Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Autumn Nations Cup 3rd /4th Play-Off: Ireland 31 -16 Scotland

The chance for Scotland to show that they can win away from against the big boys started in exhilarating and confident fashion, only for the same old issues to pop-up like a struggling tighthead.

Jamie Ritchie’s early breakdown indiscipline gave Ireland a pop at goal, which gave Johnny Sexton a chance to put Ireland into a 3-0 lead, but he missed the chance you would usually expect him to take.

Solid jackaling by Zander Fagerson gave Jaco van der Walt the chance to open his Scotland account, but he was unfortunate to smack the post with a fairly long-range effort.

He got a second chance from closer in soon afterwards after some big carries from Harris and Taylor, to put Scotland into a 3-0 lead.

The meaty Scotland pack – weighing in at over 900kg – then won a scrum penalty and van der Walt doubled the advantage.

With Scotland looking the better team, a penalty given against Fraser Brown with Scotland in no danger allowed Sexton to reduce the deficit.

But it was still Scotland who were playing all the rugby. They were shifting the ball around and finding space, Taylor and Harris straightening the lines well when required.

Another van der Walt penalty made it 9-3 and then his delightful kick forced Ireland back to within 10m of their try-line.

Matt Fagerson took Aki out in the air from the long throw-in to relieve the pressure on Ireland, and as the home side attacked… my stream froze.

By the time it came back, Taylor was walking off to the sin-bin and Sexton had an easy pop at goal.

Hogg’s restarts have been incredibly accurate in this tournament, and another one had caused some consternation with Cummings smashing Keith Earls, but they exited brilliantly and forced van der Walt into a fairly disappointing clearance, his first mis-step of the game.

Once into the Scotland 22, Ireland were slightly fortunate to win the scrum when Ritchie had stripped the ball back only to see it bounce off Zander Fagerson’s arm about 15m from the Scotland line.  

Ali Price entered a ruck from the side and Ireland went to the line with Scotland still down to 14 men.

Scotland sacked the maul but with another penalty advantage, Sexton went over the top, Darcy Graham lost out in an aerial battle with Robbie Henshaw and the loose ball was dotted down by Keith Earls to give Ireland a lead that on the balance of play, they had scantly deserved.

But that’s what they, and most of the top teams in the world, do. They soak up the pressure and strike when they have the chance.

Half-time: Ireland 11 – 9 Scotland

Ireland extended their lead early in the second half after a very clever kick, bouncing kick forced Hogg into an error in the Scotland 22, gave them the scrum and eventually Cian Healy burrowed over after a surging run from Ireland no:8 from Caelan Doris.

Duncan Taylor, who had only just returned from his sin-binning then got replaced by Huw Jones. If this is another injury for Taylor it continues a career-long run of bad luck.

Keith Earls crossed again when Ireland used their set-piece prowess and grunt force to create space on the left.

Scotland had lost their way after such a bright start, but if there’s one man in this Scotland team who can burst any defence it’s now Duhan.

He saw a gap at the side of the ruck, picked up, brushed off Rob Herring like a bit of dust on a glass, and powered through Jacob Stockdale’s attempt for a fine finish.

A misjudgement from Hogg, again, nearly let Earls in for another Ireland score but Scotland won the turnover with their backs to the wall.

Scotland then got pinged for not releasing in the tackle when in a decent attacking position, and “Frustrating” Fraser Brown gave away an obstruction penalty for about the millionth time in his career, and shortly afterwards another infringement allowed Ross Byrne – on for Sexton who seemed to have a hammy injury to his left-leg – made it 28-16.

Peter O’Mahony thought he had dived in for a winger’s score in the right-corner if it weren’t for van der Merwe’s intervention forcing a foot into touch, so Byrne knocked over another penalty.

It’s getting quite annoying to repeatedly say “we were in that, but then…” and having seen the Taylor yellow-card on replay, I think that’s a harsh call which made a huge swing. Is he supposed to just let Aki throw or slip by him? It’s a micro-second before he makes contact with Aki and then hand hits ball, but the more blatant, and stupid penalties, killed it.

SRBlog Player of the Match: Duncan Taylor had been outstanding, Jaco showed up well, but I think again it’s got to go to Duhan van der Merwe. An outstanding finish for his try, another couple of charging runs into danger and that intervention on O’Mahony seal the deal.

