Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Wales 10 – 14 Scotland

Wales vs Scotland

On the day of Alun-Wyn Jones breaking the record for Test match appearances, Scotland trashed his party at the empty Parc Y Scarlets to grind out a first win in Wales for 18 years.

Russell’s touchline seeking kick-off got us under way, and although claimed by Jonathan Davies Scotland quickly turned possession over. As they looked for space wide left, Liam Williams was penalised for playing the ball off his feet, giving Finn Russell the first opportunity at a shot at goal.

On a blustery day – which didn’t appear on television at least, to be as hideous as had been suggested – the talismanic fly-half saw his effort drift right and hold up short, allowing Wales to clear their lines.

Wales’ first attacking drive was also wind-affected. Having won a penalty at a scrum they worked their way up the pitch until forcing Darcy Graham out over the sidelines to win the line-out just outside the Scotland 22. The throw wobbled and refused to sit down, allowing a grateful Fraser Brown to take possession.

Scotland did get the first points on the board from a Russell penalty, awarded against the unfortunate Ryan Elias for playing the ball from an offside position after Hogg’s up and under hung up in the wind so much that the chasing Darcy Graham nearly overran it.  

Both sides were struggling with their line-outs due to the gusting wind, but Scotland looked the more comfortable with ball in hand and had managed to win a couple of penalties at the breakdown.

When one of those penalties led to a successfully completed line-out in the Welsh 22, Stuart Hogg nearly sent Chris Harris in, only for the Gloucester man to spill the pass with Dan Biggar in his eyeline.

As the 25th minute approached, the rain began to teem down. A poor kick from Hogg gave Wales an attacking platform, and a delightful chip from Taulupe Faletau, of all people, gave Scotland a pressure line-out.

The last couple had been completed, but in these conditions, it was a bit of a lottery. Brown went for the risky option, but it went over Cummings’ outstretched hands to Elias. It was only a matter of time before Rhys Carre bundled his way over from such short range.

Wales going into an unlikely lead was bad enough, however bad luck comes in threes, so part two was the site of Finn Russell limping off the pitch with what looked like a groin strain.

An excellent turnover penalty won by Jamie Ritchie prevented part three, but it did arrive when Adam Hastings deft kick carried, rolled, and dribbled out over the sideline in the goal area. Instead of clearing from coffin corner, Wales got the scrum back in Scotland’s half.

However, as the rain stopped and the sun came out, Scotland’s fortunes began to brighten. More good breakdown work saw Scotland win the possession they had dominated back, and after Kinghorn had juggled the ball on his way into the Wales 22, James “Cubbi” Davies – a late replacement for Justin Tipuric in the Wales starting line-up – conceded the ninth Wales penalty of the half.

Hastings stroked over the penalty to reduce the deficit to a point, which seemed scant reward for the first half efforts. What is it with us and going long at pressure line-outs?

Half-time: Wales 7 – 6 Scotland

Although he reappeared for the start of the second period, it wasn’t long before Wales lost Dan Biggar, and there were fears for Adam Hastings when he landed awkwardly on his left arm during the next passage of play, but thankfully he was able to continue.

The Scotland replacement stand-off showed no ill effects when gliding into the Wales 22 soon afterwards, but that famed Welsh defence managed to force the turnover just a few phases later.

Scotland’s ability to turn momentum against themselves reared its ugly ahead.

Firstly, Brown needlessly ran across Liam Williams’ path which led to Wales having a close-range line-out but luckily for Scotland, Wyn Jones went off his feet at a ruck with the try-line beckoning.

Then, having cleared to touch and claimed the line-out, Ali Price couldn’t remove the ball after being told by referee Andrew Brace to “Use it”. Scrum Wales.

Price somewhat redeemed himself when contributing to another Jamie Ritchie penalty win, and then his quick tap added kept Scotland moving and the game in Wales’ half.

McInally turned pressure into points when he scored from a rolling maul, but a breakdown brain-fart from him and another penalty let Leigh Halfpenny slot over to make it a 10-11 game.

With ten minutes remaining a major back reshuffle was required. The earlier knock to Hastings proved too much – he had tended to run the ball, and with some reward, rather than pass – so Hogg moved to stand-off, Kinghorn went to full-back, and scrum-half Scott Steele came on for his debut. On the wing.

The reshuffle didn’t halt the momentum though, as Scotland’s replacements stepped up. The latest Springjock duo of Oli Kebble and Duhan van Der Merwe showed their strength, and when the former won a scrum penalty – to his roaring delight – Scotland played with great game management, Price dictating proceedings.

When he chipped to the touchline after 20 phases of Scottish possession, Wales had to throw caution to the wind. A cute line-out move by Halfpenny and Williams made up some of the metres, but keen Scottish defence forced them back and then forced the error, the immovable Ritchie clamping onto the ball after James Lang caught Jonathan Davies in isolation.

Hogg used every last allocated second to ensure time was up before thumping over the kick. Scotland had won on the road against one of the big boys.

It may have been a scrappy match in rubbish conditions, but it’s exactly these kind of matches we’ve not been able to win against the stifling sides like Wales and Ireland. Sticking 50 points on Australia is lovely, but repeatedly getting squeezed out by a score or less isn’t so much. Has Toony now found the magical formula?

 The one gloomy outcome from the match is the loss of both Russell and Hastings, with Townsend later confirming that Russell had indeed suffered a groin and Hastings shoulder had popped out twice.

SRBlog Player of the Match: I had already decided this before Jonathan Davies said it on BBC comms, and I have to agree that Jamie Ritchie was the best player on the park. Three important turnover penalties, he worked hard both sides of the ball with a line-break or two in offence. Gatland can’t have missed him.

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

132 Responses

  1. Ugly win, don’t think we played well, but that’s a sign of progress in itself I think!

    As a Scottish exile in Wales, I cannae wait for work on Monday.

    Not great, but a good win, thank you!

  2. It’s a win but Blade Thompson’s waist is far too thin for an international number 8.

    1. Dismayed at how thin Cummings arms still are as well. Should have been working on that during lockdown.

  3. Glad to see us win in Wales after moral victories in 2010 and 2016. Really shows the quality of Gatland and his coaching staff. Losing Russell and Hastings is tough, hopefully they’re back for the ANC. Good to see our forwards dominating again, and Berghan proved me wrong with a pretty composed performance. Hopefully we can build some attack on our outstanding defence. Conceding only one try a game is pretty impressive. Big bonus for Tandy.

    1. Russell could be back just a week or so depends on muscle damage….maybes aye maybes nah.

      In terms of Hastings he could be out for a long time. The shoulder came out twice….once out multiple times ur in trouble. It’ll just come out more easily everytime unless surgery.

      I’m not an expert but even surgery doesn’t guarantee fix so in short that could be his rugby career over. Terrible shame if that is the outcome.

  4. Looking ahead, sorry – but if Russell and Hastings are injured how are we doing at stand-off?

    1. The same as every other nation would be….weakened by having 3rd choice there. What’s the point of even mentioning it? Are we really going to start whining about not having a top class 3rd choice fully half.

      1. Only asking a question. Sorry if it has offended you… I know we have Duncy Weir etc, but surely a big worry?

    2. Duncan Weir – Then it will be Lang or Pete Horne called up until Jaco is Scots qualified (which i think is the last game pf the ANC

    3. nevermind nippy comments Past it….

      In past it would be more concerning but we play a style now rather than rely on personnel (Russell is an advantage for sure) look how well drilled they looked in the injuries…no one panicked. Weir will do fine and I’m pls for him…he deserves caps.

  5. England made hard work of Italy.

    My heart really wants France to beat Ireland but if Ireland win by 7+ then they go ahead of England and Scotland finish 3rd….

  6. Have to say a big thank you to Tandy, for transforming the defensive display and the forward coaches for upping their game. Just need to re-invigorate the attacking shape and no-one will fancy playing us, especially at home.

    Would have been happy with 3 wins at the start of the 6 nations and I’m pretty happy now.

  7. If I have to be picky, I have to confess to shouting at the television several times for Price to move the ball from the ruck faster and then he lost one of the mauls for being too slow playing the ball. It was a bit better in the last quarter when we were moving the ball before the Welsh defense was set but the first half was like watching Laidlaw’s highlights reel. I would reckon he was around 2-3 seconds slower per phase than he normally plays for Glasgow, and the ruck clearance was good, so it must be part of the team strategy. Just wish he would accelerate the play more often.

    1. I agree, I was also shouting at the telly for Price to speed up getting the ball out. Losing the ball in the maul after being told to use it was criminal.

      1. Agreed, although I do think the ref should have given him another 2-second warning because it’s so unusual for a ref to follow through on that command. Ali Price has been unfortunate with those kinds of decisions when playing against Wales. The free kick Gauzere gave for the squint feed in that 34-7 game comes to mind. Wales had just scored a try by intercepting Ali’s pass so he was already reeling then to be pinged for a squint feed in front of the posts when literally no ref before or after that moment was penalising squint feeds. Both harsh decisions, imo…

      2. The ref gave the warning but it was a Welsh hand that hindered the release of the ball. More so much it was the protection of the ball the forwards should have provided than Ali’s fault – no?

      3. Ali Price does have shortfalls and we are now noticing them. Laidlaw was always 1st pick ,even for Vern. Yesterday was a big game for him, given last time at the Principality. That is one we need to just live with for now. Lots of 9’s coming through.

    2. Price was POOPETY scared of having his pass intercepted which happened 2 years ago against Wales and also against Scarlets

    3. Thought Price was class at the weekend to be fair, bossed the game.

      His kicking choices were pretty much spot on all game, kept turning Wales and pinning them in.

  8. You’d hope we have a good chance of Russell and/or Hastings being fit again in 2 weeks

  9. Tandy quite rightly getting kudos, but also a word for Dalziel. Forwards were well drilled, couple of obvious brain fart decisions, made onfield, excepted.

  10. Strange feeling. How are we meant to revel in glorious defeat or bask in the self-righteous glow of a moral victory if we’ve actually won a close fought game?

    What are we meant to spend our energies ranting about? Hard to complain about the ref, the opposition being cheats etc. just now.

    Feels very un-Scottish 😂

    1. Absolutely! I think that’s why I said I was strangely muted in a previous comment. If it was anything like normal we would have lost at the last minute and we would all be ranting on here about how we had the ball all the time, played all the rugby and won the penalty count but still lost. A tight game that we deserved to win and actually won, how novel!

  11. Great shift up front this afternoon, thought Cummings has another good game and has rapidly turned into one of the first names on the team sheet. It’s great to win a breakdown focussed game and full credit to the coaching staff – and whoever insisted on a total change in match strategy post RWC – for really toughening and wisening up the pack.
    Price seemed incredibly slow today; I know the fling the ball about mantra is largely replaced by pragmatism now but there are times when quick ball is the right choice against a retreating and disorganized defence, just need the wisdom to know when to turn it on. Midfield needs a review now that we know we can create a solid platform up front, just hope we have a F-H fit for the next month. Wee Dunc and then ???? might well be needed. And perhaps some credit also due to captain Hogg for buying into the “new way” and leading the team when it matters.

  12. That’s the third try off a rolling maul in two matches, and the fourth scored by a hooker. It was not a pretty match but the fact that we won away from home should help us push on. Jonny Gray’s smile at the end of the match was a sight to behold. Lineout was excellent, especially given how windy it was. Cummings looks like an exciting prospect.

  13. The highlights reel for that match won’t take up much space on the shelf but great to see Scotland close out a tight game and very happy with the win.
    There wasn’t a lot of quality on display but Scotland were well deserved winners and you have to say Wales were awful – they created nothing and seemed content to defend and wait for Scottish mistakes which worked in the first half but not the second.
    Jamie Ritchie probably had one of his quieter games but was still the best player on the pitch by a mile and that just demonstrates what a consistently good player he is. I thought Price was awful for first 70 minutes – was it a deliberate tactic to slow everything up?? To think folk used to complain about Greegs service!!
    Would have bitten your had off for 3 wins at the start of the year and suspect Toony would have as well!

    1. Interesting comment Saltire, traditionally teams have been happy for us to shoot ourselves in the foot but if that doesn’t work then they’ll have to come at us, and we have some of the most capable counter attackers in the NH in Hogg, Russell and Graham…

  14. Don’ t you just love that backs in the rolling maul stuff. I do , looks great, what a way to score.

    1. This seems to be Lang’s biggest asset!! To be fair, he might not have Johnston’s skill set, but he hasn’t let us down.

      1. He hasn’t.
        Big accurate boot, high work rate and a thumping tackler.

        Something to be said for it.

      2. He’s a fly half, he’s arguably got a better skill set than Johnson, just not had a chance to show it yet

    2. it definitely seems to be a rehearsed ploy, wait to see if the maul starts to move forwards and then get a back on either side of the hooker to protect him from the opposition swinging round the back of the maul. has worked a treat so far expect to see others pick up on this tactic soon tho.

  15. Chris Harris continues to go under the radar as a really effective outside centre -Like most folks I kind of yearn for Jones, Bennett or even Johnson – but he really does a good job.

    1. Totally agree. He is there a lot of the time tidying up, making tackles, back on his feet.

      His passing is good too, simple stuff, nothing flashy – unlucky with the return ball from Hogg today, probably should have got it but it was at his shoulder.

      1. Yep, kept JD quiet all day, as he did against Vakatawa. Making himself almost undroppable.

    2. Yes, he’s really come onto a game.
      Attack is underrated too. He can cut an angle and has decent speed.

    3. Couldn’t agree less – he is hopeless. Butchered several opportunities and doesn’t make anything for the rest of the backs.
      Defence isn’t nearly as good as people make it out to be either.

      1. 60 points in the entire tournament suggests otherwise re: defence. I do think there are things to work on in attack, but I’d put that down to the lack of continuity in the combinations rather than Harris himself.

      2. He only played 60% of the tournament, and even if he’d played all of it, defence is a team effort. He also missed a quarter of his tackles yesterday. But if we’re saying that the midfield is the cause of our blunt attack, it’s worth remembering that our attack has been blunt for the whole campaign, so Lang and Harris can’t be wholly at fault.

      3. And yet…..

        In the last 90 years of Test rugby, the Scotland player with the highest career win percentage (minimum 20 caps) is Chris Harris on 65.0%.

        Comes from the excellent @topofthemoonGW

    4. He’s destined to be the least loved of our recent batch of centres due his (lack of) style and weak early performances for Scotland, but I agree and think he’s really shown his quality recently.

      The key though is finding him a decent partner and I don’t think Lang was particularly effective again. I’m not sure he’s suited to what the game plan has been asking of our 12 recently and think the ideal options would probably be Scott. Johnson is good but I’m still not convinced is the ideal partner. Hutchinson would be very interesting to see, if he can improve his defence, as he’s an excellent distributor and would be great for putting our outside backs into space.

      1. Harris was very good, did a lot of good things and no big errors.

        Key moment for me being a good tackle 5m out, up for the next phase and second man in another tackle shortly after.

        If he misses that first tackle it’s a try for Wales and we lose.

        Does his job in attack, albeit without setting the grass on fire.

        In short, not a fan favourite maybe but he is perhaps the best 13 given the structure, and to put it awkwardly we “don’t lose” to a greater extent than we “don’t gain”.

        I’d still like to see more verve outside Russell, but I guess I can just watch Racing for that.

      2. I think Harris unfairly got on the wrong side of Scotland fans due to a bad 1st impression.
        His debut was in the absolute demolition by Wales in 2018. Albeit he was played out of position on the Wing.
        I dont think he has done too much wrong, is consistent and his win record speaks for itself (granted team effort but still interesting).
        He does seem to be the most undervalued player by the public but I for one am glad that Toonie sees past that and is impressed with his game

  16. Could have beaten them by more I think, Ford should not be starting, said it before the game. Stupid penalties, couldn’t throw straight. Great to see the win, hard conditions but would have been great to see the backs spark up a bit more.
    I thought Darcy looked a bit out of sorts.
    Also scrum looked strong right to the end.
    May they keep it up.

    1. A bit harsh to criticise a player’s performance after they’ve retired!! Brown didn’t have a good day, summed up by hurting himself while committing a blatant clumsy penalty. But then he was cemented on as 2 by many after last week’s match. And Rambo did well when he came on, tough call for next game.

    2. Conditions meant is was never going to be a game for backs to express themselves.
      Our defense is not only improving …but actually beginning to look world class. In almost any team sport good defense is critical to success.
      We have not had our 1st choice backs together playing consistently for a long time…so much so that we are kind of evolving a new backline.
      Wasn’t a great spectacle…but we out dogged a team of players who have in large part achieved alot of top level success.
      looking forward to playing France to see a better quality match and gauge where we are at. Losing Finn will set us back a bit…which is a big shame.

    3. Brown has started to become a bit of a serial daft penalty machine…some penalties have meaning stop momentum.a try etc but the player yesterday was not even close to being involved and right in front of the touch judge. Mindless and Could have cost us.

    1. Life’s Too Short – the Liam Neeson episode, I’ve made a list, random * non rugby related…….but one of my “happy places”….in fact I’m away to watch it now.

  17. Ford might be missing us more than we miss him you know!! He got his fair share of pelters when he was playing so one more will not matter .

  18. Can’t believe how many posters online are trying to take the gloss of a win that was a huge milestone.

    We didn’t play much scintillating rugby this championship but we’ve finally developed a mean defence, good forward platform and look less reliant on our star performers to eke our a minimum level of competitiveness.

    Obviously we still need to build stronger threat in attack but it is an enormous rebound from the RWC disaster and cemented Townshends position (right, that’ll be why some fans can’t celebrate this win too much).

    It’ll be a struggle if we lose Hastings and Russel for the whole series, but it’s time to put Duncan Weirs renaissance to the test. He’s just about young enough to travel to the next World Cup and IMO is much better than Van Der Walt.

    Lots of reasons for optimism and we can hope for a proper tilt at the championship next season.

    1. Agree with all of this. Almost as if some posters wanted a loss to support their personal preferences.

      Townsend has a different coaching group around him post RWC and I think that’s made such a difference – pragmatic team selection per game, not the tombola. Perfect – of course not. We are what we are. But a number of monkeys off the back, and a confident, winning team. Don’t see how you can argue against that.

    2. Townsend has won 57% of his games. We’ve scored 125 tries under him, 37 more than under Cotter in only one more game (3.4/game vs. 2.4). Yeah, the rugby’s not pretty, but when we were playing pretty rugby and losing folk weren’t happy either. I wonder if it’s personal.

  19. This was massive! Delighted for the team. I’m actually pleased it was a gritty ground out job. You need that in the arsenal and we’ve been on the wrong side of that far too often. Fairly decent campaign from where we were at and we can look forward to the ANC.
    Wouldn’t be adverse to Hoggy staying at 10 until Hasto or Finn are fit. Plenty of cover at 15 and I’d perhaps rather see him there with Maitland/Kinghorn/Jones at the back to keep the style of the team consistent.

  20. Absolutely superb win in tricky conditions, excellent defense and physicality.

    Andy Nicol correct – we got pragmatic after the world cup (pragmatism aided by emergence of Sutherland, maturing of Fagerson & Kebble becoming scottish)

    Having Kebble, Berghan, McInally on bench is a real plus, they really maintained the squeeze we had on the Welsh most of the game.

    Wales are caught between styles & really miss Anscombe, last week it was Tipiric this week Jon Davies making basic & (for world class players like they are) terrible errors, the small things indicative of a wider malaise.

    Ritchie, Cummings, Gray all superb, we seem to be so good at that driving maul it almost appears an opposition mistake.

    Hope Hastings & Russell ok, if not I’d play Hogg @ 10, Maitland @ 15 v Italy, Weir too slow.

    Must’ve been frustrating for the backs, little good ball, thought Kinghorn tried but its not happening for him right now. VDM should start v Italy.

      1. Doubt very much Hogg will start at 10. He’s a world class fullback, why move him to a position he doesn’t play except in emergencies.

        I’d start Weir against Italy, he deserves another chance and is just about young enough to go to the next RWC. We need as much depth at 10 as possible and Jaco doesn’t look like a test FH to me.

      2. Weir all day long. Worcester fans love him, they all admit he makes mistakes but they recognise his positives and he is improving. He is also used to high pressure games, Worcester are either tanked or grinding out a win till the last second. Shocking hair mind. Not sure when Hutchinson is fit , but I would prefer to see a 10 and not a ‘make do’ getting a game.

      3. His hair is a charity fundraising challenge. And it is the most magnificent white-fro I think I’ve ever seen.

  21. Congratulations to the defence. Scotland conceded just 5 tries in the whole tournament. No other side came close!

  22. This is the day to celebrate a win . We must stop and celebrate success. What is more it is three wins this 6 Nations. Yes there are things to work on but is that not positive in itself, we can still get better ! This is exactly where we want to be.

    Yes, it is the same old rhetoric we use when we lose, however this feels positive.

    Yes we have injury problems, however on the back of an win that is an opportunity to bring in someone to join a team who have just grown a foot in stature.

    What is not to like !

    Toony looks happy and relaxed, demons behind him, what a difference that makes.

  23. I hope Finn/Hastings are okay but I’m actually kind of excited at the prospect of Duncan Weir starting against Italy at least. He’s on form has experience and loves playing for Scotland. I reckon a controlled kicking 10 even suits our current forwards-oriented style anyway.
    Maybe bring Johnson back in at 12 though just so there’s more of a running threat.

    1. Very much agree. Weir’s kicking game actually suits our style now and Lang can cover from the bench with Johnson at 12. I just hope he doesn’t call up Horne or Van der Walt, with intent to leapfrog Weir.
      Hastings may be out for a while. Harder to tell with Russell. A groin strain can linger or go as quickly as it came, but it’s not a good injury for a FH. He’s a young lad, hopefully it will be a speedy recovery.

      1. VDW is training with the squad already but isn’t qualified for the Italy test.

        So probably Weir or Lang are in pole position.

    2. Very much agree. Weir could be a good choice against Italy – has a composure which Hastings lacks, better kicker AND a master of that lost art, the drop goal.

  24. Why this was the most UnScottish win we’ve seen in years…

    1.In the past our mistakes are compounded by another which results in points. Most of the time today we made the right decision after the mistake

    2. We restricted wales to two try scoring chances….we always allow multiple probably on average 10.

    3. We looked solid and calm even under pressure. Wales had 15 penalties we were half that…very unlike Wales and Scotland.

    4. We closed the match out by playing through the phases and never looking like losing ball. We never have the confidence or ability to do that. We started this 6 mins out we’d never believe we could do that….yet not once in 20 odd phases did we look like getting the ball turned over.

    5. We won in Wales

  25. Maybe someone can bring out the almanac but to point out that Scotland had a positive points difference against the other five nations sides. When was the last time this happened?


    1. I was thinking this today. Our points diff ex Italy was plus 1. Probably the best six nations return ever? Whilst we were fourth we lost two very close games against Ireland and England- two teams we have been give terrible schellackings from at times during the history of the 6N.

      We now look to just about have parity, on our day, with the other 4 which is exciting for the future.

      We have two front rows that are international standard, several options at lock, a back row that has the best balance I can remember- hope MFag continues to develop.

      We’ve taken the foot off the crazy house party rugby gas which Toonie and the coaches have to be given credit for.

      With Hogg and Russell we have two feared attacking threats and the other backs all seem to know their jobs. If Jones keeps improving at Glasgow he would be a great bench option covering centre and full back.

      I remain to be convinced by Lang/Harris but let’s get behind them as they are the incumbents.

      Can’t wait for the 2021 6N!

  26. Panic in Gatland’s household this morning! How does he justify picking 12 Welshmen in his Lions squad?

    1. Don’t think he needs to now he’s left Wales.

      We’ll see if we can keep up momentum through next years championship, but I reckon Sutherland, brown, McInally, Fagerson (even Kebble?), Gray, Cummings, Ritchie, Watson, Price (for want of depth really), Russell, Hogg, Graham (Van Der Merve?), Maitland night all be in the conversation at present, with half a dozen quite likely to go but only Hogg being a dead cert.

      If we win at Twickenham or Paris and finish with 3/4 wins we’ll get decent representation I think.

      1. I have read recent press that quotes Sutherland, Richie, Russell and Hogg are in the probables. I do not think Gatland is anti Scottish. I think Zander has to be a possible.

  27. I would like to knock Harris but I cannot and I will not, for 2 reasons. Today is the wrong day for that and we just need continuity IMHO , pick the same side over again and replace injured players, no tombola. That is all folks.

  28. Team for Italy

    Start Hogg – Duhan van Der Merwe – Chris Harris – Sam Johnson – Sean Maitland – Duncan Weir – Ali Price – Cornell Du Preez – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Scott Cummings – Jonny Gray – Zander Fagerson – Fraser Brown – Rory Sutherland

    Replacements: Darcy Graham – Huw Jones – George Horne – Matt Fagerson – Sam Skinner – Simon Berghan – Stuart Mcinally – Oli Kebble

    Hogg to cover 10 if Weir gets injured.

    1. Hopefully the tactics change somewhat from a trip to Wales in a storm to a game at Murrayfield in (hopefully) better conditions, if Hastings & Russell are unavailable I’d still have Hogg @ 10 & Maitland/Jones @ 15, IMO unless we’re playing 10 man rugby Weir is too slow (hand, feet, mind) to play international rugby.

  29. Thinking about it this morning, I was impressed with Hogg checking the time available with the ref before taking that final penalty. In years gone by we would have rushed the kick and they’d have had a restart which we’d fluff and then they’d score at the death to win. Showed maturity to keep the clock in mind.

    As Referendum noted above, we also didn’t compound our errors by making more mistakes trying to recover from the first error. Made a real difference and again shows that the team have learnt for previous games and are maturing.

    I’m looking forward to seeing how we get on in the ANC now, even if we’re without Russell and Hastings. I’d love to see another Duncy Weir length of the pitch like against SA in the 2015 RWC!

  30. The last 10 minutes, one for the purists and in my opinion some of the best rugby Scotland have played in a long time. It’s not always about the fancy tries and the game management reminded me of Ireland in their prime. We’ve got a seriously good pack developing.

    1. Absolutely agree with you thin. The game management was something not seen since the early 90s I believe. There is a similar confidence there growing too but now with a squad with players competing for the jersey. If Finn or Adam are not available it’ll be interesting to see how Weir manages the game as he’ll want to be firmly included when both Adam and Finn return. Fingers crossed they’ll be fit come two weeks time. Though Weir will be determined to show some folk wrong. Role on two weeks time.

  31. 3 observations:
    1. It was a dire spectacle of a match…..but
    2. We won and defeated a T1 nation away from home in a very untypically Scottish (but hugely satisfying) final 10-min performance. This must surely deliver a significant psychological boost to the team to carry forward.
    3. On that performance, Gatland cannot justify more than 3 Welshmen in the Lions and one of them deserves to be Mr Tandy!

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if he chose 3 Welsh scrum halfs… And if that total didn’t exceed the total amount of Scots he picks.

      He’ll find some new measuring stick to judge Scots by that he doesn’t apply to the other nations. Probably something to do with their club sides if the national team continue to perform.

      1. Well I wouldn’t take our Scrum Half either, he fills the jersey and has his moments, but a shadow of the terriers we have produced down the years. Gatland cannot take everyone and we are deluded if we think anyone other than the ones he took had a chance.

  32. on another topic Warriors have a very strong lineup for tomorrow night’s clash at home to Leinster..7 released from Scottish camp..Leinster have no returners from
    the Irish camp so Glasgow must be hot favourites.

    1. Lol.

      29th Feb 2020

      Leinster 55 – 19 Glasgow Warriors

      A win is possible but to call us ‘hot favourites’ is delusional

  33. I blogged before the Ireland game in Jan/Feb that it looked like we’d started to develop a squad of forwards that would no longer be bullied around the park by four of the other five nations, especially in away games.
    Looking back at our performances up front over this extended 6N, it really does look like we’re a force up front again. As just one example, we give up a scrum penalty about 60 minutes in after Wales make one front-row replacement to face our front three who’d done really well in tight and loose up to then. We change the entire front row after that, and get straight back to dominance. That’s a strength in depth we’ve lacked for years.

    Of course it doesn’t make us world beaters up front, but it is nice to see a big improvement there, and it will force future opponents to start to worry about how to counter the power of a Scotland pack – a thing they never needed to worry about too much for most of the last twenty-odd years.

    Very encouraging.

    1. Under Cotter our scrum was pretty good, largely thanks to Nel, and that continued under MacFarland. It’s a whole level above now, though.

  34. Wales gave away 9 pens in first half and 15 overall that doesnt count advantages or multiple pens in the same phase. Why was a yellow card never even warned as the next sanction it was blatant and consistent and had they won getting away with that would have been rough justice?

    1. It’s particularly striking when you look at the ‘infringement flow’ on the official match report.

      1. Sure, go to this link and click the ‘Round 5’ section, then click ‘Report’ and you’ll get a neat little PDF summarising the match. On page 6 they have the ‘Infringement Flow’ and you’ll see long streams of Welsh infringements punctuated with occasional Scottish ones. Leaves me wondering why Brace didn’t even offer a warning. I think Brown mentioned it to him, too, but I could be wrong.

  35. If both Adam and Finn are nursing injuries and Weir is the chosen man to play 10 – undoubtedly the game plan changes somewhat as well as the backline. To enable gain line success does Townsend bring in Johnson and Jones or does he keep to the backline played over the last 2 tests?

    1. Will be interesting to see. The impression I get is they are trying to construct a system whereby players become more “plug and play” rather than relying on individual brilliance to create things. It’s maybe less exciting to watch but makes a team less susceptible to injury and form dips of the key players.

      It’s the way the best teams play, look at NZ, SA, England and even Warrenball era Wales, they play the same game regardless of who is starting, flashes of individual brilliance a bonus rather than the basis.

      I loved the harem scarem stuff we played in the 2017 – 19 and am very much an advocate of winning games by scoring more than the opposition rather than by preventing them from scoring. We were pretty good at the former and we got some great results but we struggled defensively and quickly ran out of ideas if it wasn’t working leading to an implosion and games like “those games” in Cardiff and Twickenham.

      So in short, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see no changes, other than enforced ones. I too am not convinced by the Lang / Harris line up in the centre but its clearly part of a plan. My Toonsday clock has also been put back an hour so I am happy to see his plan get a few run outs before reverting to whinging!

      1. Atta boy 1.8. Just suck it up for now. We know it wont take long for another toony tune to appear. But until that day , lets just enjoy the moment. I will be back soon enough to get the wake started , but this week, we party, ok ! Thats all folks !

      2. For modern six nations rugby I think there is a “golden zone” in terms of tries for/against ratio.

        Over the last four seasons, the winners have scored between 10 and 20 tries…averaging 15. They have let in between 7 and 11, averaging 9.

        So, basically you are needing about 3 tries a game and conceding less than 2 a game to be in the mix.

        7 for vs 5 against is not the golden ratio, but it is better than our previous three years when both numbers were in the teens.

        Without abandoning our new-found defense, we can maybe afford to take a few more risks in attack…

        I think if we have a 70/30 chance ‘on’, like a long pass with a risk of an intercept, we should take it…

      3. Scotland fans need to accept that Toony is pretty much guaranteed to still be in the hot seat until the next RWC now.

        It is always a huge risk to change head coach – it can bring about huge improvements or catastrophic transitions. Toony has shown a willingness and ability to learn and adapt and I think has matured as a coach. It would be a mistake to carelessly discard that experience and relationship with the squad at this stage.

  36. Sobering Monday morning thought

    It was ugly , but is there a single one of us would not take a grand slam made up of 5 ugly scraps at the equivalent of 14 – 10

    Just once !

    1. 1990 was made by three such ugly scraps (13-10, 13-9, 13-7) and one decent win v France aided by a red card.

  37. As with most of us, overjoyed that we have finally won “one of those games”. Not much flair on show but what there was, it was Scottish. Even at 79 minutes I thought we could still make a hash of it, but for once we didn’t. Kudos to all those leaders on the park for the last 10 – McInally, Gray, Ritchie, Price, Hogg – kept their cool.
    Looking forward to seeing if Wee Dunc gets the nod – what a come-back that would make. Hopefully Finn and Adam are both OK and it’s not long term though.

  38. Brilliant to get the win. Really great period of possession rugby near the end going through the phases but a few things to iron out….mainly that we just seem to be prone to acts of stupidity and just need to cool the heads a bit sometimes.

    Hogg made that rushed miskick rather than taking a moment to properly place it. Then from that Wales sent it deep and Brown opted for a long floaty lineout in high winds after already seeing the lineouts were hugely affected. Lo and behold it went wrong and gave Wales that first try. Totally predictable. Brown (twice!), Price and McInally were all then guilty of individual stupidity in the second half and on another day we would be rueing a narrow loss.

    Again. Its great we won. I’m delighted……but can we see some intelligence and cool heads…and Price actually “using it”.

    1. I think the no-arms call against Brown was harsh – he clearly attempted to wrap both arms – and his was far from the only obstructing line, though it was pretty damn stupid as there was no need to obstruct.

  39. Team for Italy – Giving some of our 2nd string players game time. (Kebble, Mcinally, Skinner, Du Preez, Horne, Johnson, Jones, Van der Merwe) the challenge is to keep Italy on one score or lower.

    Stuart Hogg – Darcy Graham – Huw Jones – Sam Johnson – Duhan van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – George Horne – Cornell Du Preez – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Scott Cummings – Sam Skinner – Zander Fagerson – Stuart Mcinally – Oli Kebble

    Sean Maitland – Adam Hastings – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Jonny Gray – Simon Berghan – Fraser Brown – Rory Sutherland

    1. it seems only logical to assume hasting and russell will be injured until told otherwise.

  40. So the updated World Rugby rankings show 7. Scotland, 8. Wales and 9. Japan.

    World Rugby knew exactly what they were doing when they finalised the seedings a couple of weeks ago just before the 6N was completed. Another sweetener for their darlings Japan. So we now have a top seeded team and a seconded top group seeded team below us in the rankings. What a farce. I’d love it if we drew both of them in our group.

    1. We will need to do it the hard way, so what is new about that. Yes we left ourselves vulnerable and World Rugby took advantage , we just need to show them who we really are.

      You know , we just needed to beat Japan, that is all. We had ‘the fittest team in the tournament’Actually , it looked like we had the most burnt out team in the tournament, no continuity from game to game , a crock in the centre.If you need someone to blame ? We could just man up and admit we got it wrong and wont be there again. It looks like they all learned from that debacle.

      There is nothing we can do about world rugby, by the time the RWC arrives , no one will want to face Scotland, certainly not Japan.

      Now – That feels better already, does it not.

      1. Yeah if we can maintain this form and relative success until 2023 then we will most likely be that third seeded team that creates a group of death. At least Wales are locked in as top seeds and we have a slim chance of drawing them.

  41. Are we turning our game into Toonyball ? A bland boring defensive style of game, when will we actually see some signs of progression from this once in a generation team ?!

    1. I think Toony has recognised that we can play some of the most sparkling attacking play in the planet and it won’t get us anywhere unless we have fundamentals down first – defence and set piece.

      I want Scotland to win the 6N and I couldn’t give a stuff how we get there.

    2. I think Tandyball is more accurate. The current brand of rugby is far too structured and organised to be associated with Toony’s DNA

  42. I think Toony’s objective for the Italy game has to be to get the attack going whilst maintaining the defense and forwards performance. He’ll want to win that game to keep up momentum and get ready for the visit of France. So probably not too many changes.

    Not going to be that easy to spark the attack with Russell and Hastings crocked and Hogg declaring that he doesnt want to start at 10. I guess we would start with Weir, bring in Johnson and bench Lang to give him a shot at 10 in the later stages. Then need our most attacking back 3 on the pitch: Hogg, Graham, DvdM with Kinghorn going to the bench. Id like to see DvdM and Hogg get more game time together.

    If Price starts then he needs to make a few more breaks off the base to keep their defense distracted from our stand-off.

    Probably swap the starting front rows and hope the lineout goes better to give us another attacking platform. However, the Italians like everyone else will now be wise to our driving maul so we’ll need to develop something else.

    1. I would play the way we played against Georgia . Just pound them where they are stronger, the forwards, and use Weir to pin them in their half where they can make mistakes. Change the front 4 second half etc. Just a simple plan really.

    1. That’s a shame huh. Not only will it affect Scotland but both a struggling Edinburgh & Glasgow team, with Hastings out for the whole season effectively and Jaco almost certainly going to be in that 23 far more often now.

    2. Gotta pray Russell is fit for the England game – I think this could be one of our better chances to make an impression on the 6N.

      As for the ANC, expectations will be low but we really need to get wins against Italy and Fiji at least. Let’s hope Duncan Weir enjoys the second coming of his career.

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