Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 136 – Crispy Rugby Facts


On this week’s podcast Cammy and Iain look back at Scotland’s loss to Ireland and overall performance in the Autumn Nations Cup. We also talk to Andrew Cotter about the challenges of commentating during a pandemic and his new book Olive, Mabel & Me which is out now.

We also discuss the legal action being brought against Unions around the world by ex-players who are suffering from long term debilitating brain injuries and claim this is linked to their treatment whilst playing the sport.

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About The Podcast

The Scottish Rugby Podcast brings you the best in informal chat and discussion about Scottish Rugby. Each week during the season we put out a 40 minute podcast suitable for all listeners, covering all the latest news and key analysis of the big matches. 

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If you would prefer an ad free version of the podcast as well as a weekly bonus episode taking a deeper – and some times swearier – dive into the main talking points you can sign up to our Patreon from just £3 a month. This also gets you access to our super secret social media group where you can chat to other fans of the podcast and rugby in Scotland.

Scottish Rugby Podcast

34 Responses

  1. Eddie O’Sullivan hit the nail on the head when he described the Scotland coaches as Dilusional !
    Townsend has to go!

    1. To be honest I think it is many of the fans who are deluded.

      I’m sure Scotland coaches know exactly where we are in the pecking order and what our shortcomings are but they have to talk a good game to the media and have to keep a positive mental attitude.

      1. FF: Scotland has the players , look how many are not just making up the numbers but performing in premiership and pro 14 sides. We have quite a few home based players who could be snapped up when their contracts expire. You need to ask the question , could we up our game a bit more, I think we could ! Will we win the 6N , no, unrealistic. Should we try and be the best celtic side in the 6N in the next term with Toony, yes I think that is a reasonable stretch goal for us.

      2. You stated “best Celtic side”
        though so theoretically you are OK with 2 wins and a 5th place finish? That could happen..

        Why does beating Wales and Ireland mean more than beating France (ranked higher than Ireland) and Wales?

      3. I never said that , why resort to theory and avoid the facts. I never said that either.The French are not in our Celtic League. It begs the question why would you think beating France with whom we have a better track record shows greater improvement than beating the sides we have a poor record against during Toony’s tenure?

      4. I disagree with that. I disagree entirely and have no idea where you trumped that from. The one thing the Scottish Coaches are not doing is keeping a positive mental attitude.

        Finn Russell finally spoke about the spat he was clear the enviorment is toxic.

        ‘The Racing 92 playmaker expressed confidence on his return to Scotland set up but wants a better environment.’

        Of Townsend , he said “Eight years I’ve had him as a coach, and I don’t really know him at all. We’ve not got a personal relationship.”

        A matter of public record. These quotes are from Talking Rugby Union. I suggest you read it.

    2. Hogg also doesn’t help the situation, he is a reporters dream and can’t help getting carried away and writes the headlines for them with his soundbites

      1. @BassRock, the number competing in Pro14 and in Europe isn’t as many as those from England, Ireland and France who we most compete against at International Level

        Pro 14 Final – Leinster v Ulster, guess where those players mostly come from

        Semi, yes, Edinburgh in one Semi – Munster the other- so 3 of 4 were Irish sides at the top level 3 OF 4.

        European Final – Racing v Exeter, yes we had 5 players compete in that game – how many did France and England have? many of those players don’t even get in the England and France sides which just shows their depth

        Europe Semi Final – the sides who went out were Saracens and Toulouse yes Maitland and Taylor play for Sarcens but both those sides are packed with France and England players.

        You are down to the group stages before finding one Scottish team

        The Lions of the past few tours has been packed with the core of the Wales team

        The teams of other nations, Italy aside have been playing a lot bigger games than Scotland more recently.

