Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Autumn Nations Cup: Ireland v Scotland Player Ratings


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Set Piece

1. Rory Sutherland: Solid performance. Made a massive 17 tackles and also made ground with ball in hand. Scrum went well when he was on the pitch. Needs improvements in the rest of the team to stay in contention for place with the Lions next year. - (A6/D7/B6/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

2. Fraser Brown: Discipline was poor. Gave away four penalties, at least two of which were needless and one which gifted Ireland possession. Lineout went well as did the scrum. The decision to throw to the back of the line out 5 metres from Scotland's try line is a concern though despite what happened against Wales. - (A4/D4/B4/S4) Overall: 4/10

3. Zander Fagerson: Another solid performance around the park and in the scrum. Won a key turnover and did a good job slowing Irish ball. However he was at fault for at least two penalties in a game where team indiscipline cost the match. Perhaps unlucky to be pinged for latching onto the ball carrier in the maul though when he was within his rights to do so. - (A6/D6/B7/S6) Overall: 6.5/10

4. Scott Cummings: Good performance overall particularly in the first half but slipped a tackle which ultimately led to one of Ireland's tries. Doesn't seem to let mistakes phase him though and has been one of Scotland's most consistent players this calendar year. - (A6/D5/B6/S5) Overall: 5.5/10

5. Jonny Gray: Solid and makes much more of an impact with ball in hand. Made 20 tackles and missed none. Did well to try and prevent Ireland's second try. - (A6/D6/B6/S5) Overall: 6/10

6. Blade Thomson: Showed up well in attack in first half but Scotland's defence and impact at the breakdown was noticeably weaker without a second openside type player in the number 6 shirt. A good option but not necessarily first pick. - (A7/D6/B6/S5) Overall: 6/10

7. Jamie Ritchie: Struggled to exert his influence on the game and looked a little isolated at the breakdown without another openside type player to support him. His passion can be a stregnth but has been a liability in the last two games when Scotland have been on the back foot. Was lucky not to see Scotland marched back 10 for screaming at the referee. - (A5/D5/B5/S5) Overall: 5/10

8. Matt Fagerson: Could be the number 8 Scotland have been looking for. Tackles hard and is abrasive with ball in hand. Had a very good first half but like the rest of the team he struggled to combat a change in Ireland tactics in the second half. - (A7/D6/B6/S6) Overall: 6.5/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Influence

9. Ali Price: Overall a good performance. Accurate with the boot including a speculative kick which was a bounce away from putting big Duhan in for a try. Gave away a needless penalty 5 metres from his own try line coming in from the side of a ruck and struggled to exert any influence as the game wore on. - (A6/D6/B5/I5) Overall: 5.5/10

10. Jaco van der Walt: A very good debut and could be a great option for Scotland going forward. Made some very good decisions with the boot and kept Scotland's attack moving forward in the first half with some very quick accurate passing. Quiet when Ireland gained the upper hand in the second half. Finn Russell may still be first choice but JVDW could push Hastings close as second choice. - (A7/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

11. Duhan van der Merwe: Scotland's stand out performer this Autumn and has grown in confidence in each match. Makes yards in attack and constantly looking for work. Has clearly worked on his defence and made a vital try saving tackle on Peter O'Mahony. Thoroughly deserved his try. - (A7/D7/B7/I7) Overall: 7/10

12. Duncan Taylor: Perhaps his best performance for Scotland, certainly in the first half. Was incredibly unlucky to get a yellow card for what was actually a brilliant piece of defence. Struggled to influence the game in the same way come the second half and as one of the senior players could be at fault for failing to adapt to Ireland's change in tactics. - (A7/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6.5/10

13. Chris Harris: Shows up well in both attach and defence and it's hard see what else he has to do to silence his detractors other than score a couple of worldies against England. As with the rest of the team had a very good first half but faded as the game wore on. - (A6/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

14. Darcy Graham: Despite commentators suggesting he could have done more to prevent Ireland's first try it's hard to see how. Unlikely to have been able to see the ball until it was in the air so his opposite number had much more of an opportunity jump early. Makes his tackles and still provides an attacking threat. - (A6/D6/B6/I6) Overall: 6/10

15. Stuart Hogg: First half was his best performance of the Autumn series. Drew in defenders and released others rather than constantly taking the ball into traffic. Was incredibly lucky not to get injured after being illegally taken out in the ruck by two Ireland forwards. Did well to manage Jaco van der Walt's energy levels after a couple of early spills but needs someone to do the same for him. As his mood darkened so did the rest of the teams. Undoubtedly a leader on and off the pitch but as someone who plays with his heart on his sleeve do we need a more level head to take up the captaincy. Perhaps someone who doesn't have to sprint the length of the field to speak to officials. - (A6/D6/B6/I5) Overall: 6/10


Rated on Attack, Defence, Breakdown and Impact

16. George Turner: Utterly baffling that he was only on the pitch for 13 minutes. Had no time to influence the result and would have every right to be frustrated given Brown's indiscipline. Criminally underused this series. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

17. Oli Kebble: Scrum was noticable weaker when he came on. Still a very decent option from the bench. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

18. WP Nel: Came on late. Lost a scrum. Had no chance to influence the final result. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

19. Sam Skinner: "Oh look Sam Skinner's on" I remarked with 5 minutes left to play. He'd been on for 15 minutes at that stage. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

20. Blair Cowan: What was the point in that then? Was Townsend just looking for someone to look after the lids during the training camp? - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

21. Sam Hildago-Clyne: Played for 6 minutes. Scotland were clearly struggling to regain any influence on the game with 20 minutes to go. Should have been put on much sooner. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

22. Huw Jones: Will have given his confidence a boost to get back in a Scotland shirt. Was given 25 minutes to try and turn things around but had very little impact either positively or negatively. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

23. Sean Maitland: Still a great player and worth a spot on the bench. Did nothing to influence the game when he came on though. - (A5/D5/B5/I5) Overall: 5/10

86 Responses

  1. It was also very annoying that when we had a 5m attacking line out we threw it long and have the ball to Ireland when we had a chance to turn the screw a little in the first half.

    Quite a few commentators have picked out Matt Fagerson as a positive performer but I just don’t get it. Seemed to me he made little impression and couldn’t cope with physicality of Irish pack (he was not alone in this though). Not really impressed with Blade Thompson either. Our back row needs work.

    Love Darcy Graham but his defence in this match was poor and not just failing to defend that kick.

    Across the team discipline was shocking and senior players need to set the tone. Brown needs t he dropped for a spell IMO. Good player but penalty magnet.

    1. Caelan Doris is almost a full stone *lighter* than Matt Fagerson (as much as you can trust a wikipedia weight stat). Why is he so much more influential ball in hand? Is this something that can be coached? We need an answer as our forwards are generally very poor in the loose when it comes to the hard yards carries.

      1. He’s not. He made 5m/carry compared to Fagerson’s 6m/carry and many of his carries were heavily supported by latchers. Fagerson also made 3x as many tackles, missing none. Doris just gets the full support of the Irish hype machine. He played 2mins against Scotland in the 6Ns and people were arguing that he should start at 8 for the Lions. Not saying he’s not a good player, but we really shouldn’t buy in to the hype around other teams’ players, in my opinion.

      2. Teamcam: Nothing we can do about hype . But you may be onto something. There is only one set of numbers that we should be paying attention to IMO. We lost 31-16 , in round numbers they scored 94% more points. Maybe Fagerson needs to make less yards on his carries and collect more latchers to make a difference to the score. Is that the secret to the Doris ‘hype’ could it be good old fashioned teamwork that gets him noticed ?

        I personally think Doris is the outstanding Irish forward and I think it is all to do with the fact he is excellent. He adapts to whatever comes his way on the day.

  2. These look a little generous in places. A few observations
    1-front row looked solid but was not the weapon it was earlier in the year
    2- Fraser brown can’t repeat the same mistake time and time again. Should have been subbed off the second he did it. Good abrasive player at best, penalty machine at worst
    3-Matt Fagerson didn’t pass the eye test for me. Looked like he was over powered, didn’t carry hard. But his stats were apparently strong. He is only 22, will get better
    4- Jamie Ritchie looked petulant and not his aggressive self. Needs to get his mom form back
    5-Hogg makes a lot of mistakes. Haven’t been convinced by him recently when I considered him the best attacking full back in Europe a few years ago
    6-Duhan isa beast. My player of the autumn internationals for Scotland
    7- Darcy works hard and is tenacious, but when he has a bad game it shows
    8-don’t really rate blade. Flashes in and out the game (Fagerson, Ritchie, Watson feels “light” to me but probably the future. Would like Crosbie in the mix and Bradbury back on form, giving us loads of brilliant 6’s…..)

    Overall disappointed By the Autumn. Hoping for three home wins this year and competitive against France and England away (I.e in with winning with 10 mins to go)

    1. Good summary Glarugby. Only disagreement is Matt Fagerson – thought he had a good game, generally. Although it seems most think him too lightweight.
      I thought it was a mistake to drop Watson, even if it was to “try new combinations”. If Ritchie-Watson-Fagerson is the future, then keep picking them and they will get better as a unit. And they’re not bad now.