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)

80 Responses

  1. A great start only to lose focus and concentration resulting in throwing it away. We can’t continue to concede so many penalties and wonder why we came away empty handed. However, a few stars in the making turned up today a great performance by Van der Walt and Merwe.

  2. Scotland have the strongest pool of players ever and still Townsend can’t win , how long will his heredity failurship last? We’ve gone back to pre Cotter ! ……..useless!

    1. Totally agree, we having been winning. But when it comes down to the big games our decision making and team choice is lacking.

      1. I would be fascinated to know why Wales away and France at home in the 6 Nations aren’t big games but for instance France at home and Ireland away in the Autumn Internationals ARE big games,

        What is the difference in criteria between those fixtures?

        When Scotland win it’s not big but when they get beat it is?

      2. Ting firstly France at home is a big win but then we also lost to France at home in the same 12 months. Secondly we all did talk about how Wales away was a big win but they are a team at the beginning of a transition and Scotland should be able to take them. Ireland is always a big challenge for us because we get bullied by them so much. There is more of a rivalry there. Ireland are arguably where we should be both in the pro game and Int level but we aint. Townsend has lost continually to Ireland with some pretty abysmal performances. Under Cotter we looked like we had a plan B and C under Townsend unfortunately that cant be said.

      3. The straightforward answer then is both Wales and France were big games, two out of 5 big games when results show Scotland got their decision and team choice spot on rather than it “lacking” in those games. That ratio of games v wins in “big games” is about where Scotland are in reality.

        I would imagine I speak for a majority when I say this, I don’t care if Wales are in transition. That is their fault, not ours, I have watched Wales beat Scotland enough times over the years to know Scotland shouldn’t just be “taking them” that was a “big win”

        A 50/50 record v France seems about right, a good achievement actually. Scotland are punching well above weight as a Rugby nation to compete with France, in reality a competent France should be beating Scotland 5 times out of 7. To beat them at home in the 6 Nations when they were on for a grand slam was a “big win”.

        The argument of Scotland should be where Ireland are as a Rugby nation goes far deeper than the coach of the National team, how anyone would argue based on current structure of Rugby in both countries Scotland should be at the level of Ireland is beyond me, there is next to no evidence to support that claim.

        Our plan B and C under Cotter also managed to look like a 60 point defeat at Twickenham to be fair, I am not sure I want to see that sort of Plan B or C

        As “great” a coach as the misty eyed wish to romanticize Vern to be, there was turgid displays mixed in with what was fundamentally a three result CV with Scotland, including by your own criteria a Wales team in “transition” and a win v France to balance out three defeats against them….is that really something worth clinging on to as tightly as some still do, not so sure it is.

    2. News for you SAS, Toonie ain’t playing anymore. it was Darcy not competing for first try and missing tackle for second. VDW knocking on twice when attacking, Ritchie, Brown, Fagerson(s) giving away brainless pens. Our so called “strongest pool of players” are making too many basic errors.

    3. Townsend has a better winning percentage than Cotter so to claim we’ve gone so far backwards is divorced from reality. It’s frustrating as we have plateaued but test rugby is unbelievably competitive.

      The truth is we might have the strongest pool of Scotland players ever, but at the moment our squad clearly lacks the quality of England, France and Ireland. Wales seem to have slipped back and Italy are still some way behind but any objective comparison would find us lacking. So to succeed we have to squeeze more out of the potential we have and that is always going to be a massive challenge.

      I’m looking forward to the 6N in hope more than expectation. I can’t see us getting whitewashed but even less likely we’ll win the thing. That’s just where we are at the moment.

      1. I did some numbers on this during a debate with a friend after WC last year. Can’t be bothered going through six years of fixtures again but my basic point and backed up by numbers was that that is an unfair comparison. It’s about trajectory.

        Cotter came into a crap Scotland set up, had a torrid first half year where he built foundations and then things picked up. Absent his six months, he had a better record than townsend. And townsend started his job with the best Scotland side in two decades and his trajectory has broadly been for things to start great and then get worse. This year has in some ways arrested that decline, but we still lost four out of six games against decent opposition.

        How long do we continue to entrust townsend with the best Scotland squad since the 90s. No. Guarantee what comes after will be as good. Miss this chance it could be another 20 years before we challenge again.

