Scotland v Japan, RWC 2019: Match Preview pt II – head to heads

At this point in proceedings the teams will be preparing for tomorrow’s match as if it’s certain to go ahead so (ever the professionals…) here at the Scottish Rugby Blog we’re doing the same. With the teams named and less than 24 hours before kick off that means it’s time for the second part of the Scotland v Japan match preview:

Tale of the tape

BACKS
59   Tries   64
91kg   Average weight   87kg
279   Total caps   210
34   RWC caps   28
28.2   Average age   28.2

FORWARDS
907kg   Pack weight   875kg
15   
Tries   43
226   Total caps   269
34   RWC caps   53
27.8   Average age   30.0

SUBSTITUTES
27   Tries   37
220   Total caps   209
30   RWC caps   33
26.9   Average age   30.0

12 changes to Scotland starting XV from last Test (v Russia)

  • Darcy Graham, Tommy Seymour and Fraser Brown (moving from openside flanker to hooker) are only players retained from the starting line-up against Russia.

SCOTLAND
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Tommy Seymour
13 Chris Harris
12 Sam Johnson
11 Darcy Graham
10 Finn Russell
9 Greig Laidlaw (c)
HEAD-TO-HEAD
ADV Scotland
ADV Japan
EVEN
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Scotland
EVEN
JAPAN
15 William Tupou
14 Kotaro Matsushima
13 Timothy Lafaele
12 Ryoto Nakamura
11 Kenki Fukuoka
10 Yu Tamura
9 Yutaka Nagare

1 Allan Dell
2 Fraser Brown
3 Willem Nel
4 Grant Gilchrist
5 Jonny Gray
6 Magnus Bradbury
7 Jamie Ritchie
8 Blade Thomson

EVEN
ADV Japan
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV Japan

1 Keita Inagaki
2 Shota Horie
3 Jiwon Koo
4 Luke Thompson
5 James Moore
6 Michael Leitch (c)
7 Pieter Labuschagne
8 Kazuki Himeno

16 Stuart McInally
17 Gordon Reid
18 Zander Fagerson
19 Scott Cummings
20 Ryan Wilson
21 George Horne
22 Peter Horne
23 Blair Kinghorn

ADV Scotland
ADV Japan
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
EVEN
EVEN
ADV Scotland

16 Atsushi Sakate
18 Isileli Nakajima
17 Asaeli Ai Valu
19 Uwe Helu
20 Hendrik Tui
21 Fumiaki Tanaka
22 Rikiya Matsuda
23 Ryohei Yamanaka

Overall

Backs – advantage Scotland

Both sides are predominantly running with the backlines that kicked off their respective tournaments. Japan have been able to recall Kenki Fukuoka (who has 23 tries in 36 caps) after injury. 5 of the 7 backs will have started all their matches with William Tupou the other player to miss out.

Scotland have brought in Darcy Graham for Sean Maitland (it probably would have been Graham for Tommy Seymour but for Maitland’s injury) and Chris Harris for Duncan Taylor compared to how they lined up against Ireland in round 1. Harris (2 starts, 2 subs) and Graham (3 starts, 1 sub) will be the only Scottish backs to appear in all four pool fixtures.

It’s not common for Scottish backlines to have a physical edge on their opponents but that is the case here. While it may not be part of their normal gameplan it would be a surprise if Finn Russell and his troops don’t explore how being a bit more direct at times benefits them.

Forwards – advantage Scotland

Six of the Japanese 8 started their first match against Russia with prop Jiwon Koo and lock Luke Thompson moving up from the bench that day. James Moore, Pieter Labuschagne and Kazuki Himeno have had a particularly heavy workload, playing all 240 minutes of Japan’s matches so far. The Brave Blossoms fitness has been exemplary so far with very little drop off towards the end of games but can they sustain that through another 80 minutes?

Some of Scotland’s forwards had a run out against Russia and just 4 days rest. Gregor Townsend will be hoping careful management of their minutes and workload has minimised any impact. Half of the pack didn’t play at all so the quick turnaround should provide few excuses for lacking energy or intensity. Fraser Brown and Stuart McInally swapping shirts is the only change in the tight 5 from the tournament opener against Ireland. The back row is completely transformed though. The Bradbury / Ritchie / Thomson unit put in a strong all-round performance against Samoa and Scotland will need an even bigger effort if they are to combat Japan’s excellent loose trio in this fixture.

Scotland have a height advantage in every position across the back 5 of the pack. In Thomson they have a genuine third lineout option that Japan lack. The RWC hosts will undoubtedly find some creative ways to make up for this but it means Scotland have more options for winning and attacking from their own lineouts. They also need to be aggressive in trying to disrupt or steal Japanses throw-ins.

Subs – advantage Scotland

Gregor Townsend will feel pretty comfortable when he looks at his bench options with half a dozen of them making a case for selection in the starting lineup. This greater depth is one of the reasons Scotland have been able to improve to a winning ratio in excess of 50% in recent years. The next step (more wins against the top 8 teams in the world) requires even more excellence in the starting XV so the young players in particular who are pushing for places need to be better than the men they will replace during the next RWC cycle for the dark blues to keep progressing.

Miscellany

– The day after his birthday Greig Laidlaw will just the second male player to start at scrum half for Scotland aged 34 or older. The only other man to do it was Greig’s uncle Roy. The junior Laidlaw will be the 6th back aged over 34 to start for the dark blues. Oldest appearances for the other 5 members of this club:

  • Alan Tait – 35y 114d (centre v New Zealand, 1999) [also as a wing – 34y 142d v South Africa 1998]
  • Sean Lamont – 35y 29d (wing v Wales, 2016)
  • Roy Laidlaw – 34y 152d (scrum half v England, 1988)
  • Keith Robertson – 34y 103d (wing v South Africa, 1989)
  • Tommy Gray – 34y 56d (full back v England, 1951)

– Allan Dell will make his 20th start for Scotland just under 3 years on from his debut. He only made 21 starts for Edinburgh in his 5 seasons at the club.

– Scotland’s forwards didn’t miss a single tackle against Russia going 68/0. This will be a much harder test but getting as close as possible to 100% tackle completion has to be the goal.

– Only 2 players have won more caps than Tommy Seymour (55) for Scotland without making a single appearance from the bench – Gavin Hastings and Tom Smith (both 61).

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When he's not watching Glasgow, Scotland (and even Edinburgh) Kevin can usually be found with his head in a spreadsheet working out the most obscure Scottish rugby related stat he can put out on Twitter.
Follow Kevin on twitter @topofthemoonGW

88 comments on “Scotland v Japan, RWC 2019: Match Preview pt II – head to heads

  1. Referendum on

    This paints a very decent picture and with so many advantage Scotland but I have no idea about Japan. The amount of tries is deceiving though as many of the matches are against weaker teams for Japan.

    I think we are stronger favourites here than many think and if we do get ahead early we need to keep kicking the points and get further and further ahead. Turn the screw and don’t give them a sniff. Amazing Tommy Seymour has ever been a sub. Must be a player that doesn’t suit the bench. He’ll score tomorrow and I’m pretty sure Graham will get one too.

    One other stat is Laidlaw needs 3 more points to hit 100 points in the world Cup .

    Hopefully this will go ahead. Noises are good now I’ve heard.

    • Campbell B on

      I think it is time to get down to playing rugby. I hope we take all of this out on Japan, really pumell them and turn the crowd. Is Bradbury as big an advantage over his opposite number even as a flanker ?Leitch is a well experienced man ! Gordon Reid may be the underdog but this will be an emotional game for him, I expect the scrum will be encouraged on his arrival , expect some late penalties. We will need points , so here’s hoping Laidlaw’s kicking experience comes through from the tee. This is it, dreadful prep , in we go lads, in we go HARD.

      • The Ghost of Frank Hadden on

        I really don’t get the hype around Bradbury. Considering he’s supposed to be such a big powerful athlete he never really breaks the first tackle. His defence isn’t phenomenal either. Can’t say much about his work rate.
        I think we’re too excited of what he could do that we haven’t analysed his performance to any degree.
        He’s not particularly abrasive either, all he seems to do is slap his own players on the back to hype them up.
        I never thought I’d say this, but Ryan Wilson is the man this team needs.

      • Tryhard on

        @The Ghost of Frank Hadden

        Completely disagree re Bradbury. Might be biased as an Edinburgh supporter but I think the lad’s got it all.

        He doesn’t always break the first tackle however he is often used for Scotland as the tight carrier. His job is mainly to get over the gain line and put his team on the front foot. He’ll normally be the first carrier that sucks in defenders and allows for space out wide. Hence why in his past 2 starts for Scotland he has been top of the stats for carries. He was also in double figures for tackles to address your point about work rate and defence.

        The position he normally plays for Edinburgh, his more natural one, involves him playing out wide with Mata doing the tight carries. When allowed to get going he’s got pace and often beats defenders.

        I reckon this back row combo is definitely the way to go and
        no way Ryan Wilson offers more.

      • The Ghost of Frank Hadden on

        @ Tryhard

        An Edinburgh supporter too, but there’s a big step up to international level and I don’t think Bradbury has provided us with enough evidence to say he is at that level at the moment. If the stats really told us who had more impact, Jonny Gray would be captaining the Lions.
        Unfortunately ”having it all” isn’t good enough for 6’s these days, you need to bring something particular to the party. In Bradbury’s case, he ought to be a big, physical, bad b*****d and own that for the Scottish team, but he’s just lacking, not bad, just not living up to his potential.
        Again, people like you are liking the idea of Bradbury more than the performances he’s giving.

      • RuggersB on

        I don’t know how you can say Bradbury isnt giving enough of his potential. He has had a fair few injuries …his test career has been stop start.
        He looks a fantastic prospect to me. He is maturing, getting physically stronger and getting his confidence back.
        He isnt a number 8 , naturally, he’s a ball in hand , pacey player with the strength to bust right through tackles. Probably best as a 6 for us. We just have such a dearth of tight playing 8s with power Bradbury has.
        Win or lose v Japan its the best back row combination Scotland has had for a long long time…imo ..Watson obviously belongs with those guys too.
        Skill. Pace. Hard graft. Physicality. Attitude.

        Its so obvious that the Scotland coaches immediately dropped their loyalty to a back row they played historically at every opportunity.

    • Andy on

      Scotland’s new centre pairing and Darcy Graham on the wing along with the back row have very few caps, this making the tries scored comparison seem in Japans favour .

  2. Tarquin Saxenhome on

    Tally ho , in we go ,
    all of us together girls,
    never mind the weather girls.
    Best wishes form the toff.

  3. RuggersB on

    Matsushima better than Seymour? From what I’ve watched, I’d say they are about the same pros and cons to both of them.
    Graham is a better player than anything Japan have.
    Japan got their try count extensively from playing against lower ranking nations..and so that isn’t apples to apples.
    Japan have never beaten Scotland.
    I’d take our back row and back 3 over any of theirs.
    Interesting that our 23 is a fair bit younger than theirs and they are giving up 32 Kg in the pack at scrum time.

    I can see us winning…..however…not achieveing 4 tries…and not preventing them from the bonus points they need.

    • FF on

      Leitch and Himeno are excellent – we are lucky that Mafi is injured. Japan’s backrow as a unit has been world class for a while now – it is in the front five they can’t compete with the top teams regardless of how good as individuals they are as a unit they lack grunt – like us.

  4. TeamCam on

    Slightly off topic, but the referee in the Glasgow game is an absolute liability. That hit on Jackson was a red any day of the week. Awful. Not to mention his ignorance of the criteria for turnovers (i.e. support your own bodyweight) and his total indifference to the offside line.

  5. The Ghost of Frank Hadden on

    Sorry to Kevin, but the whole ”head-to-head” thing is pointless way of trying to determine which team has the advantage.
    Rugby is a ‘team’ sport, the better ‘team’ contributes more to the win on the day.
    Beauden Barratt could play 80 minutes at tighthead in the quarter final and they’d still beat us.
    Individually, the Scottish players are not outright better than England in any position from 1-15, sad truth there guys, but collectively they became better than the sum of their parts in the 2nd half at twickenham by outplaying them as a team.
    The recent, great Scottish performances against England, Australia and NZ were not a result of individual magic from Hogg, Russell or Huw Jones sparking the team, it was by every man playing a system which suits our strengths. Which is unpredictability in set-piece attacking plays and counter-attack.
    Japan may not have many better players, but they are sticking to their system and defining the game for them, we need to make it our game tomorrow to stand a chance.

    • RuggersB on

      Agree. Understanding what your identity is and then playing as a unit achieves success in team sport…teams can then truly punch above their weight .
      Its why Japans results against much better individual players is improving all the time.

  6. FF on

    Nice to see the whole ITV studio behind Japan.

    God, I am really desperate for us to win this match. We have to put in an aggressive, accurate performance and do ourselves proud.

  7. CrazyP on

    I hate it when teams go into the Eddie Jones/Jose Mourinho siege mentality, they are all against us mode. However, events this week seem to have inexplicably turned much of World rugby against us, the biggest c***s in the game saying their piece like us wanting to qualify and play the game makes us the bad guys! I hope we smash Japan to pieces. Problem is we will get smashed next weekend.