      1. I can’t help but think if Watson had come on, fired up and with a point to prove for being benched, rather than Cowan he might have been able to lift the team in some way. I’m not sure what Townsend got from having Cowan on the bench.

  3. I love Ritchie but he has a few times done things that would make me be against the general campaign for him to be Captain, Saturday was another.

    He was marked by the ref early for the back chat, the entry and general messing of the ball. He had created a pretty poor relationship with the ref I thought, I don’t think is ideal for a Captain would rather see him kept as an attack dog.

    Cummings does seem the one who would be the traditional Captain in making, seems measured and balanced in his play and will also put the graft in for others to follow.

  4. Obviously watching a different game to me. M Fagerson is never the number 8 we are looking for. Sorry but he is too small and too light for the modern game.

  5. Statistics are only a shortcut, and are also often misleading. Watching matches and replays can be much more informative. Often people quoting statistics have made up their mind about a certain team or player and trawl the statistics to support their view, conveniently ignoring negative statistics. Disraeli said “there’s lies,damned lies and then statistics”

    In the instance of players carries it would be interesting to know what areas of the pitch they were made.

  6. Totally agree with Pytelium about the use/mis-use of stats.
    I feel really sorry for Matt F. He is always being compared to Vunipola, Aldritt & Doris etc. I see a young player, giving his all for the team (a precious commodity) and doing well. We should be getting behind him and not constantly pointing out what he doesn’t do in comparison to other No 8’s. At the risk of undermining my stance on stats, by common consent our pack was heavier than Ireland but i agree we looked less physical and made less yards in the attacking areas where PoM & Doris excelled (Stander was quiet). I suspect our pack may be heavier but our backrow is probably lighter and I believe we struggle against the physical (and probably heavier) back rows such as England France and Ireland. I wish ‘posters’ could review matches without such criticism of individuals but then again we all love player ratings and these tend to focus on the individual and not the team collective.
    BTW this is a general point and not aimed at Pytelium.

  7. Fagerson will be our 8 answer if/when we can start to align our attack as it was with our defense as it has on occasion been this season as he has the Rugby savvy in him to make that work well both in involvement in attack and hunting for work in defense.

    His an absolute work addict, finds his carries, rucks, involvement with play. He is a great link play for an 8.

    The best examples of his work were the wonder scores v Exeter showing how involved he can be for an 8 in wide channels and his utter mind bending display when Glasgow won away to Leinster. If he can start to transpose that game at this level, he will be gold for us.

    He is a serious, serious talent, young and finding his way at this level. It will take time. Him finding games against real sides has been a + of this series.

    He got swallowed up by Ireland a couple of times and did disconnect a few times which meant he was getting held up but he was doing that in part because he is a workaholic, will never have an issue with players looking to make hard yards in contact.

  8. I forced myself to watch the match again this afternoon and have to say:-
    I failed to see the ‘best 30 minutes of the Autumn’ from Scotland that people are praising us for. Sure we just about shaded it but I wouldn’t call it dominant. Yet again we were on the wrong side of the refs favour and he matched every petulant penalty awarded against us he allowed an Irish forward pass to go unchecked but such us the quality of international rugby refereeing, any 50/50s go the way of the perceived ‘bigger’ team.
    In terms of player ratings I thought Hogg played well, although he could have been more decisive over a few bouncing balls, overall he eclipsed Stockdale.
    Captain needs to be in the pack though not at FB. I’d be grooming Cummings for the role, he us now 1st name on teamsheet.
    Brown was probably our most aggressive pack member. Yes he gave silly penalties away and yes I’d have pulled him but he gave his all and tried hard to repel the green wall and provide momentum. I’d still have Mcinally in at 2 every game
    Ritchie is quality but his standards have dropped off for the autumn.
    We missed Watson , Blade offered nothing in attack and Jackalled nil.
    I have no problem with Fagerson at 8.
    Price was steady but has offered no threat snipingwith ball in hand. I’d try Horne or SHC in future and give the oppo something else to worry about.
    Harris is a good defender/organiser but has no step. Get Jones mojo back.
    Overall teams who win stuff remain unchanged through tournaments.

    1. Price did ok, but our inability to try SHC or Horne for on e of the matches against decent opposition is baffling. Price could then come on for the second half to see games out.

      It’s a joke that Price plays for 75mins when we are behind, rather than try something different.

  9. Today is the first day in 15 years of supporting Scottish rugby that i firmly believe Scotland will never win a six nations, reach a semi-final again or challenge top 4 in the world.

    Quite simply, this is a golden generation of players by Scotlands standards, and they can’t consistently compete.

    I think Gregor is doing a good job with the limited resources he has.

    1. The final sentence of your comment does not align with the rest of it. If the golden generations is failing to be consistent then that falls on the coaching staff.

      1. Or it means our ‘golden generation’ is still not good enough to compete at the top of world rugby.

        Which is obviously true. I mean beyond a handful of players we don’t produce nearly as many top class players as any of our rivals.

      2. Yeah true story,

        We are right to celebrate our talented players, we just sometimes forget other teams have the same and then greater depth to go with it. In many ways the Pro14 just now shows how little depth Scotland have v their rivals, there is nothing left at club level just now at all for either side.

        Even at the weekend gone, we go without Johnson, Watson, Russel and Hastings…Ireland though can bemoan no Furlong, Ringrose, Lowe, Levy, Carberry, Larmour.. it is just more depth and more options.

        I would say for the most part Townsend does to pretty well with the limited resources compared to the teams he most often comes up against.

  10. Time to pick our best 23 and stick to it (injuries apart) and let them build confidence and cohesiveness.
    O Connel , Martin Johnston , AWJ, Sexton , Sam Warburton etc etc etc rarely won man of the match and didnt always hit the highs in every game but benefitted from the confidence of knowing the coaches had faith in them and gained considerable continued international exposure to know what to do in those important minutes. There is barely a player right now for Scotland who seems capable of holding on to the Jersey ( Harris apart)

    1. That’s nonsense really. You can just about pencil in Fagerson, Sutherland, Grey, Cummings, Watson, Ritchie, Price, Sam J and Hogg if they are match fit and it’s a match of importance.

      1. Still like to think Skinner offers more than Gray in attack and breakdown..
        Hard to say when he has not been given an opportunity.

      2. I disagree. Whilst you may pencil those names in (and I can’t argue with your choices) Gregor has only regularly picked Gray,Watson,Ritchie Price and Hogg. That’s 5 from a match day 23. Leaves 18 other players who know they are 1 game away from being dropped. competition for places breeds depth in the squad but when the 6n starts I’d like us to keep faith in a first 15 barring injuries.

      1. I’d go along with the Gaffer here…I’m not sure if there’s many players that feel like they own the shirt, and maybe that’s part of the leadership problem.

        I’m not sure I’d have picked either Price or Harris as part of my go to team (even still), but I do think that players improve with the knowledge that they have the backing of the coach

      2. I would expect a few do feel their shirt is safe (ish) and they own the shirt because they have physically played in games this year and will know the games they have played in. It takes about 5 minutes fag packet research looking at and remembering teams to see a pretty developed core group as Gaffer has mentioned. Some parts have had to rotate and change because of injury and rest etc, that is Rugby but for the most part there are a few who are set in stone.

        FYI I wouldn’t even say Harris is in the top 8 players selected the most this year

        I would tend to go the other way on it and be in the, wish we had even further depth to create even more competition category.

        Some are so measurably their best in their position it is possibly just a bit too known they will be playing.

  11. An utterly baffling game and the ratings reflect that I think. First 25 minutes was really very good and it felt like we were squeezing the life and confidence out of Ireland. And then that yellow card. From that point onwards the ref just seemed to turn everything in favor of the Irish and we could not cope. Firstly, I don’t see how it can be a yellow. Taylor clearly comes in from an angle on the blitz to cut out the pass, a classic smother tackle, and Aki just hurls the ball at him. Knock on and nothing else. The Irish them proceeded to come in over their feet at every breakdown (Jim Hamilton has a great little video of once particular vicious episode) with no calls. In comparison, we get pinged for much less. And countless high tackles, neck rolls and seatbelt tackles. And then the one that I have to admit I think is much more disgusting. There is a clear gouge to Brown’s face which the ref saw on the replay and chose to do nothing about. While it’s not a gouge to the eyes, you can clearly see the intent to pull at the face with a hook like hand. If we really care in rugby about foul play and stuff around the head, then I cannot understand why that’y not a clear yellow. The ref clearly says that it’s going to get picked up after the game; he’s bottled it.

    I don’t like to moan about the ref. They have a tough job and the game is such that they miss stuff. But this was one of those occasions where I just throw up my hands. Mental.

    But I do feel the team is improving.

      1. Improving at what, picking different random teams ! has anyone ever called a Townsend 23 accurately? Come on hands up if you have ?

    1. Typical unbalanced response to another defeat..its the referee or the dirty Irish. Watch the match again e.g Fraser Brown’s
      no arms tackle on Stander could easily have merited a yellow card. Check the penalty count. I won’t go on.

      1. Looked to me like Stander jumped into the chop tackle, Aki did the same at one point. It’s an easy way to win a penalty I suppose.

        Like ducking head first into someone’s arm, you shouldn’t be rewarded for making a risk to yourself. Feet should be on the deck.

      2. Perhaps you might read my comment again. We certainly didn’t lose because of the ref. But the momentum did clearly and massively shift on the dodgy yellow, then we start conceding penalties a man down, and the ref clearly starts seeing penalties from Scotland and less from Ireland. It’s an unconscious bias. And we could not cope. This has happened before and we don’t seem to be able to change the momentum of the game. You have to work very hard to get the ref back on side and we just don’t seem to be able to do that.

        But I stand by my comment on the gouging. The fact that he saw it and did nothing is astonishing. A hand to the face is a penalty at least.

        I did not say the Irish were dirty. They played the ref with skill and experience in a way we still need to figure out how to do.

        The ref is not responsible for the dropped balls, the missed tackles; the players own that. So I would disagree that my comment was unbalanced. The referees need to be held accountable.

    2. Anyone picked a Townsend 23, aye near enough and quite often.

      It has been a long time since his sides were that random, Wales away in the 6 Nations aside his teams are pretty logical pretty often.

      The random selection thing died out as a reality a long time ago now.

      1. Well I look forward to seeing your selections James. The only thing you can ever be certain of with Gregor Townsend, is uncertainty IMO

      2. Is that backed up with much recently though? look at the 6 Nations this year.

        There are actually very few changes to the sides that played, even more understandable when you factor in the injury to Gray – the same base of 11/12 pretty much played all games, it was minor changes at hooker, lock and 8 and Jones switching out after the first two other than that the side did pick it’s self

        A few for the Wales game, but obvious reasons for that

  12. Ah think going forward we need a few improvements to match what we’ve seen in the frontrow.

    We’ve no absolute behemoth in the second row like the lad Willemse for France. I tend to think Gilchrist who is listed at around 117kg still looks reasonably rangy and has thin arms for a lock and could probably add more weight. If he could get up to 125kg+ and learn to smash into contact that would improve our pack. He’d need to ditch the scrumcap as well. Cummings could also bring his arms up a notch or two in size. Alternatively Hunter-Hill could be the brute we need.

    At hooker you look at France with Marchand and Chat plus the lad on Sunday. Wonderful depth at hooker, 3 big lads who jackal like Donnie MacFadyen. I’d get Asheman in ASAP, he’s a huge unit (a stone heavier than Brown) yet he’s an incredibly strong and dynamic carrier and so mobile. Start bringing him off the bench now.

    I think Gary Graham should be tried at 8 (potentially with Fagerson at 6) as he is a big carrier and plays with a real aggression and dog that we’ve missed without Wilson. Both him and Fagerson cover the whole backrow so both should be in the 23 in my opinion with Watson and Ritchie likely the others in there but Crosbie not far away.

  13. Hogg is playing a lot of rugby. Played every test, played almost every game for Exeter, added pressure as our captain, 6N round the corner. We are putting a lot on him.

  14. Darcy getting a bit of stick recently. Does anyone else not feel concerned that he’s gone from a dynamite winger to someone who is hardly ever given the ball? Part of it I’m sure is this new functional, forward oriented gameplay we’ve developed this year but we have great wingers and are just not getting the ball to them enough. To me that robs Darcy of an opportunity to get into the game and find rhythm etc. then when big plays come his way he’s lacking confidence. He needs to be unleashed as does DVDM. Come back to the lack of a good creative Centre partnership.

    Second I mentioned before on this forum that I was concerned about Hogg going completely missing in the 2 finals he played for Exeter. It was weird as he’d been playing so well up to that point. Even though he had a good first 35 mins or so here he still looks indecisive in the big plays where he has to think about it. I think the captaincy is clearly affecting his game. He needs to relinquish it and get back to being the best full back in Europe. I don’t feel confident in him as a leader/tone-setter at the moment. Give it to Cummings or Price for now with Ritchie in consideration.

    Finally – do not at all agree with ‘resting’ watson for this match. What the heck for? This was our biggest game of the 2nd half of the year!

