Scotland vs The World

Scotland’s World Cup may be over but the ramifications of the Scottish Rugby Union’s actions in the build up to the game against Japan look set to rumble on. On Monday Rugby World Cup tournament director, Alan Gilpin, announced that the SRU’s conduct would be referred to the independent disputes committee. Gilpin specifically referred to the SRU’s “comments and behaviours” and went on to say that it would be inappropriate to comment further.

The SRU issued its own statement on it’s website with an unnamed spokesperson saying

“Scottish Rugby confirms that it has received a notice of complaint from Rugby World Cup Ltd. Scottish Rugby is querying whether the matter is an appropriate one for the bringing of Misconduct charges”.

“If Misconduct proceedings are to proceed, Scottish Rugby looks forward to receiving a fair hearing in this matter. No further comment would be appropriate at this time.”

The Offside Line have put together an article detailing all the public comments made by the SRU and whilst Mark Dodson made it clear that the SRU had consulted a QC no specific threat of legal action was ever made. The QC concerned has spoken to the press and whilst he made no specific threats, he has since retweeted articles suggesting the SRU may resort to such a course of action.

We have no details of the allegations being levelled at the SRU. It is hard to see what action might be taken given the public comments made but we do not know what discussions were had in private nor how the SRU conducted itself in those discussions. Perhaps there was a bun fight at the buffet? Perhaps the SRU delegation ate the nice cakes that had been left out for World Rugby Chairman, Bill Beaumont? We will find out soon enough.

There is no doubt however, that the SRU could have handled the situation better. Mark Dodson and co were right to put pressure on World Rugby and tournament organisers to get the game played. Obtaining legal advice was entirely prudent in the circumstances. However whatever crisis communications plan was put in place by the SRU lacked a clear focus and from the moment the letters “QC” left Mark Dodson’s lips the story became about the threat of legal action and all statements about thoughts being with people of Japan and maintaining integrity of the tournament were lost in the resulting furore.

Such a bullish approach may work at home in forcing clubs and individuals to bend to the SRU’s will. But this is the big leagues and the SRU are guilty of failing to read the room and find themselves increasingly placed front and centre as the tier 1 fall guy.

There is a narrative building in the rugby press outside of Scotland that the SRU are the only thing standing in the way of reform because they fear the prospect of relegation. That is unlikely to have come from thin air and is likely the result of backroom briefings from a source close to World Rugby or another Union with an agenda.

The result is that Scotland and the SRU are continually being put forward as the reason why World Rugby’s Nations League fell flat on its face, despite deep reservations held by other more powerful Unions and players associations. Scotland are also the country constantly used as an example of the need to reform regulation 8 residency and ancestry qualification despite every other tier 1 nation making similar use of the same regulations. All of this could be changed in an instant, we are told, if only if it wasn’t for those pesky Scots.

That’s a nice tier 1 status, Scotland are told; it would be a shame if anything happened to it.

Over on the BBC, Tom English reported that Alan Gilpin had spent an hour or so before the match against Japan working the press room, spending time mostly with those working for English newspapers. Gilpin reportedly walked past the area containing Scottish journalists without any word at all.

It’s a telling snub that gives a real indication of Scotland’s place in World Rugby. The opinion of the Scottish rugby press carries no real weight outside of Scotland and the SRU increasingly finds itself isolated, trapped between other tier 1 Unions laying the blame for all World Rugby’s failings at their door and tier 2 nations pushing for a place at the big table.

The SRU’s decision to vote in favour of France’s bid to host the 2023 World Cup instead of Ireland’s bid did them no favours over the Irish Sea. The decision itself was sound. The French bid was financially sound and one of Ireland’s proposed stadiums didn’t even have planning permission at the time.

However, the Irish have long memories and a canny ability to hold a grudge until the end times. For some, Gregor Townsend has a black mark against his name because he made an allegation that Peter Clohessy used racist language during a 2002 game between Castres and Munster which saw Clohessy cited and facing a ban. The charge was later dropped, largely because it was seen as a tit-for-tat citing after Clohessy had been bitten.

There are others who will never forgive or forget Glasgow Warriors for Connor Murray’s standing leg-gate.

The SRU now need to go on an all-out PR charm offensive publicly and privately and need a canny strategy taking account of everything coming their way. They need to find some friends, and fast, because the outcome of disciplinary action could see Scotland docked four match points in the absolute worst case scenario.

Were that to be applied retrospectively Scotland would be required to qualify for the next World Cup. Scotland undoubtedly have the ability to easily do so but it would put a huge strain on the player pool. It would also seriously jeopardise the SRU’s ability to host big money-making Autumn Tests and to fulfil a promised summer tour of New Zealand under the revised international calendar. Were those points docked for the 2023 tournament then Scotland would have a mountain to climb and they’d likely be consigned to the international wilderness for the next decade.

But Scotland do hold some cards. The SRU own one sixth of the Six Nations. That at least affords them some power, but only so much. They might find they catch more flies with honey than vinegar and some schmoozing and damage limitation work with a clear focus on key messages and an end result needs to start in earnest.

Much like the national team itself the question may be asked – are the current management structure up to doing that though?

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Born a Souter but brought up just south of the Border in Berwick where he played for Berwick RFC as a kid any any position where cover was needed.
Follow Cammy on twitter @CammyBlack

131 comments on “Scotland vs The World

  1. TeamCam on

    The sad thing is how many idiots are happy to swallow the narrative WR are putting out there and pile on. As Tom English – and people commenting on his tweet – observe, there have been plenty of comments that have brought the game into disrepute. What a petty move. And, crucially, the party who has done the most damage to the integrity of the game is WR with their bush-league contingency planning and lies.

    Dark times ahead.

  2. Stu2 on

    What actually are the benefits of Tier 1 status?

    We are only now getting our first game in NZ in 20yrs next year.

      • Johnny b on

        You definitely get a bigger say on decisions affecting the whole game.
        I think a tier 1 gets 3 delegates 3 votes and a tier 2 gets 2 delegates 2 votes.

        Something like that.

        So the RWC in Ireland could go ahead (smirks)

      • Sas on

        Forget about the politics, our team he’s just had it worst RWC ever. That’s what I’d rather be discussing on here. We’ve got equally the best pool of players in depth than at any other time in our history. Yet we’ve got the most inexperienced coach in world rugby, is he ever going to be any good ? I don’t think so .what other international country would want him? None. Let’s get real and get him out. Townsend is not a world class coach. Let’s not waste the talent we’ve got while Townsend develops into whatever the SRU silver spoon department are dreaming of. Wake up true Scotland fans vote with your feet and don’t turn up . I love my country, I hate to see snotty nosed privileged people like Townsend put in places that they haven’t worked for.

      • Johnny b on

        Sas – ridiculous.
        2011 was worse. At least this team looks like it has tries in it.

        And playing in front of a half empty murrayfield and assassinating players whose issue is confidence is really going to help, isn’t it?

    • Sas on

      I thought that this was a Scottish rugby sport blog , you’ve got your nose so far up the back passage of the SRU silver spoon department, that you dare not talk about the worst Scottish RWC ever! Just when we’ve got the greatest and equally talented player pool in Scottish rugby history, for the simple reason that we have talent coming in from the plastic spoon part of society the first era ever where the school you went to and who your daddy was isn’t supposed to matter. Unfortunately we’re not discussing the unfortunate fact that we have a coach who may never be world class, who can’t get his tactics right to suit the team he’s playing and doesn’t even know what player to start, let alone leaving out many of our best . Silver spoon Townsend is still an apprentice his judgement is poor , his tactics are poor, his coaching staff are poor, his selection is naive. I as you the question, what other international country would want our apprentice coach? It does seem that the SRU’s silver spoon award goes to the amazingly poor , but lovely boy that no other country wants Gregor Townsend. Time to vote with our feet for our true country men.

      • Scrummo on

        I think some people need a major reality check. We might have the best depth and talent we’ve had for a while but all the other nations haven’t been stood still. Most other tier 1 sides dont look at our team and see many players they’d pick ahead of their own options. We’ve more in contention now than before and the makings of a good side but it’s early days.

      • WestCountryTartanArmy on

        Scrummo, just out of interest, when is it no longer early days? We are 20 years since a title, another 20 perhaps? I am not being flippant, and I agree that the above may be too much and that we must not get ahead of ourselves, but we also must demand more. I’m not thinking about World Cups, I’m thinking about 6N and this weekend has shown us that the likes of Ireland and Wales are not unbeatable and yet we still treat them with deference.

      • Scrummo on

        I couldn’t say. I do think we are improving. Our key players (Gray, Hogg, Russell) are being picked up by big French and English clubs to play important roles for them which is something that wasn’t happening enough before. We also have an academy system churning out better and better players though hopefully the under 20 result last season will be a blip.

        You have to be realistic, we have two pro teams. Neither are challenging at the business end of the European Cup and yet we get to the 6N and play countries like England who pick the core of their squad from Saracens or Exeter or Ireland picking from the Leinster side and seem to expect to match them every time because we’ve got Hamish Watson.

        For years we didn’t even have a decent stand off, now we have the worlds most mercurial one, sometimes he runs the game and other times he doesnt quite fire. That’s not Gregor’s fault he can only work with the tools he has and for what it’s worth I think he’s gradually getting Finn there.

        I’m not saying we should be happy there are certainly improvements we can make, defence for one but we will never consistently challenge at the top, at best we will compete and have the odd season it clicks and we can do something. We don’t have anywhere near the resources or playing numbers of other tier 1 nations. Some of the moaning and Townsend blaming bilge on here is unreal. Huw Jones would have won us that world cup group, never mind his last good game being 2 years ago.

      • Scrummo on

        We have good players. Any one of our starting line up has it in them to excel at international level but there standard or baseline level isn’t as high as their rivals. The Irish or English pack playing at 7/10 is stronger than our pack playing at 7/10. We’ve seen 8 or 9 out of 10 performances from that pack mind but coaxing every player to play near their ceiling every time is a huge ask and all too often must will look average whilst one or two rise to the occasion. Like I say I do think we are improving though, Cummings or Skinner will be a big upgrade on Gilchrist who isn’t effective at 7/10. Ritchie is a ‘test match animal’ etc but we still need an upgrade on the front row. McInally has played some great stuff but this world cup he reverted to 7/10 and games passed him by. No player can consistently play 9/10 but his 7/10 isn’t good enough and that’s systemic of too many of our players.

      • Bass Rock on

        Oh Scrummo, I think these lads , SAS and WC Tartan Army have a point. A point will not go away, by trying to knock them down with a bowling ball.

        If you read these posts , you will see posts that belittle Vern Cotter, a real coach IMO , because he inherited Townsend’s stars (allegedly) , the team that Townsend manufactured, the team that was the raw material for an average Cotter , so we sacked him and stepped up the apprentice. If you read these posts you will see folks droning on about Winning Pro 14’s , being finalists, with the same lads that are the core of the Scotland side. Some will tell you (when it suits them) we do have as good a set of players as any .

        If you look at last seasons pro 14 tables you will see that the highest welsh side in each conference was 4th , yet Wales won the 6N and Scotland managed to beat the mighty Italy at Home to avoid the hard wooden thing . You may want to mention the draw, however that will take all night as there is the odd person in here who still believes Toonie masterminded that at half time. We have been humiliated at the hands of Fiji and the USA. In the Game against Japan we used the fast game to engineer 3 tries , two of which were scored by the props who were just shuffling past at the time. We have picked so many players and tried them out , over looking others in the process. Everyone is wondering what he is looking for !

        How obvious does it need to be ! They have a point.

      • Johnny b on

        We hear your moaning. It never ends.
        We all know by now that your solution is to sack people.

        So you’d sack Townsend and replace him with… who?

        Please would you publish a shortlist of people ready to come in that would get your seal of approval.

        Then I’d like to know the alternative Scotland XV that could take us to hitherto undreamed of heights and that our coaches have somehow overlooked.

        If you could publish that then that would be incredible.

      • Stu2 on

        It wasn’t the worst RWC ever, so we can safely ignore the rest of the drivel you’ve posted.

        And your use of “true country men” tells us all we need to know about you.

      • Bass Rock on

        Johnny B this is tedious , you know we won’t hence your position. Even a broken clock is right twice a day and all that .

        Yes sack him, I will give you one good reason why we should , because he does not hesitate to do the same with his squad, his endless squad. Not one man who has stood up to him remains. look at the players he has dropped or overlooked for poor performance ! That is his language , so talk to him in his language.

        It is someones Job to manage the head coach’s performance.

        Give me one good reason why we would tell a man who understands only one way , his way, that his way, is not getting results.

        The RWC is no surprise to me , his 6N melt down was only compounded by the surrender to Ireland and poor tactics and preparation for Japan.

      • Johnny b on

        Bass Rock all I would like to know are the coaches and unfairly overlooked players you think would turn this ship around immediately.

        We have promising players who are short of confidence in a team which has lacked continuity partly due to injury and partly due to selection and tactical tinkering.

        This can be addressed by improving continuity as the two are linked.

        This falls to the coach, who also has qualities. He is undoubtedly innovative, intelligent and has insight into his players but, perhaps, he needs to learn that some of the stuff you can do with players you coach every day over a 20 game league season don’t work so well with players you only work with for a few weeks and who have to hit the ground running in a 4 or 5 game tournament.

        In the pool games the continuity improved a lot after the tanking by Ireland. We probably got the tactics wrong v Japan, but there are reasons to believe we are close and Toonie deserves another chance.

        Personally as a dedicated fan my 6N hopes would revolve around performance rather than results.
        We never get tanked – Wales 2018, Ireland RWC, France in the warms ups never happen again.
        Linked to that we hit the ground running and play well in our 1st fixture and in the 1st half of all our games.
        Our defence improves.

        Do those things and wins will come.

      • Bass Rock on

        Johnnyb : I know you are a ‘real’ Scotland fan. You deserve to be
        fully paid, card carrying , member if the fan club. But you need to face the facts. The table never lies, look at the 6N table, look at the World Rankings, look at the RWC table. All going in the wrong direction. Failing with the best players we have had in a very long time, name me one player that we are missing that will make it better ? If you can , you will have answered your own question on who has been overlooked ? (hint : you only need to read this blog to help you if stuck) If you cannot , then the only place you place you can look is the coach. If you can and he never took them, then the only place you can look is the coach.

        This is checkmate Johnny , all you have done is confirmed to me that Townsend must go.

      • Bass Rock on

        Johnnyb: Thought you might not be able to find away out of that. So it is the coach. Conclusive. Why are you arguing to go another year and hemorrhage more when the answer is so clear ! A true fan would want to see us moving forward, just an opinion .

  3. Campbell B on

    Those pesky scots have provided two of the most entertaining matches for neutrals this year. Games where rugby won the day.

    They also deserved better than Joubert 2015 as did France in 2011.

    Lets be honest, look in the mirror, what are we prepared to do to change rugby. Spectating is good, sending kids, is great , talking your neighbours kids and your to mini rugby is better.

  4. The Samsquamtch on

    The answer is simple to all this. I thought Dobson was completely correct in going full nuclear and I think there is a pretty good chance the game would have been cancelled days before it was due had we not. The Italians should have backed us up rather than complain about us complaining. We wouldn’t be second guessing Dobson if we had beaten Japan.

    Frankly all of the tribulations of the above can be solved by one thing. Be better. If Scotland just focus on their own game WR can’t ignore us. If we consistently aim for top 4-6 teams in the world then they can have it in for us all they like but they make a joke out of the game if they ostracise us. They wouldn’t treat NZ the way they treat us, why? Because we just aren’t important enough and the root of that is performances.

    If they dock points from the next World Cup because we kicked up a fuss about their plan to shaft us out of the last one, WR is just a joke. It would look even more ludicrous if we managed to win a 6 nations or two between now and then however and were genuine competitors in 2023.

  5. greengumbo on

    Good article Cammy although I feel the SRU schmoozing too much up to World Rugby is pretty pathetic.

    “There is a narrative building in the rugby press outside of Scotland that the SRU are the only thing standing in the way of reform because they fear the prospect of relegation.”

    Is this relegation from tier 1 or 6N ? Tier 1 wise that’s bollocks. We are clearly tier 1 and anyone saying otherwise is simply being disingenuous.

    6N wise – I would think Italy would be the ones most worried with the last 4 wooden spoons but yes times change, teams change and rankings change and will again so Scotland could be in trouble…..but Wales and France have finished bottom in the not too distant past and Ireland hold the distinction of the most wooden spoons in the comps history across formats.

    I personally don’t think Scotland have anything to worry about regards to this legal wrangle but who really knows. Not much we can do about it now.

  6. sceptic 9 on

    Dodson had to go hard and public. We would have been ignored otherwise, and the non existent robust contingency plans applied.
    Except there were contingency plans for some games (Ireland, England and NZ) and not for others, and WR made up a”fairness” interpretation (heavily briefed) that if they cancel one game (because NZ refused to move it a day) then no game would be moved. Utter nonsense.

    This looks like a vindictive attempt to shut the SRU, vindictive because we were a main player in blocking the so called World League (also now as the SH unions pillage more cash from the NH ones)

    Gilpin snubbing the Scottish press says it all. A man who messed up, lied and has been found out and unwilling to face questions

  7. Connor MacLeod on

    ‘the outcome of disciplinary action could see Scotland docked four match points in the absolute worst case scenario.

    Were that to be applied retrospectively Scotland would be required to qualify for the next World Cup.’

    Scotland had 11 points in Pool A with Samoa on 5 points; so even a deduction of 4 points would still leave us in third place.

    Unless I’m missing something!

  8. Highland Bear on

    Dangerous times for Scottish rugby. Throwing Dodson under the bus may be the price to restore the governing body’s good standing with the World governing body.

  9. Johnny b on

    Just box clever.
    World rugby see in Scotland a country of 5 million where until recently the game was in decline. It started 20 years ago when we couldn’t sell out murrayfield for our own rwc.
    Yes they’d throw us under a bus in pursuit of an illusory market in the US or some such but understand that this is grandiose nonsense on the part of a sport which has failed to consolidate its status in Italy, is suffering serious issues in Australia and is seeing decline in attendances and viewing figs for competitions such as super rugby.
    Relating to this typhoon issue we have, so far, lost the PR battle. We didn’t even win the game, increasing the perception we are outsize whingers.
    So be clever. World rugby will look like chumps if they dock us points and the process will publicise all the claims of ineptitude and undue influence they’re trying to punish us for making in the first place.
    Let ’em get on with it and make sure we’re good friends with Italy and other unions affected by it. In short let them hang themselves.

    Away from that, being more competitive on the pitch would be an immeasurable help too.

    The world of pay per view is littered who got above themselves and lost their heartlands.
    Just ask rugby league or even cricket.

  10. Tony B on

    Maybe we need to have a siege mentality that finds it way to the team. Might add some bite and edge to games in the future. It’s blindingly obvious that there is a preferential pecking order I world rugby and Scotland is not at the top table. We have to use that going forward to motivate all teams to play harder and better than their more respected opposition.

  11. RuggersB on

    I think the continued badgering of Scotland RU by WRorg using media to discredit them…is at best hypocritical of them. At worst it implies an agenda.
    I think the mature thing to have done would be to publicly thank everyone for making the game happen and note how it was a great game for rugby…just like SRU did..let the tournament finish discuss the issues privately with SRU and announce any changes to any future tournament planning if applicable. (Which there obviously needs to be).

    Instead …WRorg waited all of 1or2 days after Scotlands illimination …to publicly state they were threatening SRU with legal action…the exact same issue WRorg stated they had with Scotland pre match!!.

    They are petulant children running WRorg….and 100% they could have avoided this whole situation themselves.
    In continued attempts in discrediting of SRU and Scotland WRorg ..and considering that THEY are the governing body of rugby with a responsibility to manage the game in a positive manner…they are simply discrediting themselves.

    They were not playing fair…hence SRU had little option to do what they did.
    Walk meekly away like Italy?…no thanks!!…If you believe in there is a lack of fairness and equality of decisions…absolutely the right thing to do is challenge that. It should have been a constructive behind the scenes discussion instead SRU obviously felt it was no longer that or never was.

    100% none of this would have escalated if it was NZ, SA, Eng, Japan…

  12. RuggersB on

    Further to that…. the game only went ahead because of dramatic improvements in the weather, as often happens the day after a storm…..and the the fact the people of Japan reacted in an impressive manner in dealing with the effects of the storm.

    The game would NOT have taken place…had that not happened… WRorg were never going to change their decision protocol…and deserve little to no credit at all with how they dealt with the situation.

  13. The Chiel on

    Dodson got the game on. Absolutely not belittling the superb local Japanese logistics & repair effort, but I firmly believe the IRB would have taken their preferred last 8, closed it down and moved on two days beforehand but for Dodson.

    With hindsight, mentioning New Zealand specifically was a mistake ( but completely accurate ), but other than that I would back his actions completely. And if the juveniles that are the IRB want to take it further, I suspect full disclosure will embarrass them more than us. Ganbatte Dodson, as the Japanese say .
    And if we’re such sore losers, why is every Scot I know now fully behind Japan in the competition ?

    • Keith on

      Bingo! Yeah do think that the sabre rattling was necessary because WR were happy to cancel the match. I’m actually amazed the Italians haven’t gone legal on this as their game was cancelled and ours wasn’t.
      I actually think the SRU now need to keep quiet. The best plan is to let this blow over rather than ramping things up. And as people have said develop a little bit of a “them and us” mentality to drive performance. If we perform the tune will change. As a Scot living in Philly this is exactly the mentality that drove a fairly decent but not great Eagles team to the Super Bowl. It can be very powerful. Also noted a nice article by Tom English (who I don’t like) on GT and the sounds coming out from GT are good. Let’s see how we fare in the 6N and keep our heads down, eyes up.

      • Johnny b on

        The thing about the eagles is they had confidence.
        In fact confidence is the reason a siege mentality works as players think they’ve been diddled out of something that was rightfully theirs.
        Not sure our boys have that confidence, in which case believing everybody is against you can be the opposite and very corrosive, reinforcing your own self doubts.

    • RuggersB on

      ..actually Parisse was first to bring up the issue he had if the roles with reversed and NZneeded the points…publicly stating he felt the match would have played. Nobody blinked an eye lid at that tho…SRU bring it up…and WR and media are all over it like a rash.

      • Johnny b on

        The Italian union are responsible for punishing Parrise for disrepute not world rugby + he’s retiring + they probably told him to do it.

      • RuggersB on

        Yeah…and they won’t punish him …why would you punish someone who has given their all to the sport and for giving a truthful response to a question.
        They know fine well he was correct in what he said.

  14. Grum on

    I read this just after a call from a nephew in Singapore. He lambasted Scotland for pursuing the game take place in the face of the Japanese people facing the typhoon. Sample of one but to him we had clearly lost the PR battle .
    There is truth and there is perception , the biggest PR department ‘wins’ the argument .

    • RuggersB on

      Maybe thats true for folks who dont mind pulling porkies to get what they want.
      Personally I think truth and fairness is what is important in any situation.

      • Grum on

        Welcome to the 21st C.
        ( I’ll ignore the implied insult).
        Where was Dodson when WRug were working the international press?

      • Johnny b on

        Grum I live down south surrounded by a gloatfest (noun) of england ruggah fans and all of them responded to the headlines the way your nephew did, but as the dust has settled all of them have started to see how ridiculous world rugby were too.

      • RuggersB on

        It isnt an insult….its PR …its a vehicle to ‘Spin the truth’ …which is man made to conveniently bend the truth in the best interests of the organization.
        The truth doesn’t need a spin.
        I dont need welcomed to the 21st…ive spent almost 30 yrs with and around global corporations and their PR and know fine well its function and its intent.
        This should just be about sporting integrity not about competitive perceptions.

      • Bass Rock on

        Johnny, I know someone has to live down south and it is a very good quality of life, however what we need is someone with your wisdom, drive and clear vision , in Scotland right now, adding their weight to the reformation of Scottish rugby. You will miss out , this is a turning point.

      • Johnny b on

        Thanks Bass, sarcasm a requirement too?

        I need a coach for that, but you look perfect (see… I’m a quick learner……).

  15. Gavin Barr on

    What is more important is what are Dodson and the SRU going to do about our lamentable performance under present management. How long since we beat a team higher placed than us in the world rankings? Why have we slipped to 9th in the ranking? Why do we consistently leak tries in major games? What are they going to do about it? Nothing!

    • Bass Rock on

      We can vote with our feet, but it is compulsive viewing. Seriously , no one holds them accountable , if genuine fans pull out Murrayfield, depend on corporate hospitality. The answer is the advertisers need to apply the pressure IMO

      • Johnny b on

        Why do supporters think failing to support the team will help?

        1) Our descent in the eyes of world rugby commenced when fans who disagreed with the restructure of professional rugby 20 years ago voted with their feet. Consequently a 5N champ side played home rwc ’99 fixtures against the Springboks and ABs in a stadium only 3/4 full. The look was terrible and as a gesture it achieved nothing.

        2) scottish players can be short of confidence. Support from fans gives them a boost.

        Voting with your feet will make things worse, not better.

      • Bass Rock on

        JB: You don’t quite get the point. That is what has started to happen Johnny. Look at Murrayfield , next time you visit, I assume you do ! Corporate Hospitality is filling much of the stadium, whether formal or informal .The drop in fans is masked , and the newbies will soon grow bored. but when corporations finally say, the package is not worth it ? That will force the change.

      • Tam on

        BR may have a point, we get only a few thousand to watch Edinburgh and it is the same guys. We rarely see you Johnny , or do we , do you make the pilgrimage north to see Glasgow or Edinburgh every weekend, or even better your home club side down in the nationals ? I suspect not. Though I do agree , seeing it from afar is easier than in the trench.

      • Johnny b on

        Going to watch my home club side in the nationals this weekend!
        Yes I go to murrayfield sometimes. It’s bloomin good value compared to some places too!.

  16. Johnny b on

    Excuse me if I’m missing something but docking 4 points from our current total still leaves us 3rd in the group and auto-qualified for 2023?

    I bet that’s what world rugby do.

    It would be a humiliating sanction calculated to put us in our place while being practically inconsequential thus something they think we’d be unlikely to challenge thereby drawing a line under the issue.

    If they fine us or dock points from our 2023 total then inevitably we’ll fight back, the story will remain interesting to the press and inevitably invite comment and publicity, much of which will be unfavourable to world rugby.

    • FF on

      Where has this suggestion come from that we could be docked points in 2023?

      It is absurd and would really undermine the integrity of the next RWC too, but I’ve only ever read it mentioned here.

      I can’t really see World Rugby wanting to force us to qualify either; isn’t the Rugby Europe Championship the European qualification route, which takes place during the 6N? No way are home unions going to allow a World Rugby tantrum time interrupt our money maker particularly if we have CVC deal done. No one wins.

      It’ll be a fine and a slap on the wrist.

  17. Saint4805 on

    Does anyone think that the option to cancel games (due to weather) and award a 0/0 draw was simply a potential lever to manipulate final standings? I don’t understand why the rules didn’t say “World Cup Organisers will endeavour to reschedule any game due to extreme weather within say two days and where this proves impossible the result will be 0/0”.

    I also recall in 2015 after England and Ireland got knocked out that were noises coming out that WR’s ‘preferred final’ was NZ v Aus. There is usually no smoke without fire and they clearly have preferred match ups in the knockout stages which is absolutely deplorable given this is meant to be a fair professional sport and they are meant to be impartial.

    • Kicksnsushi on

      And never mind the Joubert and skeen incidents in 2015, remember world rugbys mad attempt to get gray and ford banned for the quarter final before the media called them out on it

  18. Colin on

    I had reservations but am now pleased Dodson as far as I am concerned stuck up for Scotland and got the game on. Everyone is absolutely right in saying if it was NZ, ENG, etc.

    He had no choice but to go the whole hog because there was no time to wait and see.

    What he has done is brought focus on the pathetic contingency planning in place by World Rugby. I would love to know if they ever sat down with experts and went through their plans, “what if … ?”, “what if … ?”, and kept challenging possible outcomes to arrive at a robust contingency.

    Obviously, they didn’t, otherwise the plan would not have been, “sod it, cancel the game.”

    And I think that’s a big part why they are throwing the toys out. They have been exposed.

    • RuggersB on

      Agreed.. Gilpin’s childlike response to being rightly accused of incompetence.
      He is the one whose position should be reviewed….not Dodson.
      He is paid as a Rugby authority, to represent world rugby on the global stage AND ALL of its participants.
      As you alluded to…He’s made a pigs ear of both the organization of what is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport…and then encouraged a ‘handbags’ situation to escalate when it could have been avoided.

    • Alanyst on


      Deny Attack Reverse Victim and Offender.

      Classic approach of toddlers, wounded narcissists, and folk who’ve been caught with their pants down.

      The switch to ad hominem tells you WR have nothing save their institutional power and their spite.

      However, I believe we should not engage more than we have to, arguing with idiots and all that.

      Also, does seem like the WR is looking for a scapegoat for their failures; everyone is hoping it’s not them, and the other unions will happily join in so as to save themselves…

      As a jerk who lost, I bet Pichot is behind a lot of this…the man is a snake in the grass.

  19. Bass Rock on

    Do nothing , prolong this , wait and see what the other unions have to say. Some have played 4 games to get out of pool, NZ , France and England on the other hand 3. You can be sure they will all have different opinions on the wisdom of that , when their time comes to depart the tournament.

    • RuggersB on

      Yes. I find it interesting that they have said little on that subject. It’ll come though…once they are illiminated.
      No way will any of their respective coaches lose and just say the better team won. Nooo …itll be the Ref..the amount of games played..the recovery duration…the weather… the squad size…etc etc
      There won’t be any disrepute charged towards them tho!

    • BorderBadger on

      That’s an excellent point. Lets see what happens if, for example, Wales or Australia lose.
      Can’t imagine Chieka will be able to help himself commenting that the opposition have had a big fat rest!

  20. JB Lake on

    On another matter did anyone see Hogg’s interview at Edinburgh airport on STV news. His eyes were everywhere but the interviewer or camera. Did the full clock face. Not his usual interview composure. Has no one prepared them for this ? I am no expert in body language ….but.

    • RuggersB on

      I haven’t seen that…but I was thinking the other day….Crikey! the whole of Scotland rugby needs to be sat down and trained to deal with the media.
      Hogg is guilty of being overzealous in his responses to media questions…. you should always be honest of course…I dont like to listen to predetermined responses that aren’t true to a person….But he, along with a few others, is guilty of verbal diarrhea with the media.
      Probably told in no uncertain terms to avoid the media.

    • Rebecca on

      Yes… hope he’s doing ok. It must be tough.
      I’m beginning to really wonder what help the team get in a lot of areas. It just doesn’t feel that professional. (A recent exception being the good reports from David Denton)

  21. Kicksnsushi on

    The perception that Scotland are trying to keep down tier 2 teams is a bit unfair given we were the first tier 1 team to play in Georgia, and have recently played tests in Samoa and Fiji. Some tier 1 teams have never done that

  22. Border's exile on

    This move is not serious , it is designed to calm things down and discourage other unions from making their feelings known. I suspect there will be more drama in the RWC , the omens are all there . The easy decision was to call the game off , though I have no idea what happens to ticket revenue in that situation ? Does anyone know ? I suspect that even if there is refunds offered, not everyone will seek refunds. However once again, what about stadium advertisers ? They would not have had the opportunity for media coverage in the matches cancelled. I wonder if any of them would have appreciated an alternative stadium with their advertising on world television, or even prefer to postpone for a few days ! The latter I feel is impractical , but they paid for their name to be connected to the show, they will have an opinion.

  23. RuggerB on

    I think the whole thing needs to just be nipped in the bud. Otherwise its just going to get worse for both parties regardless of who was in the right. (..and of course I believe SRU and Scotland were 100% within their rights to challenge), We’ve said our piece…there really isnt anything to add to it.
    I wish we could just move on…Scotland have enough to to be concerned about as they review the performances of coaches and players (after what has been a pretty poor year for both the senior side and the U20s), make forward looking decisions and prepare for a 6N in 3 months. My hope is that we can just move forward and make decisions that give us the platform to do something special in the future and at the next RWC ’23. We have some extremely promising players coming through and, combined with the a young core from this current group , could achieve great success if the platform is in place for them.

  24. 1.8T on

    Yes we do seem to be getting singled out. I don’t really care about the Irish thing as I don’t subscribe to the overly romanced “Celtic brothers” nonsense, we made a decision based on what was best for us, as did everyone else.

    As for the nations league I was under the impression that as it effectively kills the 6N, which everyone loves, pretty much everyone thinks it’s a rubbish idea?

    We might have been a bit rubbish in the World Cup and 6N this year but let’s not forget we have beaten everyone apart from NZ and SA within the last 3 years and other than a couple of slips have generally walloped any “lower tier” opposition we have come up against.

    The best course of action would be to get good at playing rugby, just think how much that would annoy them all?!

    • JohnMc on

      Yes, how we perform on the pitch is hugely important. There is a good deal of room for improvement of course, but apart from some lapses – including some embarrassing ones – our record since the second half of 2015 is much better than it was in our wilderness years of 2000 to 6N 2015, so anyone alleging we don’t belong in the top tier can just do one.
      If it’s within their ambit, I’d far rather see WRorg address things such as how to strengthen the game in the Pacific Nations – like getting their players paid properly for playing Tests away against Tier One sides, and applying pressure on those same sides to play Tests in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.
      As to Japan, it’s great for them and the world game to watch them perform so strongly at this RWC. They are also owed some effort by WRorg to help them get more chances home and away to play other highly ranked Test sides.
      These are the kinds of thing WRorg should be doing – instead of picking fights with us.

  25. phil1edinburgh on

    “The opinion of the Scottish rugby press carries no real weight outside of Scotland and the SRU increasingly finds itself isolated” – since when has the SRU taken any notice of any suggestions from clubs or players in Scotland. Its the whinging and whining that grates rather then the failing to live up to the reason “threats” were allegedly made,

  26. MK on

    I hope Vaahamina is apologising to his team mates right now. What was he thinking!? Wales made extremely heavy weather of that, Japan or Soith Africa will end their run.

  27. Johnny b on

    South Africa probably would, Japan could if able to play their game.
    But Wales are a clever, disciplined and structured side who don’t lose composure very easily.
    They’ve beaten the saffas a lot recently. I thought in last year’s AIs the boks had them for power, just trucking it up close to the ruck and would have won sticking with this tactic (which they deployed v us the week before)
    Rather than panic, Wales kept their shape, frustrated them a bit and the boks quickly lost their composure and started to spin the ball wide which played into the Welsh blitz defence and work rate and Wales, as we know, won.
    Wales have a clever coach and their players trust him and know what they have to do.

    So I’m not sure either of those teams will end their run and if they make it to the final, well… it’s a one off game….

    They are a good example to Scotland of what you can do with consistent selection and a basic plan…

    • RuggersB on

      Wales look by far the weakest of the 4 SF teams.
      A well structured team won’t win the RWC …if thats all they got.
      NZ are ..well structured…skilled rugby players in every position…and play a very dynamic hybrid of defense and attack.
      England play like England..I think they have 2 great back row talents in Curry and Underhill ..but dunno about them… dont really have the dynamism that NZ do. England always look more comfortable when the opposition play a slugfest or just toss away possession too easily. They look like a deer in headlights when teams attack them unexpectedly.
      Wales.. defend like they are marshaled by a war vet…but dont have much dynamism or ball handling skills. France would have beaten them with their 15 on the pitch.
      Looking back from a Scotland perspective..SA made Japan look like the overrated team that they are. Japan are not NZ. They work hard, play as a unit know their systems ..that seems their biggest attributes to me.
      Japan played better as a unit than Scotland did this RWC. Joseph got every ounce out of them…but SA showed how to play them…and they looked short of ideas and ability in the last 3rd. Never really threatening the try line against SA.
      The 3 day prep (2day because of bad weather) hampered Scotland greatly I think. Scotland played without any real cohesion and poor defensively…yet still had chances to beat Japan. We need a coach like nonsense..gets us playing as a unit and playing to our strengths.

      • Johnny b on

        There’s more to Wales than structure and discipline.
        North, AWJ, Davies, Williams are great players.
        Mentally they are tough.
        I don’t think they would beat the ABs but they will deal with Bok power better than Japan and will be underdogs.
        England can beat the ABs.
        Wales are worth a £5 bet. If they upset the Boks then face England whom they’ve beaten x 2 this season….

      • RuggersB on

        The majority of players didn’t have 2-3 prep??
        I counted 10 from the Russia match played in the Japan match….and 2-3 days were all we had to prepare the actual playing of the Japan match…the rest of those 2weeks were for general training and prep for Russia match.
        Japan had 7-8 days to focus…it matters.

  28. Stu2 on

    Wales are awful to watch, they have no creativity, kick and invite teams onto them – they are barely legal at the breakdown – all in all its terrible to watch.

    Gatland must be the spawniest coach in the game.

    • RuggersB on

      I just dont see much more to Wales than that.
      Ditto Ireland….absolutely honking to watch for the neutral.
      It gets consistent results…thats all.
      I know it takes all kinds to make it interesting…but crikey those two stretch it!
      They are turning union into rugby league…
      Gatland & Schmitt were NZ rejects….they have the innovation of a wet lettuce and will never get anywhere closer than an extended bargepole of the NZ job.

      As for England… they’ll beat the ABs if they turn it into an awful to watch anti rugby slugfest..which will no doubt be their game plan If its an open match there will only be one winner. England players simply do not have the same level of skill as the ABs. Folks believing anything else have been watching too much SKY TV.

      • Johnny b on

        Cotter, Joseph, Rennie a whole bunch of others NZ are also rejects?
        That country leads the way and produces more rugby talent than any other, being a ‘reject’ doesn’t make you bad!!

      • RuggersB on

        some are rejects.. some just looking for wider experience and exposure to different styles…some rated much higher in NZ than others.
        In general though …success breeds success…the ABs have that in abundance..hence the coaching farm.

        Tom Brown, for eg the Japan assist coach/attack coach, is highly rated in NZ and is being touted to take over from Hansen.

        Gatland or Scmitt are no where near that job…nor will they be.
        ..and I agree being rejected doesnt equate to being a bad coach…that said, NZ say they aren’t impressed enough…and they seem to know what they are talking about.

      • Johnny b on

        There was plenty of talk of a Cotter/ Schmidt partnership taking the ABs helm from Hansen when he stood down a couple of seasons ago.
        Gatland is unquestionably an all time great coach.
        Wales before him were like we are now….
        Talent was definitely visible but the team was flaky and got knocked out by Fiji in the pool stage in 07.
        Look what they’ve done since and look what he did with the lions. Definitely punched above their weight.

      • RuggersB on

        where did that ‘talk’ come from ..their agents? the UK media?
        If NZ called them and asked if they fancied replacing the old water boy they’d be offski faster than they could say Chur…
        If NZ wanted either of them they would be there…period.
        We’ll agree to disagree…I think he gets decent results with an effective defensive focussed game…
        one dimensional outlook, dire to watch… and I wouldn’t want him coaching Scotland at any level.

      • RuggersB on

        How did Lions punch above their weight?
        A team devised of the very best players of the home countries. Countries that have already achieved some good results v SH teams..
        Should be winning comfortably really.

      • Johnny b on

        So Gatland forges a flaky Wales team going nowhere into an iron hard disciplined multiple championship winning side and you focus on his failure to win the 1st lions series in NZ since the 70s and only the 2nd in history.
        And he drew it.
        Need to take those blinkers off.

    • RuggersB on

      …and The Lions gets much more interest I think from UK/Ireland than it does NZ.
      I find the lions thing kinda bizarre anyway…
      If Ireland can win a few games v NZ… Wales beat an SA ..or Eng beat Oz…why is it so hard to select the very best players from the home nations to compete with them on a 3 match tour. I mean does the coach have to be that great?…I dont see that it does.
      Crikey.. even a decent Scotland team can compete with the SH teams with an inexperienced coach.
      Lions schmions…meh!. Crikey …a Gatland team v SA next up….rugby leag.. i mean union at its finest.

  29. James on

    Two reasonably straight forward kicks missed and France are out of the RWC. But the blame has to lie with Vaahamina, what an idiotic thing to do. France looked good up to that point and were playing exciting rugby as well. I’d have loved a France v NZ final.

    How do other readers feel Scotland would have faired against the quarter-finalists?

    I think we’ve a massive amount of ground to make up to get to the level of the semi-finalists (yes, Wales never seem to offer much but they still seem to win games, they’ve just got a knack of staying in games and nicking them at the end – it’d be a good skill to have!) I also don’t think we’d have been able to live with France playing like that.

    • RuggersB on

      I dont even think getting to the level of SF means you will be in the SF. There are fine margins at the top …you have to be at the level…and turn up playing your best..and hope the ref has a good game…and the weather is decent.

      I dont think we would have beaten any of the QFs. We just weren’t playing well enough… we didn’t deserve to be there. Anything else is just wishful thinking.
      IF we had a better coaching staff we would have probably made it to the QF and had a chance…but with no consistency and no defensive structure …we wouldn’t beat anyone in QF.
      Our pool had the weakest 2 QF teams…and we couldn’t beat either of them.
      We weren’t light years away. We have some really good players. Improperly coached with ineffective tactics = shambles.

    • BruceP on

      Without hearing the referee working through the framework, I can only assume he felt there was a low degree of danger in the contact, especially as Fickou didn’t need to go for a HIA.

      Going by his reaction to the referee walking up to him Moriarty himself thought it was going to be a red, which is telling.

      Could have been Peyper’s last game as a referee after his fan photo after the game.

      • Stu2 on

        That fan photo is unbelievable – he must be finished after that?

        It was interesting listening to the BT rugby coverage of the Eng prem games over the weekend where they talked about how refreshing it was to see the offside line properly refereed – unlike the RWC they said.

  30. Johnny b on

    We obviously played a couple of them in the pool…
    I think freed up from the pressure of getting out of the pool we’d have competed.
    We’re capable of performing when the pressure’s off or we’re underdogs.

    Kind of like how in the last rwc we nearly blew it v. Samoa before giving the eventual finalists Australia the fright of their lives the following week.

    It’s definitely a confidence thing.

  31. Saint4805 on

    Gatland is clearly a talented coach who has an ability to motivate, galvanise, organise and get every ounce out of the players at his disposal. But it always amazes me how many lucky breaks he seems to get that end up being the difference between winning and not. Wales should have lost at Murrayfield this year if the ref had done his job and issued at least two yellows for repeated infringements inside their 22. Opposition teams and officials just seem to gift wins to Gatland. Incredible stuff.

      • RuggersB on

        or GT…and give Cotter back the job he should’ve still been in.
        Also unlikely…
        We should be talking to Cotter at least …to find out what his thoughts are. Maybe he knows someone who would be a good fit.
        It sounds like there is about be a coaching merry go round after this RWC.

    • Stu2 on

      Why exactly should we be talking to Cotter?

      Their records:


      Played 36
      Won 19
      Draw 0
      Lost 17
      Win % 52 .78

      Tier 1
      Played 30
      Won 13
      Draw 0
      Lost 17
      Win % 43.33

      Played 31
      Won 17
      Draw 1
      Lost 13
      Win % 54.84

      Tier 1
      Played 24
      Won 13
      Draw 1
      Lost 17
      Win % 54.17

      • Bass Rock on

        We should not be talking to him but statistics can say anything,

        Scotland against Ireland , Wales and Japan combined :

        Cotter 10 matches 5 wins .
        Townsend 7 matches and no wins whatsoever.

        I wonder where we will be at the end of the next 6N when he has had as many games as Cotter.

        Even Frank Hadden managed a win against Wales. Lets not go on about England as Hadden and Toonie share same win % age against England.

      • Johnny b on

        I’m thinking of Vern to Glasgow, not to Scotland.

        It’s more based on circumstance than anything else, with his contract up this season and Garbajosa doing the actual coaching at Montpellier.

        It might be a step down or maybe there would be too much competition from bigger teams for his services.

        There are rumours Rennie will take Matt Taylor to the Wallabies.

      • Johnny b on

        Bass Rock – I was putting out a left field idea of Cotter being Rennie’s replacement at Glasgow, not Townsend’s at Scotland.

      • RuggersB on

        What is also interesting is that, despite those ‘ stats’ which are essentially much of a muchness..Cotter v GT, …what they don’t show is that most people were unsure of the Cotter decision to not renew as it seemed he was making progress albeit slow.
        GT despite a very slightly better winning percentage is generally considered to have regressed the team instead of taking it forward.
        Why is that?
        Performances more so than results seems to be the issue. Defense has looked atrocious really a shambles at times with no line of sight of improvement. Other teams have improved their defense.
        Even the attack seems to have gone backwards this year.

        I think Cotter and MacFarland had considerably more defensive nous than GT and his staff combined…it has been so bad that it may be the reason the attack has stagnated/regressed. Our defense this year has consisted of our players running around just making scramble tackles without any cohesion or strategy.
        SRU and GT look like they have no idea what a competitive rugby defense should be ..If sticking with MTaylor so long is their answer.

  32. SlowWalk90 on

    I noticed Paul O’Connell on STV yesterday suggesting that Fiji are better than Scotland. We really need a good 6 Nations. A lot of teams are changing coaches and losing experienced players. This would be a perfect time to make a statement and get some much needed respect back. We only lost the Cardiff and Dublin games last time this cycle came around. Both are winnable games if we sort ourselves out.

    • Stu2 on

      I say this every 4yrs with the ITV coverage but is crap – even when they have seconded the BT sport team.

      The England game on Sat was a good example – they had a full panel of English pundits – the only home nation to get this.

    • RuggersB on

      Thats rich from O’Connell…If accurate I doubt then that Ireland are better than Fiji based on watching them this year. He should be more worried about his Ireland team. Its a bit arrogant from him…at least Scotland have actually made a RWC SF.
      ‘Wales and Ireland are winnable games’ ….we’ve said that before too..remember how that went?
      We just aren’t playing well enough to beat those teams away from home. I really cant see us winning those under GT…

      The more I reflect the more I think we should be looking for a new coach now….even if they start next year.

  33. SlowWalk90 on

    I was supporting Japan yesterday, but some of the decisions they got yesterday, with no review, were unbelievable. It brought back memories of our opener. Does Wayne Barnes not use TMOs because he’s arrogant or because he’s consciously favouring one team over the other?

    • Stu2 on

      They are going to struggle next year when they play test matches where they are no longer hosts.

      “Why cant I pass the ball forward?”

      “Why cant I suplex an opponent?”

    • TeamCam on

      SA benefitted from his dubious refereeing and refusal to go to the TMO, too. I think he just had one of his rubbish games.

    • Merlot on

      I think if you watch the game again you will see Wayne Barnes was correct on most of his calls where he didn’t go to the TMO. It’s the TMOs job to point out where the ref might be wrong and he didn’t.
      There are always mistakes by refs, by his assistants, by TMOs. But mostly the mistakes are by players. Nobody really thinks Japan should have won yesterday, other than those who still believe in fairy tales.

      • RuggersB on

        Japan were well beaten. No where near the SA try line. They lacked the power and guile needed to beat teams like SA.
        They were shown their limitations.
        It was a media circus around them.
        They played well as a unit…and had the ultimate advantage of being at home. Thats about it.
        I doubt they’ll get past the pool stage next time around.

      • RuggersB on

        I actually think Wayne Barnes to be one of the better refs.
        I think he is appropriate with the players in getting his message across whilst not letting them boss him either.
        I think he tries to remain balanced throughout …unlike many of them…some are just pure ego.

      • TeamCam on

        I agree about Barnes – he is generally a very good ref and a clear communicator, but sometimes just short circuits.

  34. CSC on

    Huge inconsistencies in refeering during this WC, and some refs and TMO’s seemed to be ignoring the pre competition instructions (or were they merely guidlines) as to the sanctions to be imposed for the high tackle. And, when was the offside law abandoned?

  35. Douglas F Campbell on

    The blog doesn’t appear to have a write up / breakdown / pile on regarding Scotland missing the quarter finals for only the second time in history? Wheres the critique of the players or coaches and their selections? Seems like motormouth Dodson has played a blinder in drawing your fire!

  36. Martin Walker on

    Personally, I think the issue had more to do with World Rugby than it did with Scotland. I don’t think any team would have taken what World Rugby were suggesting (being kicked out a tournament because they can’t organise a venue for your game) any differently. It just randomly happened to be us in that position.

    The line World Rugby staked out was always complete cobblers. They put it in the rules before the tournament that they wouldn’t reschedule games. It was done largely for obtuse scheduling reasons. It was a completely needless restriction and you’ll notice them quietly change that rule for the next World Cup without acknowledging they made a mistake.

    That was the root cause of the problem, not the specifics of the typhoon. To cover their own backs for that absurd lack of planning they went all in on a line that it was an unprecedented typhoon (it wasn’t) and that anyone who questioned why they couldn’t reschedule games to other days was being a heartless scumbag, even though it would have been entirely safe to do so. Both arguments were basically deflection/nonsense.

    Put simply, World Rugby messed up and adopted an extremely aggressive PR strategy to try and cover for it, but given the way they acted I think the conversation would have gone much the same way if it was another team in our position (with the caveat that if it were say New Zealand or England involved they would have likely backed down a fair bit due to the heat they would have taken).

    • Campbell B on

      I think your opening paragraph says it all.

      World rugby will say other games were cancelled. The sides involved never complained , no wonder, they were going through to face sides who had played an extra game to get to the QF.

      World Rugby messed it up , but it is our fault ! Despicable.

      Scotland were shamed as being disrespectful to those who suffered in a natural disaster!

      I contest World Rugby were reckless they put spectators , press and TV in a place known for natural disasters at that very time of the year.

      I disagree with you ! I do not think they will change the rule . France while climatically stable, has growing home security issues. I would be surprised if Counter terrorism is not a much bigger risk in 2023 than originally anticipated.

      • RuggersB on

        So the winner of NZ/Eng SF will have had to play 1 game less than the Wal/SA SF winner. With only a 31 man squad …thats an extra physical challenge. I dont think thats a fair situation either.

      • J-B Lake on

        Is it likely that another union will speak up ? The best bet is Wales but this far, they are still in it and just playing 7 out of 10 ish IMO. It is unlikley.

  37. Tam on

    This has gone very quiet ! Among the confusion have World Rugby actually stated what they are taking Scotland rugby for ? ‘Conduct’ is quite a wide reaching statement .

    • Scrummo on

      I’ve heard Dodson sent them his reply on a tightly rolled letter with instructions to shove it up their a***.

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