    • Keith D on

      Aye but even without the shenanigans we’ll still be viewed negatively if we knock darling Japan out. Don’t care really and easy fixed if we put up a show in the QF. Misdirected approbrium against us anyway. I just wish the Italians had challenged the disgrace of being denied their chance. Mon boys , 20 point win please.

    • RuggersB on

      we can give NZ a game if we turn up and play. Media overplay the NZ factor . A very good side .. that they are .. they DO have flaws though .
      Anyway .. things are stacked against us today .. we need to turn up and play probably the best we ever have… or we won’t be in the Q. We can do it tho!

  8. john martin on

    Start exactly as we did V Samoa, get Thomson under the restarts, get Nel, Bradbury, Brown & Harris bashing, multiple phases, put them on the back foot, look for drop goals. Kick pragmatically. Earn space for Russell & earn the right to go wide. Hoggy is due a big game

    • FF on

      Don’t think Japan will care. South Africa absolutely hammered Japan in RWC warm up in Japan – they just can’t handle their power. I think NZ will suit Japan more in some ways. Either way just getting to the QF is their goal, not who beats them there.

      • john martin on

        Maybe you’re right FF, I was thinking more about recreating the Brighton match in the last RWC 2015

  9. Scrummo on

    I’m really pleased that the game is going ahead and fair play to the organisers for getting it on.

    A moment though just to reflect that 18 people have lost their lives to this typhoon so for all our grumbling (and throwing toys out the pram from some including Dodson) about whether it would be cancelled or not there are families a lot more upset this morning than we’d have been if it had been cancelled. The strongest storm for 50 years at the end of the typhoon season couldn’t have been predicted.

    Some of the footage of the conditions and flooding is unreal and even in the areas not hit as hard it’s incredible to see how quickly the Japanese infrastructure has come back online, trains back running on their full time tables etc just hours after it blows over. An incredible country and for all the flack WR have got for hosting it their during the tail end of the typhoon season they’ve done a superb job so far along with the Japanese and it’s been great to see.

    Now, MON SCOTLAND.

    • CrazyP on

      Fair play. I love the idea of 2027 going stateside but presumably it will be scheduled for Tornado season in Tornado alley

      • Johnny b on

        Stateside would be great.
        Trouble is an autumn tournament clashes with the NFL and you want their stadiums and curious fans.

        Summer is too hot (footie world cup played in ’94 but played at 1/2 pace!) and clashes with championship.

        Late winter clashes with 6N.

  10. Nodrog on

    Good luck to both teams and for the fans to have a great time.

    Public safety is always number 1 but that is not the issue.

    A lack of honest transparency by the RWC on “Robust Contingency Planning” which did not exist for pool stage games.

    The SRU had to defend their corner and to make the sure the RWC listened.

  11. RuggersB on

    Tight match. Japan more clinical .We haven’t played that great . Not looking likely at the mo.
    Game is more stop than start.. no real flow.

  12. Fraser on

    Back to the same old issue – we won’t win games if we immediately kick all possession away.

    Play some rugby!

  13. Sotonsaltire on

    Appalling again from a Townsend Scotland team. Kicked away too much possession in the wrong places, inviting Japan to play ‘fast rugby’ – something they can do and we can’t….

    Same old issues for Scotland. A rethink required going forward as this team and the coaches don’t gel.

  14. SlowWalk90 on

    Unbelievable. We just spent 30 minutes kicking away all our possession short to a team that loves to run with the ball. We need to at least try at running at them too.

  15. Stu2 on

    We didn’t kick on after our score. Buggered up the restart and let them back in. We’ve had no possession. And Darcy Graham has been shown up for the laddie he is. Game over.

  16. Sotonsaltire on

    He has to roll the dice and bring on the Hornes and Kinghorn at least have a go at them rather than the aimless kicking we have seen from Russell and Laidlaw.

    Townsend is done though. We keep getting annihilated when the heat is on and he has to take the responsibility for that.

  17. Referendum on

    Cumming on, Horne on at half-time maybe even McInally. Need to change something before it is too late. and stop kicking it away.

  18. SlowWalk90 on

    Why did Hogg opt for the dropout at the end there? We desperately needed ball in hand and he should have ran it. They should have anticipated the missed kick and been ready to support.

    • RuggersB on

      There is looking a stronger argument for giving Hastings a go at 10 in the 6N.
      We are better than this …GT has to go.

  19. Fraser on

    Sorry, but that 4th try from Japan was amazing.
    Much as I am disappointed, you have to massively applaud the way the Japanese are playing – the Boks should be worried

    • Sotonsaltire on

      Other than they hosed them in the warm up. We’ve allowed them to play their way and made them look like the all blacks

      • Fraser on

        I don’t know – we haven’t been great but a lot of that is down to how Japan have played.

        They have beaten Ireland and – barring a miracle – us now, think they deserve more credit.

  20. Fraser on

    Played with ball in hand and not kicked away possession after a couple of phases twice in this game and scored both times.

    When will we learn, same problem being going on for 2 years!

  21. RuggersB on

    Ritchie is 100% class player . Very consistent too. He’s really been one of the few highlights for Scotland this year.

  22. CAVOK on

    Pathetic. Townsend must go – wrong team and wrong tactics. Prima donnas, such as Hogg who can’t defend, should be dropped

    • Fraser on

      Reign it in – first half was pretty poor, but a much better performance in the second.

      I fully agree the tactics were completely wrong in the first half, but also some fantastic tries from Japan.

      Second half has been cracking to watch.

      I am of course very disappointed, but can also appreciate what Japan have achieved and will be fully behind them in the next round.

      • Sotonsaltire on

        I am not in to all of the Corinthian spirit. We got pumped again. It’s simply not good enough and yet again we are out of it by half time.its a coaching issue at its heart.

      • CAVOK on

        How many times did Russell kick possession away? Japan had the confidence to hang onto the ball. Pick Laidlaw, the world’s slowest scum half when you need to win well. Etc etc

  23. Sotonsaltire on

    Time to talk about how bad we have been under Townsend. He is a bad selector.

    This squad has several players out of form/not fit.

    The tactics look wrong for international rugby, or the players are not as good as we all think.

    Whatever it is a we can’t keep giving away starts to teams and expect a helterskelter second half to get us out of it. The coaches need to take responsibility for the that.

    • Stu2 on

      The Japanese linespeed dictated that game, by all means kick behind them – but not as badly and aimlessly as we did.

  24. Referendum on

    We are now going to struggle to get to a Rugby World Cup Quarter-final ever again…..

    Well done Japan. We are now in the third pot of World Rugby and now not favourites to get out of any group.

    A real mark in the road for Scottish Rugby….not for the better….

    • Stu2 on

      I disagree – nothing has really changed with regard to Scotland.

      That Japan tonight would beat anyone with the exception of NZ.

    • Sotonsaltire on

      The over-arching feeling is disappointment. We had a fully fit squad, nearly, and still were not in it in the two games that mattered.

      Barclay, Wilson, Laidlaw are yesterday’s men. Nel will retire from internationals i think- thanks for all of the effort and giving us a credible scrum again. Maitland too- he will be missed. Seymour is not the player he was pre-Lions.

      The most alarming thing is that our two ‘worldies’, Russell and Hogg have failed to fire a shot in the whole tournament.

      As painful as it may be, we have to build now for four years time and importantly get our ranking back up to 8 to not be third seeds in a group come the draw.

      Searching for pluses: Jamie Ritchie- Scotland’s best player, Fraser Brown fought manfully, Bradbury did ok, Cummings looks like the future, ZFag had his best game in a while and hopefully is over the injuries now.

      Hastings and Horne look good when on top but need to step up for Glasgow and learn to control games too.

      Outside of the squad, it’s a bit tricky to see who can come in: Matt Fagerson, possibly, Huw Jones if he can get back to form, Skinner, Watson and Price when fit.

      We need to learn to ruck better both in attack and defence. We get blown away too often. It might not be the rugby Townsend wants but it is the rugby that keeps us in games.

      Looks like we are back in the doldrums, they are hard to get out of…..

  25. Neil on

    Ah well look at the bright side.. No injuries, an entertaining game of rugby AND

    England are still the only host nation to not make there own World Cup Qf’s

    Well done Japan.

    I will be posting later on the fate of Townsend.

    • Fraser on

      Exactly – if we had played as badly in the second half as we did in the first I would be much more annoyed, but Japan deserved to win and as a bonus Ireland play the All Blacks in the quarters now….

      Yes, not getting out of the pool is a big disappointment, but there is plenty to build on going forward once the dust settles and a few players have retired….

      Congratulations Japan, hard luck to the Scottish players who put their bodies on the line today.

  26. Rob on

    Well played Japan. They have been fantastic. Scotland …. well, we will see but how many will retire/dropped? GT needs to go but who replaces him? Japan is now Tier 1 and needs to be treated as such.

  27. 1.8T on

    First thing is massive congratulations to Japan, they played very very well, we did shoot ourselves in the foot and give ourselves a massive task but that was by no means us being crap, Japan won that game.

    The first 40 was like the first 40 at Twickenham, we booted the ball (badly) down their throats and they ran it back and scored. I thought when we got our 2nd and 3rd tries we might sneak our way back in but Japan upped their game and closed us down. Their defence was utterly ferocious, we are slow and passive, anyone quick off the marks is generally one guy flying out of the line which just gives them space. As we soooo often do, we scored and let them straight back into it by making a complete hash of the restart.

    Thought for a change our forwards outshone the backs, Russell and Hogg both tried to force things too much and were well shackled, Johnson in general hasn’t had a very good World Cup, Seymour and Graham were ineffective as was Harris.

    Oh well, I’ll be supporting Japan now!

  28. Andrew McGavin on

    An amazing second half. Looked like we might just get back into it at one point, but we needed deadly accuracy and couldn’t quite manage it. Great effort from our boys to show that fight in the second half but the two tries either side of half time were killers.

    Well done to Japan. Thoroughly deserved and would be great for the tournament if they go further.

  29. john martin on

    kicked far too much in the 1st half, Japan clearly didn’t like playing against multiple phases (who does), much better after George H on producing quick ball. Harris did ok but what would’ve Hutchison done with some of that ball he got?

    • Jock in Paddyland on

      Yes, really silly to kick the ball away to a team like Japan who are great at keeping possession. The same brainless tactic let Scotland down against Ireland as well. There are some positives to take from this campaign and some good individual performances, but overall there were some mistakes in the squad selection .
      Fair play to Japan – they outplayed Scotland and Ireland with the fast game that Scotland aspire to.

  30. Sam Benedict on

    A PLUS POINT (going into next year’s 6N):

    Depth looks better than ever.

    – McInally and Brown are still great hooking options
    – Kebble, Dell and Fagerson are decent
    – In the pack, we can call upon any of Bradbury, Carmichael, Crosbie, Cummings, Fagerson, Gilchrist, Gray x2, Ritchie, Skinner, Thomson and Watson
    – George Horne is now our first-choice 9. Charlie Shiel and Jamie Dobie look great prospects for the future
    – Russell is still one of the best 10s in the world. Stinger is improving
    – Johnson’s been off form, but we know what he can deliver; Scott looks like he’s back; Bennett looks like he’s back; Hutchinson will get more Scotland games; McDowall and Dean look like they’ve got a part to play going forward; Harris could be handy; Huw Jones still exists
    – Kinghorn and Graham can light up our back three, with Blain, Hoyland and Maitland there too

    I mean, the management has to leave, obviously, and be replaced, and our entire mindset has to change. But apart from that…

    • Scrummo on

      Good post. With the likes of Nicol, Asheman, Craig, Crosbie, Dobie, Shiel and McDowell we have some superb homegrown talent to bleed into the squad over the next world cup cycle. The likes of Cummings, Bradbury, Ritchie, Horne, Kinghorn and Graham are all still so so young with most of our other key players still in their prime.

      Bodes well.

  31. Dinwoodie on

    The problem is not only Townsend, as the second half improvement showed. It is having players who can’t use their brains and adapt to what they see on the field. Instead of waiting for a dressing-room skelp at half-time before they get going.

    Russell is more often the cause of defeat than victory. His decisions to kick and his lack of skill in doing so cost us the first half. Why wasn’t Hastings even on the bench after his magnificent display against Russia?

    If our other “star” Stuart Hogg was playing today, perhaps he could write a summary of his contribution on the back of a stamp.

    Laidlaw needs to be thanked and bid farewell. George Horne as first choice (whose brother can catch now the same bus into history as Tommy Seymour after another Bambi show) and Ali Price.

    For the future, Chris Harris is gutsy and a keeper. Let Darcy grow and learn. The pack have a great base in Ritchie, Thomson and Watson.

  32. Redrobbo on

    I can’t believe I read this rubbish! You have no concept of reality. They were much better than us, more explosive, more dynamic -the best team won

  33. Sotonsaltire on

    I find it astonishing how positive a lot of the comments are. It’s the sort of oh well, the boys did their best attitude that sucks about Scottish sport. I am in no way suggesting they weren’t trying but the effort wasn’t correct. I for one am not satisfied with just turning up at the World Cup or Six Nations, and the captain and coach being polite and representing the SRU well. Good men…

    Other teams want to win and have structured their game appropriately.

    Townsend has failed and needs to go.

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