    1. I would say Wales was the bigger game of this group of fixtures to be fair.

      Why was Watson rested? Because maybe after the whole removal of the summer tours, Fiji and France squad debacles, no fans thing etc teams didn’t take this Autumn as serious as they normally would and just used it as a glorified training camp to drill down on areas sides thought were weak…..maybe, would seem plausible. It’s not been the usual Autumn of Rugby.. I would say the Watson decision solidifies how the game was viewed, if it had been a genuine must win I doubt he would have been rested.

  15. Scotland 2nd String XV ?

    Blair Kinghorn – Sean Maitland – Huw Jones – Matt Scott – Kyle Steyn – Adam Hastings – Sam Hidalgo Clyne – Cornell Du Preez – Tom Gordon – Blade Thomson – Ben Toolis – Sam Skinner – Willem Nel – Stuart Mcinally – Oli Kebble

    Jack Blain – Jaco Van Der Valt – George Horne – Magnus Bradbury – Grant Gilchrist – Simon Berghan – George Turner – Jamie Bhatti

    Switch in Hutchison also at centre sometimes.

    Would like to see a second string like this in the summer get some continuity and get the first XV a rest. You could clearly tell Townsend did not trust his Bench to come on and make a difference a lot of the time (to his own detriment)

    1. No Peter Horne? Townsend prefers utility players, who can fit in anywhere. He has Harris as a Centre / wing.

  16. Forced myself to watch the game again and failed to see the really dominant “best 30 minutes of the year” performance that I keep hearing about. I think the Irish were confident at the time (like all good teams are) that they could weather the storm ,turn it around and beat us comfortably in the end. After all they have done it time and again at provincial and international level time and again. Our guys I think knew it too and that’s why the intensity dropped off. It’s a mental thing.
    The scrum started the year well so hat off to De Villiers for that but even the performance there has dropped off.
    We have seen many false dawns under GT and we have also seen many promising new players wear the shirt, play well for a few games then see their performance drop off (Bradbury, Keble, Graham, Jones ….) Caps in days gone by had to be earned through years of sustained improvement not just flung about in the hope that someone can make the step up.
    perhaps the lack of real effort needed to get one coupled with the fact that you can will be replaced by GTs next choice next game despite how well you play is the reason performance quickly drops off.
    Either way, for the 6N I’d like to see GT pick his best 15 and stick to the them (injuries permitting) for the full tourney. Let the team develop familiarity. I’m fed up with GT waiting until the last minute before each game to announce the latest team like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

    1. Keble has played for Scotland 5 times mate and came off the bench in 2 of those games, is it not a bit knee jerk to be looking that far into his performances? And if he is being used as an example of perceived failure does VDM not counter that as a glaring example of success given they both have a similar set of fixtures? does that then also not just show despite coaching some players will adapt to International level and others won’t?

      Is it also not just a bit natural a player might happen to look a bit better when 2 out of their first 3 displays come against Georgia and Italy and are then followed up against France and Ireland… opposition is clearly playing a part there?

      Scotland to a certain extent have to put players in at this level to see how they perform to grow some form of depth.

      I can quite imagine Townsend, any coach for that matter, would love the 23 each time you speak about but in Rugby that’s just not realistic.

      Last years 6 Nations is a decent example, sides are never far away from an injury crisis that completely derails plans of a set 23 and that’s it blown to bits, there needs to a form of rotation and looking at players to see how they can handle it for when they are called upon.
      That has really been the case with someone like Bradbury who has been bled into the team with a lot of games coming against sides like Samoa, USA and Canada

      For the time being club form would do for him rather than International appearances.

    2. I also re-watched game and came to conclusion that the first 30mins were indeed our best rugby this year. We had a plan, we were aggressive, fast, (mostly) accurate and had Ireland rattled (witness Sexton 15-man huddle @ 3-9). To me, this points to the coaches doing their job, giving clear instructions, the team understanding and executing. So small margins at this level, on another day, against most other teams etc we might have had more reward. After that start, Ireland really raised their game. They had missed 15 tackles in that 30 min spell. Yes, our intensity dropped and the ultra harsh YC gave way to familiar failings; lost focus, distraction, psychological weakness etc. The game was lost in the 10 mins either side of half time allowing Ireland to grind out, with constant penalty advantage, in their usual style as our discipline and belief disintegrated. This is where I believe the coaches should have intervened earlier and made better use of bench. Skinner has been under-used also SHC & Turner. Incidentally Brown was immense in that opening spell if only he could eliminate the stupid pens.
      I think we need to be realistic and build on the positives. For once GT picked a team that few quibbled with (Mish excepted). We don’t have huge resources, GT can’t coach mental resilience. Our generation of talented players may lack the mental and physical toughness of Sexton & POM but they are, mostly, young and it may develop over time.
      Less criticism more support!