      2. FF : I do not agree, I am wondering if you have lost some perspective. Win percentage is easy . Win percentage against whom? I am just waiting for Townsend to line us with test matches against the Ivory Coast to get his win percentage up and test out yet another centre combination. You have missed the whole point , Townsend was to kick us on from the boost of Cotter , who lifted us just above the surface of a bog with a vortex. Kick us on ! Kick us on ! Townsend has been divisive IMO.

        The unanswerable question is where would Cotter have taken this and the one question we can answer is that Townsend has taken us out the RWC at 1st round and not bettered Cotters 6N table position. If you think it is impossible to better that anyway, then the question has to be why did Cotter go !

      3. FF: Why change Cotter, if more of the same was good enough ?

        I am not gullible, we are not gullible. How can Townsend’s win percentage demonstrate progress ? How can that go up yet we slip down world rankings ! That just tells me , we are losing the games that count.

        If you want an ‘objective evaluation’ of the competitive environment and the progress of Scotland against that environment, world rugby ranking feels about right.

      4. Personally, I wouldn’t have changed Cotter. But I don’t think there is a particularly good case for changing Townshend now either.

        OnTopOfTheMoon did an analysis of Scotland coach win records in the pro era. Not only did Townshend have the best win record he had the best against Tier 1 sides and against Tier 1 sides minus Italy and Argentina.

        Going out at the RWC was a disaster but it was a tough group. Japan were much better than in 2015 and were at home – our performances were poor though and Townshend did not appear to have prepared the squad well. It would only have made sense to have got rid of him if we had an exceptional candidate to take over and I doubt we did – in fact I doubt we could get one now. Getting rid of Townshend now would be foolish IMO. Just like players, coaches develop and grow and this season has been par at least. Cotter wasn’t the messiah either.

        As far as best squad ever goes, the hard truth is we only have a few world class players and are performing about where we are. The narrative that we swap out the coach and become world beaters is nonsense. The next step is going to be tough but I think Townshend is possibly as good a coach as any to help us get there.

        Unless by a miracle Gatland and Edwards wanted to reunite to take Scotland on – I’d have us move heaven and earth for those two.

  3. Must be really frustrating for coaches. Everyone knows what to expect from Ireland and they spent the last 2 wks talking about the breakdown. We started great, just as in 6N, but Ireland soak it up and aided by a dubious YC (footie equivalent of ball striking defender arm from point blank range) they lead at HT. They crank up the pressure in typical Ireland fashion and we wilt into errors and indiscipline which I thought we had banished. Very frustrating. The back row just did not function. I don’t like the ref but every Ref in matches v Ire gives them the benefit at the breakdown so suspect we need to get back to basics and sort the technique/coaching.
    PS: Good write up Mr Hay.

  4. Game was so frustrating to watch. I do think Ireland got the rub of the green from the ref, but we did not make any opportunities for ourselves. We seem to give away stupid penalties that lead to team being within try scoring range.
    Fraser BROWN is a shocker for this, how can a professional rugby think he is going to get away with taking out a chaser when there are plenty of cameras out there to catch him doing it. He did this a few games ago, we have far better options a hooker than him.
    Just thought in this game the backs had no attacking ability. We need player running at the line and having options to screen pass and give space out wide. I live in NZ and used to watch Maitland as a kid! How on earth he can make the squad is beyond me.
    Townsend either needs to start being consistent or move aside. Scotland would benefit with a Super Rugby coach with some fresh attacking ideas.

  5. Not a bad autumn in many ways but Ireland know if they frustrate us we’ll lose composure, give away some penalties or make errors and then they can stifle us.
    It’s how they’ve beaten us several times and exactly what happened.

    I hope there’s a bit of continuity and some settled selections in the 6N and we just keep it up. We’re not in a bad place so keep going.

  6. The central issue is leadership. I’m not talking Hogg here directly. Look back to the first half of the Italy game. The second half of both February’s Ireland game, the England and the recent France game where there are moments in those games where slight shifts of difference take place that player leadership and performance is crucial and is lacking. The game prep and plan set by the coaching team has been structured that the players have taken on and it works. The players have shown they have edge,better character but this is not 100% all of the time. Sadly inconsistency, game management and someone to take hold and take charge is required. We need proper leadership. Calder,Hastings qualities. The boys have it in them but they need to go deep in themselves to find it. Let’s have some faith here. The English are next. What bloody good timing to show we mean business huh.

    1. I agree that ‘Leadership’ is a key area. I was struck by how Sexton got his troops together under the posts as we went 9-3 ahead. From there they began to claw their way back into the game. Also POM is a galvanising influence for the forwards. All great teams have leaders all over the pitch. Think of our Grand Slam teams of ‘84 (one for the oldies) and ‘90 (we had 2 Lions captains in that team). Even England WC team of ‘03 was full of natural leaders.
      Currently we lack that quality and it is sadly lacking in our Pro14 teams. It is something that cannot be coached and must emerge within the squad. I feel it must come from a home grown Scot (a diminishing pool!). Ritchie and Cummings look the most likely candidates but we need more. The Return of Finn will help.

  7. Townsend has not moved this group of players on. I believe, if you gave this group of players to a world class coach, our results would be far better. There are quality players in this squad and I do not think Townsend knows what game to play with them. Fastest team in the world, to hardest to beat kicking game, to today. What is our style?? Really don’t know why the SRU are scrambling to offer him a new contract.

    1. Yes… Im not sure how to ascertain GTs coaching abilities.

      We’ve gone from great in attack & poor in defense…to poor in attack & good in defense….with essentially the same squad. Well.. I hesitate to say defensively good based on today where we shipped 4 soft tries)
      Personally Id rather he reverted back to focus on attack …at least it was entertaining yet frustrating. Now its just frustrating and boring.

    2. We did give them to a world class coach . His name was Vern Cotter. He got us to three wins in the 6N and a RWC quarter, but we punted in favour of Townsend who has taken us to the outer limits , broke new records, losses to minor nations and glorious exit from the RWC. Both have their high and low points, but we have gone long enough to say , we have no consistency and are flat line performance. All the players know they will be dropped at a moments notice for no reason, so his biggest threat, humiliation , is losing it’s sting. He is not a leader, he is a short term tactician and well, his short term , is over.

  8. GS check out Nessie’s response above. Don’t you think they have a fair point?what’s your thoughts?

  9. Fire 30 minutes was very promising – VDW and Taylor seemed to make a massive difference in go forward ball. VDW might take the backup 10 spot from Hastings fairly quickly. Yellow card was a massive turning point.

    Thought Hogg had his best game for a long time – apart from leaving a couple of balls to bounce – good captaining as well reassuring VDW when he dropped a couple of balls early on.

    Ultimately the breakdown and giving away silly penalties killed us. Ritchie trying too hard at 7, would rather see him at 6 and Watson at 7 as we missed him massively. Thomson was AWOL at 6 and Matt Fagerson looked lost every time he got near the ball.

    Graham had his worst game for Scotland, let’s hope it’s a one-off.

    Encouraging signs but we need to improve discipline.

    1. Giving JVDW a wee emotional cuddle when he made a hash of simple catches…imo…does not equate to good captaincy.
      Cant for a second imagine POM or AWJ doing that. The mistakes were due to a lack of focus..
      Maybe Hogg likes to get a cuddle every time he makes a pigs ear of a play…which he does increasingly.

      Graham’s poor play wasn’t a once off….against Japan.. he was awful. He gets badly exposed against the top sides. Maitland and DVDM our best wingers by a country mile.

  10. So frustrating to watch. You can’t have that many penalties against and that many turnovers and win a game.

    I hate criticising the ref but I felt Ritchie’s two early penalties we’re really harsh and set the tone for him (and Scotland) not being able to attack the ball. Perhaps this was due to Ireland being more physical but it seemed every time we tried we got pinged but it only seemed to be be happening one way.

    And it may be tartan specs but we seemed to get pinged for offside quite readily compared with the Irish defence which seemed to be up very fast for a back foot, standing start…

    Perhaps that also comes back to aggression in the rucks and speed of ball from the base. So much for not criticising the ref 😳

    I hope if we’re going to continue to boot the leather of the ball all the time we’re going to work at being better getting the ball back.

    I’m not sure where we go from here but I’m pretty sure we can stop any thoughts of six nations success or lions representation.

    I agree with the comments that on field leadership is lacking. Fraser Brown’s penalty for taking out the blocker, how many times does he have to do that before he learns to control himself?

    Not sure why Taylor went off when he was the best Scottish back on the park.

    1. Unless we completely over turn recent results v France and v Ireland during the 6N …I would say we won’t have anyone in the lions side…and its fair if we cant beat the big boys there just isnt anything to back it up.

      1. It would only be remotely fair if there were also no Welsh selected, but we know that’s not going to happen.

    2. Brown should never play again- far too many stupid penalties. Every other team seems to learn to play the referee – we never do but not helped by some truly brainless penalties and Ritchie has gone from being aggressive to petulant.

      1. Brown has been present in every botched line out that has lead to a glorious defeat. Makes all the wrong calls, long line outs when they should be safer short middle calls etc. Australia RWC being the worst example. Totally overrated selected for his flanker qualities, but we need a hooker, shoves in the scrum and can throw in. McInally is better, not really a Turner fan (his darts are poor) I think Grant Stewart needs more game time at Glasgow. That said, he has been to the Hogg school of public speaking , must keep his moooth shut.

  11. Totally, physically out done today. Bullied – how embarrasing is that ?15 v 15 & we were outmuscled. Not by a tad but by a margin.
    Townsend hasn’t got it – he never settles on a side . Why ? Shake up a team, show his “genius” as we can only ever win with his expertise? Make a painfully average Harris into an international & prove Townsend’s horse whispering qualities? When will this experiment stop? Give Jones a proper go FFS not with 12 minutes to go. As an opposing centre can you imagine how happy you would be lining up against Harris? He has the attacking threat of a wet tea towel.
    You could always understand Cotter’s selection & felt there was rationale within.
    Not once have I felt this with Townsend.
    No Watson – mistake.
    I know Graham has a lot of admirers but he was so exposed today. Miniscule going for the high ball for Ireland’s first try. Shane Williams he’s not . Maitland a better all round option.
    Thought Jaco was OK. Hasting will only ever be a poor man’s Russell in spite of his heritage.
    Duhan is the business.
    Both of our front rows will be OK. Fraser needs to wise up.
    POM, Keith Earls, Sexton, Murray, all simmering malice, nasitiness & resentment . Much as I dislike them ( & they are well & truly on their last legs ) where is our equivalent in attitude ? They would run over their grannies to get the win. All would have added to us today.
    Team won’t move forward with Townsend & his ego & caprices. We have talent being squandered.Not hysteria but the truth.

  12. The 1st 35 mins was our best rugby so far according to the coach.
    Really? Our best is worth 9 points and still giving up a HT defecit?

    I saw lots of passes being flung about – sure. I also saw a slowly deterorating attacking shape thaat was one dimensional (at best) to begin with and inevitable momentum killing poor passes causing knock on or blind alley running.

    Points are the currency by which games are won, not ‘not lost’. We’re saving all of ours for what – a special occasion?

    Apparently  our fast attacking rugby of 2017-19 wasn’t a recipe for success. Our new defensively hard to beat approach has seen us beat Italy and lose to Ireland & France this tournament.

    How’s that different?

    Our attack game won in Sydney, put 50+ on them in the return & had the All Blacks on the rack not knowing where our next attack was coming from or how to stop it.

    Accepted our win ratio was no better & there were some blow out losses. At least then I saw a desire to win the game by our own endeavours. Not park the bus & rely on an opposition off day. Understanding a bit more of the Twickenham bust up now. Was ‘beer-gate’ really a discipline issue or a convenience for the coach to remove dissent.?

    So what of our prospects? Lately our tier 1 games have returned 14, 15 & 16 points. Thats going to take no more than 15 minutes of Eng/SA/NZ threat analysis prep time. Stop or knobble one/both of Finn or Hogg. Job done.

    Not likely to put bums on seats either in these difficult times.

    Duhan is a threat. Our centres do much of the opoositions work to minimise that threat for them. Jones now, please & don’t care if its Taylor, Johnson or Scott at 12

    Its a ‘work in progress and will all click soon’. Of course it will. Similar was said about the fast attack game. When will the next philosophy change, promise of lessons learned & better days to come be?
    Maybe after another world cup exit and contract negotiation time.

  13. Why does such an experienced player not realise how many may get away with the sly obstructions but his technique and places he does is too obvious and needs to stop doing it. Especially when the player he bumps is completely not in the contest for the ball.

    Price had an equally braindead side entry that made no difference to anybody crucial to the move either except give them the advantage freedom to kick and score….

    These cost us hugely and need to stop

      1. Same back at the 38-38 England draw when he was told to leave the ball alone ….. so what did he do !!!! He hasn’t the brains to learn

  14. Right, who is everyones scottish player of the Autumn nations ? (Include Georgia & Wales)

    Player of series – Ali Price

    Runner ups:

    2) Scott Cummings
    3) Duhan Van der Merwe

    Failure of the series: Jamie Ritchie. (I suspect will be near the top of penalty count for both France & Ireland)

    1. Cummings by a mile. Did you put Price up there to get attention ! He is bang average and we just put up with him. Lets not forget Laidlaw was picked against this blogs better judgement , for years, why ? because Price was average and SHC has a face that does not fit.

      Oh and give Kebble a year and he will be the 1st pick. Sutherland is good, Kebble brings more. SA versus borderer, well sorry to say it , but we are still parochial at EH12. Sutherland will be pushed forward but if we were honest, Kebble is a monster in a teddy bear suit.

      1. I would not give Cummings the captaincy yet. Let him mature more into International rugby without the weight of captaincy on his shoulders. I agree to take it off Hogg and take away kick-offs etc. away from him and get him to concentrate on his position. Toonie is NOT an International coach but SRU will not get rid of him. Currently, this is not just an International issue but both pro clubs are in poor condition ……. Scottish rugby top level is in dire straights at present!

      2. Agree with Cummings. Closely followed by DVDM.
        Disagree on LH…imo Sutherland is the best loosehead we have had for a long time. Kebble is a big unit for a LH but Sutherland seems technically better imo.

      3. Yeah, Kebble has some way to go to be an international starting loosehead standard. That is one thing we learned in this series.

    2. Price had a good patch to see out the game against Wales but he also had periods where his play was too slow e.g. not using the ball when told to in a maul resulting in a turnover. Similarly with his box kicking: some of it was great a lot of it just handed possession to the opposition. Personally I’d have like to have seen SHC get a longer period of play to show where his form is.

  15. Ramblings……………..
    Exceptionally depressing rugby weekend ended with Brandon Thompson missing a potentially match winning kick that Stevie Wonder would’ve been disappointed in missing.
    Scotland built up our hopes only to leave us crestfallen……………….again.
    Its not easy to stomach as Ireland genuinely did look there for the taking.
    Not scoring try in 1st 25mins killed us.
    Ireland’s centre & back row selection told you all we needed to know about their tactics, & it worked to a treat.
    VDW hadn’t played a game of rugby since 1st Nov & had to play the whole game yesterday.

    As for the 6N – its difficult Crosbie, Graham would add physicality & a bit of dog to the back row apart from that we’ve got the best guys there.
    Still brain farts – Taylor wee bit unlucky but he knew, Brown, Price.
    Need an attacking threat @ 13, I thought Harris did ok yesterday but we simply don’t score enough tries. Not Harris’s fault but….

    Russell is our most important player.

    1. To me … VDW looks the best back up option to Russell. Made a couple of sloppy mistakes …but for 1st match both at this level and not having played much lately he impressed me. He’ll be a very solid backup with more experience. Hastings may be a better fit at 12/13 or FB going forward.
      We didn’t construct much quality phased possession at all into the Ireland 22…we only threatened when DVDM got the ball…he definitely had the beating of Ireland. He looks top class in both attack and defense and stick on 1st choice at winger imo.

    2. for the 6N I want to see Crosbie, Bradbury and Graham back in the squad and competing. I do not want to see …Cowan, Du Preez, Thomson…waste of shirts.

      1. Crosbie and Bradbury have been outplayed by Ally Millar recently. Their form for Embra is not demanding selection.

      2. Yeah…but if you were picking based on form we would basically have a team outside of pro14. Glasgow and Edinburgh have been shocking this season.

  16. Very disappointed in how we played after the first twenty five minutes. Toonie as coach has to take the blame as some of his picks were found wanting. Ritchie is not an international seven but he is without doubt our best 6 and for some on here to be talking about dropping him from the team is a nonsense. Fagerson was exposed yesterday. He is not an 8. Significant that his opposite number was MOTM. He looked like a schoolboy playing with men. Graham’s defence weaknesses were exposed. He had a nightmare. Our senior players need to step up and show leadership and be streetwise. Ireland and Wales have done it for years. Hogg is trying way too hard as captain. The only thing he doesn’t try to do is bring the water bottles on. And when are referees going to tell the Irish to shut it. Sexton in particularly moaned/ questioned every decision and was trying to get players sent off and when he wasn’t moaning O.Mahony or Murray stepped up.
    Cowan and Skinner should have been brought on in the back row at 60 minutes if not earlier.
    On a positive note I thought Z Fagerson was excellent and we have found our alternative 10.

    1. Fagerson is 22 years old and has about 6 caps and 2 starts.
      Give the bloke a chance will you?

      I think he’s a bit like the Welsh player Navidi.
      And that’s not bad

      1. Navidi is a good player comparison imo….however he isnt a great 8 either…which is what most folks think of Fagerson. Why he isnt being groomed as a 7 is beyond me…he looks a natural 7. We have a plethora of 6s.

    2. Yes….in the last 2 matches Ive strongly felt that GT has made poor choices in replacements….either wrong positional change or far too late.

      1. Lots on here saying the same thing I.e. plated well first 30 minutes then lost the last 50 why did that happen?
        Stands to reason that big teams like Ireland , France,England are just playing with us the way we play with Italy. Perhaps Ireland on Saturday were just really comfortable with us banging away for very little return knowing their time with ball in hand would come and they would pull away, ‘rope-a dope’ Ali style if you like. The better teams in any sport can feel during the game that they have it in them to change gear. I think our guys wore themselves out in the first 30 and with little to show for it and just resigned themselves to defeat once Taylor went off knowing they were spent, sad but that is where we are and I can’t see the situation changing. Our few future big victories will only happen through maverick scores such as by DVDM and Russel taking us clear , but that’s not much of a structure for guaranteeing a regular high win ratio.Reading some of the Irish press, they are typically disparaging towards the Scottish team (especially Hogg) , there is no mention of a dominant 30 by the opposition team , just praise for their own team who saw out a routine victory with the result never in doubt.

      2. One of the big issues is that we do not back ourselfs to convert that dominance into a proper lead, surely 9 points is a poor showing for how dominant we were that first 30? Had a real chance to pull away I believe. Confidence in attack is shot.

  17. Agreed. Scotland’s best team on paper. I just worry we don’t have a big ball carrying number 8 . A rugby scribe once described Andy Robinson as a very good coach but terrible selector. Could Mr Townsend be talked about in the same breath.

    1. Very good point. Toonie’s inconsistency in selection and reflected in lack of leadership on the park, does raise questions about his role as “selector”

    2. I dont see any reason why Bradbury couldn’t have been an excellent test level 8. Has all the natural attributes….yet we have completely screwed up the coaching of him.

    3. Good shout. Robinson was a great forwards coach tbf, victim of the Peter principle. Toony used to be a great attacking coach, not sure what’s happened there.

  18. France 2nds lose Final against England and Brace the Irish ref. Boy, did Brace do all he could to give England the win

    1. France 3rds…..

      But yes they were robbed – penalty for the England try at the end of normal time was very dubious.

      England have become (more) 1 dimensional.

      1. Never mind the not knock on just b4 England’s winning penalty. Should have been a penalty to France on England line for holding on but knock on given

  19. Is there a reason Scotland never went for a try instead of 3 points against Ireland? We showed off such a lovely driving maul in previous games with the centres joining in. Why did we not even test the waters when we dominated first 30 minutes? Could of potentially broken away into a lead.

    1. did the thought ever cross your mind about the number of times we are moaning on this thread,about the Irish players,referees,coaches and anything to do with our Celtic cousins?

    2. Always a different completion when looking back on a game with hindsight. When live I agreed with decision to take points each time and build the score. We never got a full score ahead whereby opting for the lineout might make more sense. I don’t remember any opportunity to go for the corner in the entire second as we seemed to play the entire second half with penalty advantage against us. I plan to watch the match again tomorrow as I still can’t explain the change in fortunes.

      1. I agreed with taking the 3 points at the time as well, however i wonder at what point a England, South Africa or New Zealand would try turn the screw on them and go to corner.

      2. There are many instances it is wise to take the 3 points…but to continually keep doing it sends a message to the other team you dont think you can break their defense…thereby giving them added confidence. I think we did that against Ireland…
        It is more mentally and physically taxing to continually defend than it is to attack. The Ireland coaches would have seen that we were not confident in attack ….bulldozed us early in the 2nd ..put the points on the board…and game over before it was over.

  20. Great team , but no direction from the coaching team! I’m going challenge the SRU and Townsend for my mental health problems . What a bunch of

  21. Scunnered by the whole experience yesterday.
    30 minutes of some of the best rugby we’ve played for a while now. 30 minutes in which Ireland looked clueless and doomed to defeat. Really good combinations of forward driving, recycling and go-forward in midfield.
    Followed by a shocking first ten or so minutes of the second half that basically lost us the Test.
    What on earth happened to us after half-time? How could we succumb to the typical, boring Ireland game plan so soon after having countered it so well in the first half hour? Questions I’ve no answer to really, but there has to be something in here about having a game plan that works and then sticking to it.
    Ireland in that second half were basically the Ireland everyone knows for the last ten years or so. An Ireland we coped with really well in the first half and then goodness knows why we were useless against in the second half.
    Not a disaster though, and I fancy we can turn this round at Murrayfield in the 6N when we play Ireland again.
    I’ve no idea about Cummings’s impact on players around him, but he looks to me like a near future Scotland captain.

  22. “We feel we’re on the right track to achieving something special,” said Hogg.

    “We know we are nowhere near the finished article – you never are going to be – but the fortunate thing for us is we understand where we are going wrong.

    Urgh!…how many years have we heard this? We’re not on the right track Hoggy! the same old teams are ahead of us ..the same old teams dont see us as elite.
    Can we get a different player to talk to the media??…Hogg makes us look deluded!

    1. More than any other country we (by which I mean the players, coaches and media) are always trying to find positives in defeat every time we lose.

      This is the prototype of a loser’s mentality. Do you think NZ or even England ask themselves the same questions when they lose?

  23. I find it rather ironic to see the number of posters that continue to criticise Townsend for not finding a consistent team throughout his tenure.

    I would agree that we should have a more recognised and established first XV at this point that have played numerous games together with 12 or 13 of them on the park at kick off. However, every time someone makes a couple of mistakes in a test match we have posters coming on here saying that they should be dropped for good, and others posting their new 15s that are totally different to what they had weeks before.

    Maybe one day we’ll see a team put in a 90 minute performance of stellar defence, attack and set piece against a top tier side. After that, we can just stick to that team and hope they learn to do it consistently, making small tweaks when necessary. Hopefully, Finn Russell’s playing in that match or this plan goes out the window.

    1. I have Good news for you, the team only need to put in a stellar 80 minute performance not 90 (that should help – simplify the time cube) . As for commenters wanting players dropped for a few mistakes after every game , well some do and some don’t. Those who don’t want to change will lose their reputation every time. Sometimes we start with the Edinburgh front row sometimes the Glasgow and vice versa, just as an example. Toony is always looking for the edge. Most of the other sides are predictable , they cannot work us out. It is catching on, France just put out their 2nds and nearly took the cup from England. Toony is ahead of his time and others are pinching his ideas.

      1. They can’t work us out but we lost to ireland 4 times in the last two years. Hrm seems like they have worked Townsend out. France played their second string not because of some brilliant innovation but because of an agreement with the Top 14 clubs that meant the national team did not have access to all of their first XV. Townsend is not ahead of his time he is out of his depth. Anything can look good with good foundations underneath. Cotter build the foundations. Townsend has buggered up the house.

      2. foundations built with a team that was made up of the vast majority of the Glasgow Squad, who coached them then?

  24. Firstly, don’t listen to Stuart ‘we’re in a good place’ Hogg, he’s clearly not the brightest and says the first cliched nonsense that comes in to his head. Really baffling that he’s captain.

    SHC was only on 5 minutes and managed to throw a duff pass from the base, always been his big Achilles heel that he can’t pass the ball. Looked daft too with his hair, moustache and shorts pulled up high. Is G.Horne injured?

    Darcy is a good finisher but afraid to say he exposed himself again on Saturday.

  25. English ref vs Ireland… you know you’re never going to get much.

    Carley took the cake and ate it though…waited for Murray, Earls etc to make the calls for him.

  26. Townsend has had a pretty solid year really. I would imagine he will be content enough with it given the circumstances.

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