seem to go through over the ups and downs of Jones. Compared to many of his peers, he’s a relatively inexperienced player who rose quickly from relative obscurity and made an immediate impact when he first burst onto the scene. A few months pass, teams work him out and he becomes a marked man. They aggressively shut down space when he has the ball and start sending big runners down his channel testing him defensively in a way he’s not experienced before, forcing him to have to try and adapt and change the way he plays the game.

        He’s slowly trying to work this out, and while he does that no amount of natural flair will enable him to withstand the scrutiny of experienced coaches in an environment where every little nuance of your performance in training and in matches is analysed. Rennie and Townsend will be very keen for Jones to be pushing hard for selection, but every Glasgow supporter knows that he’s not there yet. There is no conspiracy, no ‘Toxic’ environment, it’s just rugby. Like most players, sometimes he’s on fire and other times he’s a bit sh*t. He just needs to work out how to be more consistently the former, whilst still managing to deliver on the basics when he’s the latter.

      3. Andy_N – supporters are anguished because we are a small nation with very limited depth. We’ve already lost a remarkable talent to injury in Bennett. We really need to nurture talent we have – I’m. It sure that is the case with Jones.

        I don’t think he has suffered because he’s been worked out, I think he’s struggled to fit in at Glasgow. Both him and Dunbar were effectively told that when they were in scotland camp their Glasgow replacements owned the shirt and they had to win it back off them – without having the luxury of regular starts and whilst being taken away for Scotland camp. Both of these proven talents have subsequently struggled. Dunbar made it clear Rennie never really explained what he needed to do to win selection and he was mystified about being left out in the cold. I don’t think either Dunbar or Jones’ form was so bad to earn the derision some fans have given them tbh.

        The kicked though, is that both Dunbar and Jones were persuaded to stay at Glasgow at critical points when they had options to go to new environments. Their decision to stay at Glasgow backfired badly.

        I don’t think it necessarily means the environment at Glasgow is toxic – that clearly isn’t the case. It is a bad failure in man management of our most precious resource though. Jones at his best is a game changer. We can’t afford to lose players of his calibre frankly.

      4. FF….I wouldn’t write off Mark Bennett yet – he looked sharp at the weekend.

        When you say ‘lose players of his calibre’ what do you mean? That they take a big cream puff and retire from international rugby or that they make like the littlest hobo and just keep moving on? I get annoyed by this ‘Poor Wee Us’ attitude. Nurture talent by all means, but we don’t need to mollycoddle these guys. I like Jones a lot but he needs consistent game time to find his best form and I really hope that a strong pre-season and a good run of games during the World Cup gives him that opportunity, and that he grabs it with both hands.

        Dunbar was a difficult one. My heart wanted him to stay, but my head knew he’d been in the departure lounge for some time. Just seemed to get constantly broken by the Scotstoun pitch (personal view, not backed up by research/data/actual facts). I think he’ll be much better off on softer tracks where he can hopefully enjoy a few years yet of top level rugby, but I fear that internationally, he’s been overtaken by the young guys. Maybe tomorrow, he’ll want to settle down, but till tomorrow, he’ll probably just keep moving on….

      5. Andy – please list the games Huw Jones player so badly for Glasgow?? Don’t remember him seriously featuring in any of the bad beats or letting his team down. He’s barely had a look in since first injury. Frankly, the case against him is (1) he missed a couple of tackles against Wales in the same game (and there were positional circumstances broken down at length elsewhere), (2) he missed one try scoring pass against Ireland after a searing break he made himself out of nothing. Since then he’s been thrown into the wilderness and not backed at club or country and it’s all been behind the scenes. This with the guy moving from SA; staying at Glasgow despite assurances and offers elsewhere; never causing any reported fuss or being less than exemplary professional; and engaging with Scottish fans more than most. This against a tonne of sh** hot performances including against each of the big beasts – Australia, NZ and SA, not to mention two Calcutta Cups (the disaster and triumph) and more. The problem is not seeing a talented player in his prime at the World Cup for a team with limited resources when there are clearly less able players in his place. As FF says we can’t afford to burn through players like Jones, Bennett, Scott, Dunbar in favour of the Harris and Hornes. Frankly you’d leave Hastings or Seymour at home to get him on the plane. As positions are better covered. Only Bennett’s pace kept us in the last QF and we’re gonna be playing NZ, SA not Ireland this time round.

      6. Andy_N you say Jones needs consistent game time to find his form. That’s exactly what he hasn’t had at Glasgow. He hasn’t gone off in a huff or gone into retirement, just plugged away and spent most of his time at Glasgow on the fringes of the squad which has led to the loss of his international form. Pretty rubbish way to treat huge assets to Scottish rugby IMO

        I’d be shocked if Bennett is ever capped again.

      7. I really hope Bennett’s legs hold out and he is able to just get a run of form, play his rugby, get his mindset right, and push for the test side again. He’s still a fairly young man and still at an age where some may just be breaking through for international honours. It must be a particularly challenging situation to reinstate yourself after being a shining (and successful) young talent, and then be more or less wiped out of the game by injury for years, just when you’re trying to establish yourself.

      8. To be clear what I was trying to say is following Hogg into the Fullback position will be toxic for Jones.

        It would be toxic for anyone going in after Hogg, let alone a man trying to regain form and out of position. It will just be a tirade of comparison and rear view mirrors will always be rose tinted. Is Rennie trying to bury him!

        I did not say what is being implied.Nor did I say ‘the environment at Glasgow is toxic ‘ or anything about a ‘conspiracy’ . Just for the record lads.

        However , the rest of my post is clear, it is not the place for Huw Jones , or rather, it is not any longer.

        One last thing, it is not just rugby, it is work, often it is time to change .

      9. Remind me of the history , Bennett went to the Olympics and never really found form afterwards. Shortly thereafter (I think) he was offloaded to Edinburgh or was he still with Glasgow on his return ! After arriving at Edinburgh he was injured. and then injured. Now that is loosely factual.

        I can not name another scotsman with an Olympic medal. I wonder how the discussion to get released for the Olympics went?

      10. Think bennet has at leat two shocker injuries. First was whilst he was still at Glasgow (not really convincing but still a Cotter favourite) and came off the bench in the massacre Tab twickenham. He was injured within about 5 minutes and out for the best part of a year. Made his comeback with Glasgow but nowhere near earning a starting spot so transferred to Edinburgh, a couple of games in his second shocker injury. Out for a year and is now making his comeback again.

        He’s had horrendous injury luck but you are right he was well off the boil when he returned from 7s.

    2. Bennett had to change his physique a bit for the 7s I think, when he returned he was a bit lightweight for an international centre. He still seemed a bit light when I saw him for Edinburgh at the tail end of the season but hopefully a full run at preseason (something I don’t think he’s had in years) will have helped him.

  42. On the whole if a natural disaster happens which prevents a game occurring results in a draw, i don’t understand why they don’t have alternative indoor facilities to be played without fans, at the very least that gives the teams a fair chance and fans could still watch the games on tv.

  43. I’m not sure if Toonie’s high execution gameplan aligns with the tombola. Maybe that’s why we often start slow and get better as series go on and players get used to it.
    In fairness to Toonie last 6N was the time to settle the team and we were minced by injury.
    On the plus we have world class attacking backs even in reserve and we can score incredible tries.
    Positive mindset!

  44. Looks like Henshaw is crocked with a hamstring injury. He looked really good last weekend and will be missed by the Irish. Hopefully we can take advantage although Ringrose or Farrell aren’t shabby replacements.

    1. …also looks it be pretty blowey and wet….Typhoon heading on course with match. Cooler temps predicted tho.

      Those kind of conditions probably favour Ireland’s playing style ..Id think.

      1. Yeah that’s pretty disappointing. Favours one out passes, attrition and hoisting kicks up onto the back 3. I think that does huge damage to our chances of causing an upset

      2. I wonder if GT will change his original thoughts on selections based on predicted conditions..or even if he can…considering team selection is announced a few days out…as weather patterns change.

        If we are forced to play same style as Ireland …we will lose.

        Im not a fan of their traditional style of play…but they are good at what they do. We are not good at what they do.

      3. I think if we had Watson, Bradbury and Blade in the BR, Cummings in the SR, and Brown in the FR we could probably do alright at that style of game. The issue would be Finn getting bored…!

      4. Bypassing Fin isn’t an option for us. If he plays well ..we play well.
        His style of play is not suited to slippery conditions ..ball in hand or underfoot. Hope he brought his nitrile gloves.

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