  17. Was going to add that The Irish Provinces are 1& 2 in both Pro14 leagues. Their players have been used to winning over many years. Ours have not. This will not change overnight. They and GT need time. I am realistic and welcome the improvement this year. There is no magic bullet.

  18. I think that Eddie O’Sullivan has summed up the GT era in one economical word DELUSIONAL!
    Townsend’s excuse is that his team are still a work in progress ,how many more years are the SRU going to allow him to fool them . The SRU are going to be a laughing stock after the six nations, Wales will be us at home , Pivic is a world class coach and I can not see him being beaten by a lesser coach in GT.
    Townsend doesn’t instill confidence in his players and it comes across in their lack of confidence on the pitch , simply because he doesn’t know what he’s doing and he never will.
    Now is a very good time for Townsend to go! Get a coach who can give everyone in the team confidence in his coaching system.
    If we all pray to the rugby gods that the SRU see through Townsend’s ‘make up excuses as you go along’ system, then we could have a fresh start in 2021!

    1. Pivac has been “beaten” by Townsend on quite a few occasions already, literally like a month ago was one of them, do you not remember Scotland beating Wales? When they were both at Glasgow and Scarlets it happened as well, it’s not beyond the mind it might happen again.

      He has shown on numerous occasions he already he is every bit the equal and arguably the superior of the “World Class” Pivac.

      1. What? Pivic has had only a few months in charge of Wales, and they fired better than we did against Italy.
        I don’t even consider that recent win over a newly developing Welsh side as a statistic worth keeping.
        Townsend gives our team no confidence, and gives opponents so much confidence, they all know that once you get Townsend defending then the team fall apart.
        Sorry but he has to go James.

      2. Privac has been in charge of Wales for a year and has come under quite heavy fire for taking Wales backwards.

        Scotland aren’t in a place to simply smirk at wins in Wales during the 6 Nations, it’s a bit silly to simply dismiss and a criteria very few will asses things by. A win when Scotland guess what, defended and didn’t ever look like falling apart…Saturday aside something they’ve not come close to doing all year.

        I wouldn’t apologise to me, he won’t be going anytime soon.

      3. How so?

        Scotland did or didn’t beat Wales for the first time in 18 YEARS (they did)…but pfft not a stat worth keeping apparently… so the wait goes on, is that what Scotland fans are meant to think, really? Try starting that chat when we are all back in the Up and Under.

        Pivac has or hasn’t been in charge of Wales for a year? (he has, the few months is about 13 now, he took charge of them last November and during the 6 Nations remember..)

        Scotland did or didn’t have the lowest points conceded in the 6 Nations (they did, fewest try’s against as well) ….so not really validation of a team that falls apart. They won 3 games and lost the other 2 by a converted try, under no sensible logic is that a team “falling apart”

        Why not add a bit of substance to what you are saying rather than chucking around cute insults…

  19. Nessie, your original post is up now. You are indeed correct that it was automatically placed in the moderation queue due to length. Your other posts were also marked as pending due to the use of the word “Moderator” which is designed to allow people to bring things to our attention, so you’ve fallen foul of that both ways! We used to have a counter so people could keep track of post length, I will see if I can reinstate that…

  20. Crashed out of World Cup
    Inconsistent selections that no one is happy with
    Veering from one game plan to another
    One victory of note in last two years
    Public spat with most important player
    Dubious leadership and management decisions, players form has suffered
    Does he really get another six nations? If so on what basis?

    1. Was the victory of note the win against France at home, or the win away in Wales in the last calendar year alone?

      The team selection point doesn’t hold weight either to be honest either on consistency or perceived popularity, it’s not really a popularity contest and the selections haven’t really changed.

      Townsend will get another 6 Nations based on the 4th/3rd place finish this season alone

      1. This is my opinion :we finished 4th in 2017 under Cotter on 14 points and 4th on 14 points this year with Townsend. So what makes this season better ? No better no worse.

      2. Surely this is worse though Bass Rock, as it shows there has been no progression made despite players who should now be hitting their prime and being more experienced. SRU sacked Cotter to see the upward trend continue, to me we have lost our identity from the controlled chaos and the fast rucking game under Cotter. To the identity crisis Townsend sees himself in, I don’t know what the end goal of Townsends play style is, do you?

      3. Further onto this and looking towards the six nations, what will be considered success this time?

        For me 3rd place finish would be a massive result and indeed prove me wrong by showing progress is being made.

        We should not be able to beat a performing England or France.

        We can beat Ireland at home but it is unlikely, this has to be the game we target though.