        We still cling to what Glasgow achieved 5 years ago as sign good things are on the way. In that time Irish and Welsh sides have won the Pro 14, an Irish side has won the Champions Cup, an Irish side has been in Champions Cup Semi Finals. A Welsh side has went to the Semi of the Champions Cup, A Welsh side has won the Challenge Cup. France have won the Under 20 Championship, twice, French sides have been in the Champions Cup Final and Semi Finals.

      2. Scottish players will depart for sides like Racing, Exeter as they have – they also go to sides like Worcester, Leicester who aren’t great and they in part depart because they are cheap v players of other Unions and costly for Scotland to retain long term in the way Ireland can with their players

        Welsh players like Williams (Saracens did sign him), Tipuric, AWJ, Navidi, JD

        Irish players like Murray, Sexton, Ringrose, Healey, Furlong, Ryan, Stander..

        They would walk into top European sides if these sides could get them out of their Irish and Welsh Unions as easy as sides can pick Scotland players out of the SRU.

        While playing in the Premiership is admirable, performing for a Worcester or Gloucester isn’t necessarily making someone a better player than even those retained in the Scarlets or Ospreys sides – a lot of these top Welsh players play for them out of convenience, cash and rest.

        I think we can all accept for instance London Irish would take Tipuric over Blair Cowan, or Worcester would take Sexton over Weir in a heartbeat…

      3. Ting: sort of nonsense as we have less players than every other nation.

        You, I, all the other commenters and readers know the only ones that go to bottom 6 are ones that never got made a better counter offer. But we could both name those who are likely to be made a good offer to entice them away ,so what is your point !

        Incidentally Gloucester were 3rd in 2018/19 and will be top 6 very soon IMO.What is more it is the heartland for Hartpury College which is producing many international players, some of whom are scottish qualified.

        Thank you for the effort.

      4. THAT IS THE POINT.. we have less good players than others, so competing with them will be a challenge.

        I am not denying Russell, Hogg and Gray are World Class/top level they clearly are, but once you dip past that in England you could make a case that any Welsh/Irish player would be signed ahead of the Scottish players if sides in England could afford those players.

        Weir plays in England, you really think Worcester wouldn’t rather have Sexton?

        Cowan plays in England, you really don’t think London Irish would rather have Tipuric

        Harris plays in England, you really don’t think Gloucester would rather have Ringrose…

        Come on now eh… playing in the Premiership doesn’t make these players better than their contemporaries at International level.

        It is widely accepted it is easier to take players from Scotland than Ireland or Wales.

        Even the likes of Price and Fagerson will depart but if given the choice the sides who offer deals would most likely have wanted or wished for the likes of Murray and Furlong before them if they could get them out of Ireland, that is the bar at the top.

        Gloucester were third in 2018/19 – Leinster made the European Final that year. THAT is closer to the step, between club and International Europe, not the Premiership.

        Playing in the Premiership while a great career, its not enough to make a player live up to being an International player.

        I always find the best points have substance to them and something behind it rather than bland throw away tropes that are easily dismissed…

      5. TING: That took a long time to counter a snappy , reasonable and positive comment. I usually come in here to learn from educated fans.

        It is stating the obvious but for years we populated the scottish XV from Glasgow , more recently the balance has been Edinburgh biased however it is noticable the current first team is not entirely based in Scotland, in fact I can count around 30% of the starting XV are not home based.

        What is more Exeter played 3 out of 4 of its Scottish players in the European final. That is not Worcester or London Irish and it is obvious the players in those less favoured sides are past their sell by dates or have no alignment with the home based pro sides.

        I see no point in denying that the scots are getting noticed and raising our standards. If you do not agree can you make your point again in a few lines please ?

      6. 6 Nations

        When Scotland played England

        They started with 5 Champions Cup winners

        9 Lions in their 23

        When Scotland played Ireland

        They started with 7 Champions Cup Winners – 10 in their 23 – 7 Lions in their squad

        Wales 7 Lions

        Us – well we had Hogg he plays for the Lions and Gray and Skinner have won a Champions Cup. You see the difference see how much more depth and quality other teams have…

        You see how deluded it sounds when people think Scotland have the god given right to 4 or 5 wins in a 6’s silly talk

        We undeniably have a clutch of good players the Nations we play in the 6 Nations have more, they achieve more..and why wouldn’t they look at their depth and structure – of course Ireland beat Scotland look at Leinster and Munster as structures v Glasgow and Edinburgh look at their recruitment and retention v Scottish sides. AND then add Ulster and Connacht on that – the anger gun many have is pointlessly aimed at the coach of the National team it’s so much deeper – sack Townsend – Ireland are still better at the Rugby than Scotland over a long long time out-with a handful of results

        Anyone watching Rugby for 12 months and not 2 can apply a level of sense when talking about this..

      7. Ting: I do hope you are not writing to me ? Who said they expected 4 or 5 wins in a Six Nations ? If you are responding to my post, please have the courtesy to respond specifically to what was written. However you may not be writing to me ? just using my post to voice a response to a question I never asked, I think we have all got the picture here.

      8. “Should we try and be the best celtic side in the 6N in the next term with Toony, yes I think that is a reasonable stretch goal for us”

        Who said this…

        Recent history shows it takes what to achieve that….

        Scotland have won 3 games two out of 3 6 Nations in recent years so in reality you are saying it will take 4/5 wins to achieve what you expect.

      9. Ting your argument holds some weight but not alot. Lets take the Welsh side under Gatland for the past 10 years, only 4 club teams, routinely beating England/France & Ireland despite having poor club teams with few champions cup winners. so how did they overcome this? Good player management, Good coaching and admittedly that felt like a golden generation of players.

        We have our golden generation of players, that’s not going to get any better. We have our players well managed under SRU… so what are we lacking? Oh yes… a good coach.

      10. Ting: You have put your interpretation on my comment and maligned your interpretation, not what I said, that is rather naughty !

        You only need to beat 2 teams not 4 or 5. That was your interpretation (not mine). Those teams are the Celtic teams Wales and Ireland.

        That a stretch goal for Toony ? because he has never beaten Wales and Ireland in the same year. It is not unrealistic , the great rugby god Vern Cotter did it at Murrayfield in 2017. (He did not beat 4 or 5 teams that year either).

        That is ‘recent history’ Surely even you, would agree that would be an improvement for ToonY. Just do it once and he has equalled Cotter , twice he is consistent. We have beaten Wales at Murrayfield in 2007 and 2017 and Ireland in 2013 and 2017.

        From what I have seen this far , that will not be an easy goal for Toony, but it is not unrealistic or delusional.

      11. @Neil take a look at what Gatlands Wales sides actually had under their belt when winning Grand Slams a few years ago v this Scotland team and then I’ll take your point serious

        You list Lions Caps, European Champions, Pro 14 winners, Challenge Cup winners, time spent abroad in that squad than you come back to me. A golden generation with actual gold – where is the winning at club level with this self proclaimed “golden generation” of Scottish players, where are you getting this from? What’s behind that? A Pro12 win 5 years ago? Wales have been there and completed that since mate AND a challenge cup..

        No one who watches Rugby often thinks Scotland has better depth than Wales, they have 4 teams, these things matter.

      12. Neil : Nice one , absolutely complement’s my point.

        In 2017 Cotter beat Wales and Ireland at Murrayfield, that was the year that Scarlets beat Munster in the PRO 14 Final. Domestically both were performing yet we beat them in the International. I would give that ‘Good player management, Good coaching’ tribute to Cotter. I suspect you are with me on that.

      13. Can you post the tables for that year and this year BassRock mate and explain why one matters more than the other.

      14. I enjoy the comments about our depth and so on and about how this is a golden generation. Admittedly our backs are much improved but around 2008/09 we could put out this pack:

        Al Dickinson
        Ross Ford
        Euan Murray
        Jim Hamilton
        Nathan Hines
        Jason White
        Ross Rennie
        Simon Taylor

        If your nay a fan of Big Jim move White to the second row and pick your favourite killer B.

        Majority of that 8 would walk into our first XV now. It’s all well and good having depth but we’ve few top, top class operators in the pack.

  2. Lord help us , they have given Townsend a new 2 year contract.
    Hogg and the rest of the talented players can forget about achieving greatness.
    Townsend you should be ashamed of yourself, you do not have what it takes .
    Take the money and run for the hills.
    RIP SRU.

    1. Presumably they consulted their sponsors before renewing. As long as they get hospitality in home games they will be ok.

  3. Was just thinking for a captaincy option: Chris Harris?

    Needs to be a definite starter (tick)
    Play the way Toony wants the game to be played (big tick)
    Leads defensively by example (similar to a Brad Barritt type captain) (Tick)
    Reasonably experienced and highest win % of any Scotland player over 20 caps (tick)
    Good discipline/temperament in the high pressure games (Big Tick)

    So besides some peoples preconceptions of him, why not? He is a mainstay in that team until the WC.

  4. I totally agree with Andrew Cotter. Benjamin Kayser is by far the best pundit I have ever heard. All the more brilliant given he is translating from French to English. I would like to hear more from him.

      1. Can you explain please ? I must have missed that microsecond. I am sure Andrew Cotter will be interested as well ! On second thoughts , he will have no interest whatsoever, he is a man with a life.

      2. I was talking about Benjamin Keyser. In the Scotland game within about 2minutes he was banging on about France’s dominance and then seemed totally mystified when Scotland were then worth every bit of their level position at half time. It was the worst example of a pundit describing what they expected to see rather than what was actually happening in front of them.

        Shame the second half try took the game away from us, it would have been great to have seen how Keyser would have wrapped his head around another French loss at Murrayfield. Alas it wasn’t to be.

      3. What is so cringe worthy about that ! In the end French dominance won the game.We could not sustain it, so he was right, it was not a french man who was cringing, rather it is petted scottish ears in denial. I do not agree with you, After the match he was excellent pointing out the pro’s , con’s of both sides and the incidents that turned the game. You know what, the best I have heard. Do you know what else as well, he came across as a man who has been there, done it, which is way different to believing our own press on social media.

  5. I was in a Paris supermarket last year, could not get past this guy in the aisle. Turned out to be Sean Edwards, I took to ask him what Scottish player would best break his defence. Rattled of all the names
    Including Finn, no response nothing. Embarrassed, despondent I walked away then realised I had forgotten someone. Scampered back and said Geordie Horn, his eyes snapped wide open and he started trembling.I ducked down a bit and said it again but more growlie Geordie Horn, well remember Sid in toy story?……..just saying.

  6. Ting: The Tables are in the public domain. Find them yourself mate. You seem to be a man with too much time on his hands.

  7. Been thinking about our weaknesses in certain positions.

    As I’ve seen here before I think Watson is ideal at hooker. Has the frame so teach him to throw.

    Kinghorn can go in at 8, he’s got the frame to add another stone and get up to 113+kg and will give us another dimension and a line out option.

    And once again get Gilchrist to pack on a stone and ditch the scrumcap then he can be our Willemse and enforcer. Cummings too could do with bulking his arms.

  8. I am with the lets show progression by doing what Townsend has never done comments. Lets beat Ireland and Wales at home.

    For all the noise about how much better Townsend is than Cotter , he has never done one thing, beaten Wales and Ireland at home, in the same season. In fact he has never beaten them at home, either one of them.

    Vern Cotter did it and he was shown the door. All we are expecting of Townsend now, is to equal his predecessor. Any aspirations we had of bettering him have gone long ago. Just level with Cotter.

    Oh and for all those who are saying a world class coach is not available, I agree . We had one, sent him packing, no world class coach is going to sign up with us, at any price.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion