Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland v Samoa, RWC 2019: Match Preview pt I

[Edinburgh, UK. November 11, 2017] Scotland players face the Siva Tau before Scotland vs Samoa at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. (c) ALASTAIR ROSS | Novantae Photography Photo Credit: Alastair Ross / Novantae Photography

KO 11.15am (7.15pm local time)
Monday 30th September 2019

Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe City

Live on ITV1

Having put Scotland’s dismal past against Tier 1 nations front and centre for last week’s preview then ahead of the game with Samoa it’s only fair to highlight the dark blues’ perfect record versus Tier 2 and 3 teams.

20 matches have come and gone across 8 tournaments and the win rate has remained at 100% against opposition from outside the top level.

There have been close calls mind you. Few closer than four years ago against the same opposition as Monday’s game. A Samoan side with no chance of progressing further in the 2015 tournament gave Scotland a real scare in Newcastle and nearly ended their chances of making the quarter-finals.

Scotland’s record against Tier 2/3 nations in RWC matches:

  • Japan – P3 W3
  • Romania – P3 W3
  • Samoa / Western Samoa – P3 W3
  • USA – P2 W2
  • Zimbabwe – P2 W2
  • Fiji – P1 W1
  • Georgia – P1 W1
  • Ivory Coast – P1 W1
  • Portugal – P1 W1
  • Spain – P1 W1
  • Tonga – P1 W1
  • Uruguay – P1 W1

Samoa Scouting Report

Record in this RWC cycle

Played – 24
Won – 6
Drawn – 1
Lost – 17

Nobody in Pool A has played fewer Tests in this RWC cycle than Samoa. Next in line are Japan with 31. Ireland, Russia and Scotland have all played 40+ capped internationals in the last 4 years.

Manu Samoa have played 6 times against Tier 1 opposition since 2015, losing all 6 by an average score of 15 – 46. Those numbers are skewed by a 0 – 78 hammering from the All Blacks though. The Pacific islanders did get within 2 points of Wales in Apia and within 6 points of Scotland at Murrayfield.

Danger man

For those who saw his performance at Murrayfield where he was quite probably the outstanding individual on the pitch that day, it would be hard to believe that the 2017 Autumn Test series would be followed by a 2 year hiatus in Tim Nanai-Williams’ Samoa career. The utility back only returned to his national side for their final RWC warm-up match against Australia.

If he makes the starting XV he’ll bring previous experience of conditions in Japan from two seasons in the Top League with the Ricoh Black Rams. More recently he’s been teammates with Greig Laidlaw at Clermont, demonstrating his versatility by starting games at stand off, full back and on the wing.

His presence takes some of the pressure off veteran stand off, Tusi Pisi as the key decision-maker. An elusive runner, Nani-Williams will pop up everywhere and the Scottish defence will need to be at its best to stop him finding gaps or creating space for others.

Key stats from Round 1

Samoa played Russia in their opening game of the 2019 RWC. These were some of the takeaways from that fixture:

  • 270 metres made with ball in hand by Samoa’s wingers. (By contrast the entire Scotland 23 made 301m against Ireland.) There is a lot of passing from their key playmakers with the intention of getting the ball wide. The Scottish defence cannot afford to be as narrow (or as charitable) as Russia’s was.
  • 47% tackle completion by Russia’s backs. The Samoan backline features plenty of power and quick feet. Overall they broke 33 tackles so they were beating Russian forwards as well as backs.
  • 53 tackles attempted by Samoa’s back row. They might have lost starting number 8 Afaesetiti Amosa to injury in the first half but that didn’t slow down the work rate of the loose trio. They will try to dominate the tackle area to slow Scottish ball.
  • 2 successful kicks from 7 attempts. If the game had remained tight such profligacy might have cost Samoa. As it is Scotland shouldn’t rely on a repeat performance as streaky kickers can as easily go 90/100% from the tee in a one-off match. Better to avoid giving them kicks at goal altogether!
  • 2 yellow cards. It could easily have been 2 reds on the day plus there has been a citing commissioner warning (equivalent to a yellow) for a separate incident that was missed completely. If Samoan indiscipline is an issue on Monday then Scotland have to take advantage and turn it into points on the scoreboard.

Previous results

Scotland have played Samoa 11 times with the countries’ first meeting coming in the quarter-finals of the 1991 World Cup. The head to head looks like this from Scotland’s perspective (RWC matches underlined):


It’s worth noting that in each of Scotland’s last 4 wins (since 2010) Samoa have finished the match less than a converted try down on the scoreboard. It’s probably worth preparing for another nervous 80 minutes’ viewing…

Most recent meeting:

Scotland 44 – 38 Samoa

Significant stat
18 turnovers conceded by Scotland. The attack was firing in this match – when Scotland held on to the ball. The trouble was possession was frequently conceded too easily and instead of being able to shut Samoa out of the game the visitors were given opportunity after opportunity to keep coming back.

There were only 2 lost rucks and 1 lost maul so nearly all the turnovers came from handling errors. Scotland will need to do an awful lot better in this facet of the game if they are to put Samoa away on Monday.

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


Referee:  Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Referee 1: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referee 2: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

This will be the 29th game of the Townsend era. It will also be the 7th occasion in that period that M. Gauzere has taken charge of a Scotland match. Scotland haven’t lost the penalty count in any of those games, which is a record they will want to extend against Samoa.

The French official seemed a bit irritable last time round in Georgia, dishing out 25 penalties in total. That was a rather scrappy warm-up match with little on the line. In the cauldron of a meaningful RWC match, the expectation would be that M. Gauzere, in common with most experienced officials, will look to keep the game flowing and the penalty count will be lower.

With tackle heights a massive focus though (especially in light of some high profile on-field misses by the officials in the first week), even the most laissez faire referees surely won’t hesitate to go to their cards during the rest of the tournament. Scotland need to keep low to avoid the kind of problems that could disfigure this game – and their remaining fixtures.

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

  • 2017 – beat Australia (H)
    Penalties: 18 (For 9 – 9 Against)
    Cards: Australia 1 RC + 1 YC
  • 2018 – lost to Wales (A)
    Penalties: 15 (For 8 – 7 Against)
    Cards: none
  • 2018 – beat Italy (A)
    Penalties: 14 (For 9 – 5 Against)
    Cards: none
  • 2019 – lost to Wales (H)
    Penalties: 20 (For 11 – 9 Against)
    Cards: none
  • 2019 – beat Georgia (A)
    Penalties: 25 (For 13 – 12 Against)
    Cards: none

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

163 Responses

  1. Samoa lost their number 8 to injury against Russia, Rey Lee-Lo to suspension and we will hear today what punishment their hooker will receive – presumably most likely to be a 3-match suspension as well.

    If Samoa keep up their confrontational style from the Russia game we should expect a flurry of red and yellow cards.

  2. Samoa do seem to be playing their own brand of Thugby. Will be interesting to see if they tone it down after the one and likely two suspensions.

    Watson, Wilson, Taylor & Seymour > Ritchie, Thompson, Harris & Graham please

    Let Barclay give his all for 50/60 to build up fitness and bring on Bradbury after that.

    Hope wee G Horne gets a good 20/30 mins run out.

    1. They also had Ed Fidow given a citing commissioners warning for a punch that was cited but didn’t meet the threshold for a red card on review.

      Scotland need a big response after Ireland; hopefully we can match their intensity and physicality and take advantage of their lack of set piece or defensive organisation. My concern is if we are sloppy, Samoa are devastating in the wide channels off turnover ball and we could play into their hands. Last time of course they just waltzed straight through the middle though…

  3. So in all the world cup history we’ve never lost to a Tier 2 team although it’s been close. Looking after the first round of fixtures with all teams now played in our group I think we could have so much tougher teams to play.

    None of these teams are in form and we should take care of them. That is if the players are switched on and aware that they’ll need to turn up.

  4. I seem to remember in the last game we’d built up a fairly comfortable lead by the 60th minute, then lobbed on our entire (and inexperienced) bench at once and lost all semblance of structure!!!

    We’ve done that again since, against Italy last 6N!

    1. Correct recollection. It was a scary time. I also remember something crucial happening that mean we scrapped over the line. Can’t remember what but we were lucky

  5. Scotland really should have more than enough to win this. Just need to be disciplined, play to their strengths and frustrate Samoa into losing their cool and giving away penalties and cards. The signs from the Samoa-Russia game were that Samoa are really not a good team right now, and that they seem intent on playing right on the edge of legality. Aside from the dangerous and illegal tackles, you could see that they set out to rough up and wind up Russia with a lot of off-the-ball agro, late hits. I was pretty unimpressed with it. You could say you expect the ferocious and borderline illegal high tackling style with the pacific islanders’ game, but I was disappointed by the amount of cynical foul play, late hits. I expect they’ll try just the same with Scotland. Hopefully Scotland have the maturity to just soak it up, keep their cool, wait for the penalties to come. Poor as Scotland were against Ireland, I think they can be tactically smart enough to win this one.

    The only worry I have for Scotland – is Townsend really wedded to this mythical “fastest and fittest” open running game? The one way I could see Samoa stealing this, if Scotland bizarrely want to run everything, if the game breaks down into a ragged free for all of open running rugby….probably the one area where Samoa are better than Scotland.

      1. I reckon Fagerson will play in this one… possibly from the bench tho.
        He is potentially our best TH …but he needs to rapidly mature for this level.
        Giving away needless penalties and losing the cool get punished at this level far more than at club level.
        He is the type of player we really need more of tho… he just rides a fine line.
        We could really use a 6′ 6″ zander fagerson at lock for eg.

      2. Exactly why he shouldn’t play this one. We don’t need our best players for this but the ones who are cool under a fair amount of pressure, intimidation, and brutality. We’ll win this one if we keep our heads. We get a player sent off then we risk losing this one. We get too caught up in the arm wrestle or too caught up in the broken play and throw the ball around we lose this one.

        We should have learned from Fiji, Samoa, and keep it tighter and learned from Ireland that we need more than just the fastest brand of rugby.

    1. ‘The signs from the Samoa-Russia game were that Samoa are really not a good team right now’

      You think Samoa watched the SCO IRE match and thought we were a better team?? We looked awful…we are now, more than prior to comp, a real target for Samoa and Japan.
      We’ll have to be clinical with our chances and put points on the board at every opportunity…the more confident Samoa become the more likely this could go pear shaped. Aggressive ,smart territorial rugby will be needed.

  6. On contrary. We need our aggro squad selected en masse to stand up to any intimation and get retaliation in first.

  7. *Highland Bear…. I’m not sure about that… who in that Scotland pack really strikes the fear of god into their opponents…? Ryan Wilson has the annoying wind-up skills for sure but he isn’t going to be able to physically intimidate the typical Samoan forward.

    I’d still say we have to play it squeaky clean, tight, accurate percentages rugby, don’t get dragged into a crazy brawl….Samoa will cough up enough penalties for Scotland to take advantage of. Don’t think Scotland have the b*lls or the physicality to take them on at their own game?

    1. Im over.. hearing about Ryan Wilsons alleged ‘wind up skills’
      A good test level quality back row player who plays with controlled aggression is what we need….NOT an average club level back row who just ‘annoys’ the opposition spouting cheap shots

      Ritchie, Bradbury, Watson, Barclay(fit), Thompson, Fagerson all far better players than Wilson…imo

      1. My team for Samoa 15 Kinghorn14 Graham 13 Harris 12 Johnson 11 Maitland 10 Russell 9 Laidlaw captain 8 Thompson 7 Ritchie 6 Barclay 5 Cummings 4Gray 3Nel 2 Brown 1 Reid Bench Dell Mcinally Fagerson Toolis Bradbury Horne Hastings Hogg thoughts

      2. To be fair I wouldn’t be against benching Hogg. I wasn’t impressed with him against Ireland, didn’t like his attitude, appreciate his frustration and effort but he can’t do it all himself and he really should know that by now. He’s not a new jumped up whippersnapper now, he’s one of our most experienced players.

  8. This is the worst Samoa side I remember seeing in 30 years of watching rugby. Scotland deserve to go out if they play Gregors fast and loose rugby. This is an easy team to beat just by playing territory and structure.

  9. Quite simply if we lose to Samoa then we don’t deserve to progress beyond the group stage. If we dish up another lacklustre, insipid performance like last weekend then we will lose. Fast and loose can work against teams like Samoa but it’s also a recipe for isolation, turnovers and injured players. Very little was good about our play last weekend, the tactics were questionable and the effort and execution woeful. We do seem to have one of these performances every year though, England 2017, Wales 2018… mind you we’ve had a few stinkers this year…

  10. My tactics for Samoa:

    Kick, lineout, maul; kick lineout maul; box kick, chase. Tight defense.

    Just strangle them with control.

    As soon as it gets wild they get a chance, and they’ll take it.

  11. Teams out:

    G Horne

    1. Strong team, not a huge amount to argue about after last week.

      Front row is fine
      2nd row would have started Cummings
      Back row very nice (only Watson would make it better)

      G.Horne was never going to get the start (maybe Russia….) and we need Russell for this one.

      Centres – ok for what we have available, Harris deserves a chance

      Back 3 would be my first choice.

      Bench is decent.

      1. I thought Barclay looked VERY lean v Ireland, now I’m no expert on body shapes but I reckon his wasn’t like that a couple of years ago.

      2. He has been blowing in the last few games, so presumably rested/dropped. Would be a good captain for the Russia game if Ritchie/Bradbury look good in this one.

        Same as Taylor – good players but not looking fully match fit.

  12. Japan showing Townsend how to play the fast game. It should be a dawdle for the ‘fittest team in the tournament’

    1. Absolutely! Rather making a mockery of all our pre-tournament hype. Japan made mistakes but they didn’t compound them in the way Scotland always seem to do. And they were so much more aggressive in everything they did.

  13. Watching the Japan game now. This is the first time since the pool was drawn that I have thought we are going to lose that game.

  14. Ireland haven’t got out of 2nd gear and are comfortably beating them so far.

    Good skills so far from Japan but I think Ireland will ease to this. We’ll see.

    1. I agree but I still think we are losing that game. A knock out game away from home against the hosts who are structured, quick, passionate and organised.

    2. All I can say , is we were beyond the point of no return after 20 minutes. Japan are not only in the game but moving Ireland around , so the last 20 mins in the heat will be interesting. Ireland had better win by 60 mins or its going to be tight.

      1. The longer it goes on the more doubts will creep in for Ireland.
        They haven’t looked up for it the way they did against Scotland.
        But….. Scotland were very tight with Japan at RWC 2015 then just eased to the win.
        Japan’s 5 day turnaround probably helped that.

        What Japan are showing is that if you compete with the Irish pack then they struggle like anyone else, especially with Carty at 10.

      2. Well I was right., again.

        I cannot believe the posters who dismissed intelligent posters , like me, who expressed concerns that the humidity of Japan would be a key factor.

  15. Steady CrazyP – think positive. The more I think the more I think Sam Skinner is a huge loss, lock seems to be an issue presently. Jonny Gray needs (how many times have I thought/said this now?) to step up & become our Iain Henderson. Japan were passionate & somewhat unlucky in 1st half but Ireland fairly comfortable

    1. Why do Scotland fans go so polar from believing we could win the whole thing to being beaten by Japan before we’ve even played them?????

      We’ve played Japan x2 in this RWC cycle, on both occasions in Japan, on both occasions we fielded a kind of hybrid development XV, on both occasions we didn’t play particularly well and on both occasions we WON.

      1. I don’t know ask them. I was never worried about Japan until they performed far better than we have. I sure as hell never thought we’d get beyond QF stage.

      2. I’m asking them.

        If you believe you’re beaten before kick of then generally you will be beaten at the final whistle.

        Big problem for us.

  16. Johnny b, to answer the 1st question posed – isn’t it called being Scottish??
    On the face of it doesn’t the Japanese style of playing suit us very nicely? Loose, explosive & prone to mistakes…..(not as many as we made last week mind)

    1. Japan are the T2 version of us. The problem is we’ve played like the T2 side so far. Monday is so important. Should Japan pull this off it’s back on for us winning the pool. If we’re all on the same points we’d drop to Ireland on head to head so maybe seconds the best we can hope for. Too many connotations at this stage

      1. Ireland must be favourites for top of the group unless Japan win all their games as they’ve picked up a win and losing bp.

    2. Why is this negative mindset intrinsically Scottish?
      Other teams go out and have a pop, we play within ourselves.

      I see the fans here who’ve gone from thinking we’ll beat Japan to thinking we’ll be thrashed by them.

      On the back of one performance against Ireland.

      Japan are still the same team they were when all you fans thought we’d turn em over!!

  17. Like I said , Last 20 mins in the heat , Ireland will suffer.Great referee and I suspect he will reach for a yellow soon.

  18. Whatever the final result, I am truly impressed with Japan. They are taking this to Ireland. Ireland will now go all forward play now

    1. Did Ireland play very well last week ? Or were Scotland poor ? I think we know the answer to that now.

  19. Ireland (& Wales) are brilliantly coached at making us look rubbish, physical rush defense, short kicks, double teaming Hogg/Russell. Japan will play like this against us = loads of space which should = Scotland “liking it”

  20. Japan are showing the meaning of playing with heart and passion. I believe this now means we will need bonus point wins in each match?

  21. What result would suit Scotland here? Would a Japanese win leave us needing to get a BP win against Japan, assuming everyone gets a BP win v Samoa?

    A draw would mean we only need to beat Japan without the BP? (which would be a hell of an achievement based on today)

    1. Beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

      We regret to announce your team is now on life support following a carty-cack arrest.

  22. Well done Japan in beating Ire. Well deserved and controlled the game wonderfully in second half. Ire looked exhausted. Ire vs NZ in quarterfinals! On that performance Scotland will struggle against Japan but you never know. One game at a time!

  23. Banzai!!! Delighted for Japan. Brilliant for rugby and the tournament. Bit of a disastrous indictment for Scotland.

  24. Woweeee!!!
    You’ve gotta love that.
    Well done Japan!

    From our perspective the pool is now cracked wide open!!

  25. Awesome from Japan. Time for a permutations article from Kevin?? Japan on 9, Ireland 6? So basically we are likely to need at least two bonus points and probably three and Samoa are in it as well – they have to target us on Monday. Gulp…..

    Japan deserve to go through at this point.

    1. Ireland were smart kicking it out – losing bp means they are through if they get bp in the last 2 games.

      Japan on 14 if they get bp against Samoa.

      Scotland go through with 3 5 pointers, or can drop 1 point as long as we beat Japan without them getting a bp as we go through for beating them if it’s a draw.

  26. Japan have the game to destroy us – their line speed will be too much.

    However, will they be able to cope with the pressure?

    1. Balderdash, Japan have a home advantage and a very cool coach. We have a temperamental gambler.I do not agree with you old boy. No one is buying this one.

  27. (I think) Ireland get a bonus point so even if we beat Japan will stay ahead of us. Could really have done with japan scoring at the end – a penalty ideally. Nothing really changes other than we are going to have to play out of our skins to beat Japan, assuming we bear Samoa and Russia.

  28. Well we are screwed. Assuming we all get BP against Russia and Samoa this could get messy. If we get a BP against Japan though.

    following criteria shall be used in the following order until one of the Teams can be determined as the higher ranked:

    The winner of the Match in which the two tied Teams have played each other shall be the higher ranked.
    The Team which has the best difference between points scored for and points scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked.
    The Team which has the best difference between tries scored for and tries scored against in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked.
    The Team which has scored most points in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked.
    The Team which has scored most tries in all its pool Matches shall be the higher ranked.
    Should the tie be unresolved at the conclusion of steps 1 through 5, the rankings as per the updated. Official World Rugby World Rankings on October 14, 2019 will determine the higher ranked Team.

    1. I think we are on the precipice now. Can’t see us scoring four tries against Japan (Let’s assume for the purposes of this post we somehow get our act together and can actually compete with them). So that leaves us max 14 points so assuming Japan beat Samoa with a BP then the just need a losing BP and we would be out. I don’t even think we will score four tries against Samoa so the above will be moot.

      Well worth it though to see Odriscoll’s smug smile wiped off his face!

      1. Was this result worth the look on O’Driscolls face tho?? I don’t care about Ireland’s situation…just ours!
        Ireland will likely qualify top of group still …now highly likely we won’t qualify. Which would mean we haven’t even performed to our ranking level going into this RWC…let alone competed.
        Its all getting very Argentina ’78 scottish rugby style.

  29. That Japanese ruck is the tool for Townsend’s fast rugby, how good was that. So exciting to watch.

    Do I think Townsend could give us that ! Sorry Gregor, come back in 10 years.

  30. What goes in our favour if (and it’s a big if) we get a BP win against Samoa is that Japan will then face a Samoa team fighting to survive. Would still be surprised if Japan don’t get a BP win v Samoa.

    Think it will boil down to us needing to beat Japan by > 7 points in order to guarantee a pumping from NZ in the QF.

    The whole world except ourselves and Ireland will be rooting for Japan to beat us.

    1. We were fighting against a Samoa team that were already out in 2015 and they gave us a very serious scare….

    2. Exactly, against a home crowd, a side with 8 days rest versus our 4 (some players will have to be involved versus Russia). I wouldn’t say the odds are stacked against us but we’d have to be favourites not to make it out. A statement versus Samoa is needed.

  31. So If you assume Japan get a BP win against Samoa then they will be on 14 points. We need BPs against Samoa and Russia to give us 10. If we beat Japan we will both end up on 14 but we would go through by virtue of winning the head to head (assuming they don’t get a BP).

    If Ireland win their other games and pick up 1 BP they win the group. If they don’t get any BPs and we beat Japan denying them a bonus point then we all end up on 14 and it would I believe come down to point difference?

    So basically we need bonus points against Samoa and Russia. If Japan get a BP against Samoa then we need to beat them and either get a BP or stop them getting one.

    Getting a bit more mental we could all end up on 15, if we get 3 BP wins, Ireland 2 wins and Japan get 2 BPs.

    Or they could just pump us and we’ll be out.

    1. So, basically, looks like Ireland will win the group still,….and best case… we’ll face a highly motivated Japan team, playing well, with confidence and at home needing to inflict a heavy defeat and shut them down defensively.
      We are now right up against it!
      Its going to take an epic turn around in our performance levels from, not just how we played against Ireland, how we have played the last year!
      Can we do it? A least GT is now selecting a team that is closer to what most people wanted to see in the 1st place. Not that he had much choice. What he was selecting was turning in poor performances.
      We’ll see what they can ( coaching & players) do against Samoa. They will be judged on this one tho , having used up pretty much all their credits.
      The enormity of such a poor performance against Ireland is now showing its weight.

  32. Vert surprised by the talk in some quarters that this could suit Scotland. It’ll take a performancr rennaissance equivalent to Twickers 2nd half 2019 for 3 games. Would love to see it, but right now seems mighty unlikely.

  33. Hypothetically thinking, if Toonie goes after WC (I think SRU will not sack him) then who would the learnered Forum think would/should take over?

    1. Not many top quality options. Not sure how attractive a job it is. Names like Lancaster, Cokerill, Renniw will be mentioned. Tony Brown for me is an up and comer, style suits our players.

      1. We are stuffed. When we let Cotter go and appointed this one, we told the world we are parochial. We will end up with another club coach with aspirations rather than a coach with a track record of working with the complexities of transient players who are being coached entirely differently at Club level. Besides, who would want us as fans, we know how to cut through the BS and say it as it really is.

        But he needs to go, the gamble has failed. Mallinder was a nearly man for a while though he would do as an interim. It is on the table, will be inked on Monday, available on arrival in the UK. Sword, fall , own, on. ,his, he.

      2. FFS Cotter didn’t have an Intl track record and led us to a 6N whitewash in 2015!!
        The reason we shouldn’t have let him go is the same reason we shouldn’t let go of Toonie, ie 2 seasons is not long enough to become a top intl. Coach.

        Having let him go and replaced him with Toonie we’ve now got to stick with it imo.

        How long has Warren Gatland been an international coach?
        20 years.
        Same with Jones.
        Same with Hansen.

      3. Well said Johnny b. Time is key. Townsend has given huge highs. The equation becomes much simpler after Samoa assuming we do the business. Japan struggled against Russia. They could throw another dodgy performance.

        Didn’t watch all or closely this morning. Did Japan manage Ireland’s maul from close range today well? That was a huge issue for us against Ireland. What did they do?

    2. I would get Cockers as caretaker HC for next year’s 6N (which isn’t that far away) and see how he does. Maybe Mallinder can step in at Edinburgh? If Cockers does well then give him the gig and if not then the search goes on. He seemed to have a pretty instant impact at Edinburgh which I think is key. He also has an edge about him and seems to be a better motivator than Toonie.

    3. Toonie won’t go.

      Probably the right decision too.

      He was a great club coach but it didn’t happen overnight, he will become a great international coach too but it takes time. Stuff like the Toonie tombola doesn’t translate well into international level and he just needs to settle down and pick his core for 2023 then develop it.

      Danny Wilson is also coaching gold and we’ve got him at an early stage of his career because I think he would have become a hot property sought after by other unions. He needs time.

      Leftfield is that if Rennie is off, Cotter is out of contract at Montpellier next season and has been shifted to a director of rugby role.

      Maybe he could take over at Glasgow? Would cost a bit.

      1. Balderdash. I would dispute he was a great club coach, one pro 12 or 14 or whatever is not greatness , it is a start.

      2. Taking an upper mid table side to successive play offs and the league title in 3 seasons and a first ECC qf doesn’t make him successful?

        You lot are unrealistic.

        Put Cockers in charge and we’d be back here in a season demanding his head.

        Being the Scotland coach is different from managing Warriors.
        You have the players all the time at Warriors. The season is much longer.
        If warriors have a poor start (as they have) they get 5 shots at redemption.
        An international team gets 1.

        Etc. Etc. Etc.

        I honestly think Toonie is only just getting to grips with this.

        I think he will get to grips with it too, and whatever happens this RWC we will be fine in the longer term.

      3. What concernes me about GT as a coach, is that he seems to persist with tactics which too often fail on the field; with players whose performances are below par, and with players whose skill set is limited. It makes Scotland predictable.

      4. Yes. That’s right.
        He should drop those players and replace them with the xv all blacks we have in the wings.

        If Townsend has made a mistake in my view it has been the tombola.

        He has experimented with selection relentlessly and even bringing in Bradbury and putting him straight in the team, while most of us would agree with the choice, raises the question of why he wasn’t in the squad to begin with.

        Maybe he planned to finally settle the team this 6N but guess what? Fate dealt him the blow of a ludicrous injury list.
        Consequently he is trying to settle the team now, when the tournament has started.

        Townsend needs to cut that kind of high risk cr@p, settle down and decide his core because a lot of the other stuff he does is top drawer.

      5. Disagree with your first comment Johnny b. GT having a game plan of fast rugby and nothing else – and I mean nothing else – shows how limited and obdurate as a coach he really is. Does anyone here really think that playing fast, first / second phase rugby that is nigh on high impossible to execute consistently, is going to win us anything? It might be how GT played but don’t inflict this “style ” over the whole team forwards and backs alike. Get rid soon as this World Cup is over or sooner if we crash out.

    4. BVC should have seen the team through to this RWC. It was a knee jerk error for the SRU to kick him out for Toonie.
      However, Toonie is demonstrably a good coach (Pro 12 champions was a massive feat for Glasgow and the manner was exceptional) and is an open-minded learner. I’m massively p155ed off with the team, having literally been there through years of thin, a tantalising bit of thick, and back to thin again. I have minimal expectation for the rest of this tournament (and am in a fecked up way supporting Japan as a truly uplifting story). However, stick with the coach, let the lessons be learned (look at Japan, ahem, ahem) and hope that the next gen step up.

  34. You can’t just fire Toonie then pick Cockers, who is quite a good forward coach but has Edinburgh playing a very conservative brand of rugby when on paper their backs are not far off Glasgow’s.

    Teams often respond to a change of coach then regress back to where they were.

    We had a decent 1st season under Frank Hadden then we regressed.

    We had a goodish season under Robinson in 2010 then regressed.

    We even outperformed in our first season under Johnson beating Italy and Ireland but even by his own admittance he was not the man.

    In other sports look st Man U under Solskjaer.

    You need to pick your man then give him time.

    Toonie is our man.

    He’s made some mistakes but he’s done a lot of good things.

    Just need to cut out the mistakes.

    1. I agree with this. We’ve had one round of hysteria after losing to Ireland now another has kicked off before we’ve even got back out on the field.

      We would go a long way by not over celebrating the highs and not over reacting to the losses.

      1. You’re so right.
        Either completely overblown expectations or beaten before we take the field.
        That’s us.
        Wha’s like us?

        The pool now is a total lottery.

        Ireland went for the losing bonus point and that’s them betting that they’ll get 2 more BPs out of their remaining fixture and neither us or Japan will, or one of us will slip up against Samoa or Japan will slip up against us.

        We now have a tremendous opportunity with literally nothing to lose!!!!

      2. Johnny and Scrummo both spot on. The two extremes of supporter mindset seem to be far too prevelant on here these days – one moment we’re 6N and World Cup contenders, next thing every player is a ‘disgrace’ the suits are ‘muppets’ and the manager ‘must go’.

        These very same voices disappear into the ether when their predictions of glory or humiliation fail to materialise.

        We now face a serious challenge getting through this group, but in a way that could be to our advantage – we know exactly what we have to do. For a team to have their minds focused in that way isn’t the worst thing.

        I’ll be very surprised if we can pull this off, but I’m willing to believe that we can.

      3. Agreed again. The forwards need to add a layer of pragmatism and graft to their play which I’m sure is doable and coachable. Someone like Bradbury could step up over the next 3 games and be the Jason White figure that pack needs and Ritchie will work his balls off. We know the backs have the ability to score tries. The pack do need to step up. Other countries fans see Watson as a good player in a poor pack whilst we herald him as world class. It’s a shame we’ve lost him as he’s clearly our best forward but hopefully he comes back into a pack that help him out a bit more and he doesn’t have to be the one man ball carrying, jackalling machine we reply on whilst Wilson winds players up and Barclay moans at the ref.

        The other big change I’d like to see is a change in what players and coaches are talking about in press conferences. They lurch from ridiculous over confidence pre match heaping pressure on themselves to abject misery when they’ve failed to back it up.

        A quiet determination and siege mentality allied to what I said above about not over celebrating highs and not over reacting to losses would go a long way.

      4. Freepole… Its a voluntary emotional ride buying into backing a sporting team. This forum is a vehicle to express that..sometimes we are on point ..and sometimes we are not.. sometimes on a high sometimes on a low…sitting on the fence consistently with conservative views works for some folks too…its all fine and equally it all doesn’t really matter. People are always looking for folks with views that align with their own…we people are such groupies. Following Scotland at any sport is signing up for an emotional roller coaster… its in our DNA I think.
        ..and yep ….whilst believing is a stretch …Im hoping we can turn around and it is possible…just unlikely given everything that has happened.
        At least the team selection looks more promising this time around.

    2. Cockerill is not the right decision. If there isn’t an obvious upgrade then sticking with Toony is the right decision providing he can demonstrate growth as a coach. We won’t be privy to that though. No point in interims we need someone for a full World Cup cycle. There’s a lot of learning to be done and if Toony is that kind of reflective coach (I don’t know if he is) and surrounds himself with good challenging people then I wouldn’t get rid. Those are a lot of ifs and I haven’t seen any of those conditions met in our approach. Matt Taylor needs to go. I don’t know about Wilson but what I see in our forwards doesn’t impress me. We also need a backs coach it shouldn’t be the head.

      1. I’d be tempted to lure Lancaster over in some capacity, he’s a Scottish age grade international and it’s a lot closer to home than Dublin.

      2. Lancaster oversaw England’s exit at the pool stage of rwc 2015 including a game in which an injury minced Wales overturned a 2 score half time lead to beat them at home…….

        And you think he’s the man?

      3. Lancaster has also been a pivotal part in the Leinster set up. I also said lure him over in the context of my previous comment on keeping Townsend. He would be an excellent addition to the backroom staff, he is one of the most highly regarded coaches in the game. He just failed as the head man. He has shown at Leinster in the right role he is an asset.

  35. I’m torn between the shouts for Toonies head and giving him time. I don’t like the football style chop and changing at the slightest thing and not giving managers time to settle in and influence things. But on the other side his tactics sometimes baffle me, he bleats on about the fastest rugby, fittest guys and skills but we don’t back it up, he doesn’t pick players that are clearly more suited to that type of game. All that said I think he is a good coach, certainly a good attack coach. As has so often been the case it’s a mental problem with us, we just don’t turn up for some games and the head coach has to carry the can for that.

    I think we probably look back at VCs reign with slightly rose tinted specs, we had our fair share of dire games then too but I feel we were stronger mentally, there was more resilience, more confidence, more trust in each other and that’s the thing that worries me more than a couple of poor games.

    1. Time.
      Definitely give him time.

      I want to see Danny Wilson step up and put his mark on the forwards too.

      We have, I think, one of the most exciting coaching teams but it is very very inexperienced at this level.

      Toonie has had 2 seasons, Wilson has had 1.

      Questions over Matt Taylor.

      Compare this to Joe Schmidt who has been in charge of Ireland since 2013.

      He took a while to get Ireland going and he inherited a very experienced winning side.

      They got knocked out of RWC 2015 by Argentina who gave them an utter thrashing.

      1. Jonny b: I do not agree so lets compare him to Schmidt who has been coaching about the same amount of time as Toonie. He was also a pro 12 club coach prior to taking the Ireland role.

        Scmidt was appointed in 2013 , Ireland won the 6N in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

        Schmid was Head Coach with Leinster 2010- 13 , and and won a pro 12 and the Heineken Cup.

        Schmidt commenced his coaching career as an assistant coach in 2003 and was an assistant with three clubs before taking the top job at Leinster.

        Gregor Townsend manged to get Scotland as high as 3rd in the 2018 6N.

        He commended coaching in 2005 was assistant for a few seasons, with Scotland A and Scotland. He won the pro 12 as Head Coach with Glasgow in 2015.

        I am not saying you are right or wrong, but it is misleading to say 2 seasons is not long enough.

        Ireland is Scmidt’s first coaching post but Gatland and Eddie Jones have both coached other International Sides before Wales and England respectively.

        What did we expect from Townsend !

      2. Schmidt has been the national coach of ireland for 6 years.

        Townsend for 2.

        Townsend the coach reminds me of Townsend the player. It’s a bit hot and cold.

        Townsend the player learned how to make the hot days outnumber the cold. That’s how he became a british lions legend and a player who dragged results out of a fairly ordinary scotland side.

        Townsend the coach needs to do the same.

        He will.

      3. Are you saying if we give Townsend 6 years he will deliver 3 6N championships?Schmidt did it on his second year.

        Perhaps Schmidt’s strong pedigree and that of Townsend Peers makes no difference. Perhaps the SRU got it right. Toonie was an irresponsible loose cannon as a player but that is just my opinion.

      4. Ben F….I think what most people expected was for us to , considering all the preparation time and being told we were ready, to put a team on the field that competed with Ireland in what should have been a competitive match.
        Expected to perform and achieve results in line with our world ranking and compete, if not necessarily win, against the tier 1 side likely to face in the QF.
        Our situation could all turn around, but its looking less likely after Japans performance and result.
        It a fine line all teams and coaches are judged on at this level and especially at a RWC.
        1 poor performance can sink the ship.
        I think the players and coaches have been feeling a bit too safe… the gulf between tier 1 and 2 seems to be closing and , if we dont pick things up and achieve consistantcy we are on verge of becoming a tier 2 ranked side….much like our U20s.

      5. No Ben F I am not saying that.
        You cannot judge Scotland by the same measure as Ireland. Read about SMART targets!
        Ireland have been a competitive side for 20 years and Schmidt got the tail end of the golden generation and 2009 6N winning side to work with.

        Consider this – Ireland was Warren Gatland’s 1st international coaching job.

        He had 3 seasons. They finished last in his 1st season then they unearthed the golden generation.
        He still didn’t win a championship tho.
        They could have won it in 2001 except we tore them and their golden generation a new backside in their final fixture at Murrayfield and that result probably contributed to him losing his job.
        Yes – Gatland was sacked by Ireland.

        Look where he is now.

        Success for Scotland would be based on the 6N and something like IMO
        1) beat Italy
        2) beat 1 of the other sides
        3) don’t get hammered in any game.

        That is a realistic target for a country coming from where we have been and the foundation from which you can become more ambitious if you do it consistently.

        Toonie has been pretty close to that target in his 2 seasons including 1 where he had a huge injury toll.

        We can fork out on another coach but they’d have to be a big name, none might be interested and they’d still take 2 seasons to get their heads around the players during which people like you would demand their heads.

        That’s reality.

      6. Johnny b: It was you who asked us to compare Toonie to Joe Schmidt, I am disappointed the answer was not what you wanted.

        I like the SMART results , lets see how that challenge compares. We will just compare 2 Scottish coaches.

        Cotters first 6 nations we lost every match, his second we won 2, and his last we won 3. I think that exceeds your expectation of SMART. That is called progression.

        Cotter took Scotland to a RWC QF and our place in the semis was taken by Australia due to a refereeing error, which was ratified by World Rugby (not us).

        Townsend in his first 6 nations , won 3 games In his second 6n we only won 1 and drew 1. That is regression. Lets disregard tour losses USA and Fiji.

        He is writing his own world cup history now and it could be his finest success yet.

        I suspect Townsend will stay but for other reasons. I doubt anyone will be keen to take it. What angers me is that Toonie was always after Cotters job, now he has it , we quite rightly expect a better result that the previous incumbent. I think that speaks volumes.

      7. Ben F: I never realised our 6N wins backed up the hysteria. Cotter’s 6N record won 0, 2, 3. Toonie’s won 3, 1 plus a draw . It is a parabola.

      1. Ye gods, I do hope that GT is not employing the SMART target mantra. Such management speak is too often used by people who seem to think that process is more important than effect.

  36. From listening to all the podcasts out there it seems the rest of the rugby nations are laughing at us. Totally agree with Tom English, ‘this fastest brand of rugby in the world – it’s just PR crap’. He is right. SRU have done a good job of inflating our hopes and belief. These wise old rugby heads that pop up every now and then in articles and podcasts are having a giggle at our own perceived fast game. We need to start backing up our statements otherwise we are a laughing stock. I was for Townsend but I think he is too much a soft touch.

    Fastest brand of Rugby in the world – Japan. Incredible performance.

    1. Not sure that everyone is laughing at us, but I was taking absolute pelters from my English and neutral shipmates at sea in Croatia last Sunday. Right down to sticking an Irish Coffee in front of me after dinner that night.
      Can’t comment much on our performance against Ireland as I had to listen to radio commentary. Just sounded a grim and not up for it showing. Also sounded like at 12-3 down and in a promising field position we totally stacked it and ended up 19-3 down.
      Today’s shock result gives us some scope for redemption from last Sunday’s mince. Let’s please get past Samoa first, and well, before pressing on.
      I’m not in the Toonie must go camp, but I do feel the talent available to us is being marshalled inadequately. That, or maybe we’re just not that good compared with other Tier Ones. Hope it’s the former and we can correct it as we move through the remaining Tests in the group.

      1. JohnMc, perhaps remind your English “mates” about how we have humiliated them in the last 2 games, the Croatians……… not as easy but put them off the scent by talking about the future HW champion – Filip Hrgović

    2. I actually don’t hate this fastest brand of rugby in the world tag line but I feel very often Scotland forget what it’s suppose to mean. My understanding of what GT has said is that it’s suppose to mean having the shortest ruck time but it’s sometimes like the players forget that and just think of slinging the ball wide as fast as possible. To generate quick ruck ball you need to go into contact well supported to get good clean ball then start the next phase right away. To do that you need very mobile forward to get up and go ruck after ruck, which we have but if you just sling it wide away from the support and then get isolated and smashed you take the forwards out of the game completely.
      Ireland was very similar to Wales 6N 2018 where they just forgot precisely what it’s suppose to be. Pick and goes are well within the remit of this if they are done rapid fire but it requires great organisation, communication and leadership to orchestrate it on the field so everyone knows whats happening and what their role is. Maybe taking the captaincy off Laidlaw was a mistake because he’s the one that needs to organise it. when Scotland have executed it properly they have been very effective when they don’t they get smashed. I think everyone got obsessed with the idea of ireland’s narrow defense and forgot how to execute the game plan. It’s GT’s job to make sure everytime they go out they are clear on exactly what they are trying to do. QUICKEST POSSIBLE RUCKS!!!

      1. My understanding would also be quickest rugby = quickest rucks but we don’t seem to do that. Our take on quickest seems to be fling it wide as quickly as possible and after a self imposed time limit of around 5 phases kick it away if we haven’t gone anywhere.

        If I am not mistaken that was basically Frank Hadden’s “wide wide” strategy and that was utter mince too. Different reasons, back then we didn’t have the backs with the skills to pull it off but did have the forwards for a bit of rough and tumble. Watched some “highlights” from 2008 the other day, god we were bad but what I would pay now for an 8 of the calibre of Simon Taylor…

      2. Quick rugby , we can and do play it , they call it 7’s. The 15’s is a bit congested with Juggernauts for that tactic. Toonie could do a job there.

  37. It’s unhelpful and inappropriate to be talking about who’ll replace our coach at this stage of the tournament. Can we not just get behind our team (which means getting behind the coach) who still have the opportunity to do something special in Japan if it turns around?

    If it goes badly, the way some folks here almost seem to want it to to confirm their own point of view, then we can reasonably have that discussion.

    1. Most of us pay the ticket price, the merchandise costs etc etc so it is perfectly appropriate to pass any criticism any one of us feels like. If you don’t like a topic don’t read it and don’t contribute to it.

      1. I’m not saying you can’t have the opinion, Jim. Of course you can. I’m just critiquing it. Isn’t that what a forum’s for?

        I’ve read the article, and it seems it’s not me who’s off topic. Is Toonie’s position mentioned at all? If you want to write an article or suggest an article is written about who’ll replace our coach when we’re ONE game into a tournament that only comes around every four years and in which we still have a reasonable chance of qualifying for the knockouts, then go ahead.

        I get the frustration. I was as disappointed as anyone after the Ireland game. But it’s not the time to self-implode.

      2. The point is we’d like to see them win and fulfil their potential.
        There comes a point at which the criticism and negativity becomes dispiriting and makes wins less likely.

        You can get in a cycle of losing because you expect to.

    2. Andrew : I agree with you however not entirely. Of course people will get behind Scotland and ordinarily I would agree wholeheartedly with your perfectly rational perspective but it is unnecessarily heavy handed to suggest it is unhelpful or inappropriate behavior. This is not a boardroom it is fan chat and it is emotional.

      But if I were to lift this to the boradroom, what you are witnessing is an significant lack of confidence and if we are sensing it ,how are the players feeling ? Confidence is the building block of not only success but player safety. Facing Tonga and Japan needing a bonus point win needs confidence and that is the role of our coach. I just want them to enjoy the remainder of the tour, get home , safely and we can deal with the elephant in the room. I shall look forward to everyone raising their voices at that time.

      1. Fair point, CB. I’m sorry if the tone of my comment came off a bit patronising.

        However, I do stand by the sentiment. I think the emotion is entirely understandable amongst fans but it’s self-defeating. If we actually want the team to do well then I genuinely think it’s unhelpful (and therefore inappropriate) at this stage to be adding to any instability within the team two days before another big game. It’s a connected world and some of the players’ confidence may be more linked to fans’ comments than we’d like to believe. If we lose on Monday, then it’s a different discussion.

      2. AMcG: As I say , I do not entirely disagree with you. Good reply, understood. We need cool heads in the camp just now, building confidence is key an our coach needs to build that.I am just hoping he has the temperament for it, they are men not machines.

  38. I have to say hats off to the referee in the Japan Ireland match. very clear , good decisions, dealt with both sides very well indeed. Great advert for rugby and Joe Schmidt was gracious in defeat. Rugby won the day , heartwarming to see.

    I know Pascal G can be a bit of a wild card however I am hoping we see a similar standard on Monday. I know we have had a few hiccups but generally I believe the standard of refereeing has been excellent.

    1. Joe eventually gave credit to Japan after moaning about offside and the ref. Just cause a ref finally pinged a team who are offside constantly and can’t adapt that area. I don’t think he was that gracious really

  39. We have to remember that this is the team who put 38 unanswered points on England, put Australia to the sword & very nearly beat NZ not so long ago. I had/have grave reservations about letting Cotter leave & GTs teams seem to be capable of highs & lows. BUT with Hogg, Graham, Maitland, Johnson & Russell this is among the most exciting back-lines i can remember. Good looking back-row too, perfect opportunity for Blade T to announce himself on the international stage. Being Scottish we wouldn’t be happy if we were happy

    1. Our highs?…depends how we look at them….
      We put 38 unanswered points on after looking like a pub team for 40 mins…in one 2nd half performance in a game that meant little in the context of the 6N outcome.
      We beat an out of form Australia at home and when they were down to 14 men for most of the match…we were losing up until the player got sent off.
      We competed but ultimately lost against an NZ team, who were on a long tour away from home and constantly playing against teams trying to prove they were at the ABs level.
      We have not performed at that level consistantly during GTs tenure…its been up and down like a yo yo.

      1. Ok Ruggers with that outlook I may as well go and end it all. Bloody hell.

        Some Scots have got out of the Scottish mindset and even with huge criticism still pulled off some great memories.

        Scotland’s worse trait is this…kick someone down in case they achieve something or to help them not achieve something as if i’m not achieving anything everyone else better not.

        It’s horrendous and so many dreams have been beaten out of young and old by this disease that spreads far too easily.

        This doesn’t mean we don’t criticise or aim high or hope for better. But we can be more constructive.

        Wake up Scotland before another generation disappears into the vortex of anger and spite…

      2. …crikey that sounds millennial
        Yup…I have no desire to paint fairies and flowers on my wall with a tin of poor quality beige paint.

      3. also forgetting beating Australia in Sydney with a team that included Greg tonks, Rory hughes and Lee Jones. Smashing an England team that had won 18 tests on the bounce. A big win in Argentina with an experimetal development side. Putting 50+ on Figi. We have been up and down but so have Ireland, England, South Africa, Wales, France and Australia in the same time frame.

      4. It sounds Anti-Scottish mentality you grumpy old man. Happy to fight against an attitude like this so stop being so down on everything and lighten up.

        It’s actually fun to see good in stuff rather criticise all the time. Try it for a day and see how it works out for you.

    2. It wasn’t 38 unanswered points, if it was, we’d have won the match. As it was, we undid the brilliance of that 38 points by not being able to close out the game with 2 minutes to go. A poor kick compounded by giving away a penalty.

      Other than spirit and aggression the big difference between Japan and us is that they didn’t compound their errors with stupidity.

    3. Aye, so what about the tight five John? I felt this was part of the downfall with Ireland – their tight five bossed us in the loose.
      If you can’t get physical parity in a game, then the more backs stuff isn’t going to happen

  40. None of the pundits are talking about Samoa, we all need to face them and any victory against Samoa can be costly. This has become a very exciting group this experience will be valuable for Scotland .

  41. in certain ways your are right sir, however how were the last team to put 50+ on Australia & 38 unanswered points against England?? Its easy to be negative (maybe its the Scottish way) but in Russell we have our best 10 in generations & Hogg is arguably our best back ever……so perhaps were not doooomed

    1. Best back ever ? where did you get that from? Completely disagree and the Hall of Fame is full of them. I agree we can play better , we are not doomed but I do not think we are ready for this world cup , as we are never ready for the 6 Nations.

  42. J B Lake – whom in Scottish history has consistently excelled like Hogg, has been successive 6N player of the year, has excited the whole nation on such a regular basis??

    1. If you look at “5 Quick Questions ” on You Tube with former Scottish players the all time greats ( not just backs ) seem to be in order:
      3/. Renwick 2/. Irvine 3/. Armstrong.
      Russell is actually more important to us that Hogg.

      1. Only one of those I remember playing was Armstrong and I remember him getting pelters at the end of his career. Once you’re injured or retired you instantly become better than you were seen before.

        Richie Gray hasn’t played outstanding for Scotland for a long time. He’s injured and he’s the solution. Denton. Can anyone remember up to the world cup quarter how much abuse he got and why is he starting??? Now he was great in the match and remembered as a legend. He didn’t get the lineout cleanly btw.

        Hogg has been incredible. It’s possible he’s so special teams aim to stop him. He’s been his own worse enemy. Even with what he’s done so far he’ll go down as one of the greatest. He could do with stepping up a bit again now though.

        Russell is class and will go down as the greatest Scottish stand off. Think how flaky he was even two years ago.

      2. Neither Hogg or Finn will go down as greats outside of Scotland unless they do it for the lions in the test series or they win Heineken cups. As for being a Scotland great, that’s basically being too stubborn to quit. Our list of recent greats are so average it’s embarrassing. Lamont, Ford, Paterson. Centurions who would be lucky to get to 15 caps for any other home nation in the same period. Both are class players but they’ll need to achieve their greatness away from Scotland unless something significant changes very very soon.

      3. Ritchie Gray was a decent lock… when did he play outstanding?.. I can’t remember and I ve been watching Scotland for 40 years.
        What exactly does he solve? Enlighted me. Id say Scott Cummings has more potential.
        Hogg has been incredible? Has he?
        He is definitely the most talented of the players you have identified But he has also been hot and cold. He’s had some great games and some poor ones. His defense and positioning are not good and that is why he gets targeted more so than being ‘special’ . imo
        That said ,on his day an excellent top class player.
        Denton played a couple of excellent games but for the majority of his Scotland career was either injured or not doing enough considering how naturally athletic he was. Not a legend. Potentially a good test level player but just didn’t do enough. More a great athelete than a great rugby player.
        Russell has a bit to go before he can be considered ‘The greatest of Scottish stand offs’
        He’s won the square root of diddly squat at test level.His performances are up and down like a yo-yo. If he learns adopt a more balanced strategic approach to his rugby he may well be that great…too inconsistent at the moment to win important matches on a regular basis.

      4. RuggersB you ain’t getting the point.

        Richie Gray has had some outstanding performances for Scotland but not for a long time same with Denton. They didn’t perform but the longer you are out the bigger your legend becomes.

        Hogg was player of Six Nations two seasons in a row with the players around that is significant. But yes he hasn’t been where he should be for a while now.

        Point on Russell still stands. Everybody has poor performances and they are less frequent than they were.

    2. John Martin : His defense does not excite me and I prefer to see rugby played as a team game , it is not all about him and before you start we have played some excellent rugby without Stuart Hogg.

      Actually we have had lions Full backs such as Irvine and Hasting the latter captained the Lions, he is the lions all time record points scorer (170 points) . Sir Ian McGeechan has not only played ,but coached the lions. Hastings was the captain the last time Scotland won the championship in 199.

      Stuart Hogg , the greatest back ever ,are you serious ? This only serves to highlight how many people have never seen Scotland at its best. Time to change .

      1. I never realised that Hastings held the Lions all time points scoring record. He also instilled confidence and motivated shy youngsters like Townsend to perform.

      2. Hastings did not have to think about an income from rugby. The last thing Hogg needs is an injury before he commences at Exeter.

      3. Last point is a good one. though we need to be respectful. It is a great shame that some have never known what it was to relate a Scottish XV with players that commanded respect world wide. We have had a few individuals who can stand shoulder to shoulder and have many false dawns because we don’t know what world class looks like any longer.

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