        Wales will remain a 50/50 at home in my eyes, they have been poor this year but we still only won by 4 points

        4th place shows no progress and leaves us the situation we in now, which barring extreme injury occurrences will be a big worry going forward.

        5/6th place in Scotlands 4th year under Toony and i think it would be fair to say it’s time for him to go.

        Main work on has to be discipline , we have regressed in that area Since first block of six nations games.

        Showing some progress in attack while maintaining our defence is also a must, not asking for worldy tries, but strong attacking phase play and some decent counterattack is much needed.

      4. What has happened with the players from other countries in that time though? The have progressed played Lions tours, won Europeans cups in greater numbers and France have woke up, which of the Nations were Scotland supposed to equal or leave behind and based on what?

    2. Regardless of your views on Townshend, he’s about to sign another contract up to the next World Cup. You should do yourself a favour and try to accept it, come rain or shine.

      1. Ting : the old cliche is ‘Leaders do not need to be popular, they just need to get the job done’ So why are we settling for neither.

      2. What is “getting the job done” going to go through a lot of coaches if your answer is winning the 6 Nations or a Grand Slam…

        @Dobie in terms of consistency of selection, who’s second choice 9 is very nuanced as a quandary.

      3. Ting: I can say what it is not. It is not taking the place of a competent coach and showing no progression in the 6 Nations and exiting the RWC sooner than your predecessor.I could go on but you will have heard it all before. 3000 petitioned the SRU when Cotter was asked to leave and it looks like they were right. This is a downgrade. Do have the last word.

      4. I’m genuinely fascinated to here what it should be though.go on come on,go for it…other wise it just comes across like you’re a fan of armchair quarter backing and just in it for the moan…

        3,000 I’m not sure I’d shout about that it’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things.

    3. Just the Wales game…not the game against France to end their grand slam run….

      Scotland will always be punching above weight when beating France.

      1. If one of their players is daft enough to start punching players in the head, that’s on them…Ritchie and Haining done a great job getting him riled up….loved it, great day that – mon the Scotland, we all love seeing them beat sides like France….well I say all……

  21. Neil :It is not me you need to convince. Townsend is unpopular with many fans which leads me to wonder what the players think ? You will never get results if you cannot engage them.

  22. A team without negative egos slowing them down for the the summer (when no lions are picked)

    1. Rory Sutherland
    2. George Turner
    3. Zander Fagerson
    4. Scott Cummings
    5. Sam Skinner
    6. Magnus Bradbury
    7. Hamish Watson
    8. Matt Fagerson

    9. George Horne
    10. Finn Russell
    11. Duhan Van Der Merwe
    12. Adam Hastings
    13. Rory Hutchison
    14. Darcy Graham
    15. Huw Jones

    16. Grant Stewart
    17. Pierre Schoeman
    18. Oli Kebble
    19. Jonny Gray
    20. Jamie Ritchie
    21. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne
    22. Duncan Taylor
    23. Sean Maitland

    Kebble has played tighthead before and Nel is to slow and old, and Berghan i do not think any explanation is needed.

  23. Townshend signs new contract through to 2023 RWC. I think it’s fair to say not all Scotland fans are going to be thrilled with the news ;)

    1. I’m fairly ambivalent about Townsend, but I think he is getting there albeit slowly. It is not helpful to upset the apple cart now.

      1. I like Townshend but was bitterly disappointed by the RWC exit. He’s done well to get the group to bounce back.

        I generally wouldn’t see the upside in giving him the boot unless we had a true world class experienced test coach to replace him with but I just don’t think those characters would come to us or we could afford them (I’m thinking a Jones/Gatland type elite coach).

        I didn’t think Cotter should have gone and I don’t think Townshend should now. Even Scott Robertson would be a massive risk – test rugby is an unforgiving environment and Scotland are not blessed with resources. Hopefully Townshend will learn from his mistakes and this group takes one of its few remaining shot at the 6N.

  24. I really hope it all comes together for GT, he can’t quite seems to nail it.
    I know there are stats and stats and more stats available but it / I “felt” better under Cotter.

    However if you are watching Gregor, here’s my team to travel to Twickenham –

    Hogg, Maitland, Taylor, VDW, VDM, Russell, Price
    G.Graham, Crosbie, Ritchie, J.Gray, Cummings, Fagerson, Brown (c), Sutherland
    Reps – Jones, D.Graham, SHC, Watson, Skinner, Nel, Turner, Kebble

  25. Jeez if we could get near a Scott Robertson that would be a no brainer. I’d take either a Cockerill or MacFarland at this stage.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion