Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Scotland 2021 Six Nations Squad Announcement

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Gregor Townsend pulled a few rabbits out of hats – let’s not mention the World Cup 2015 training camp incident again, Richie Gray’s back in the squad – as he announced his 35-man squad for the 2021 Six Nations, with a 20-15 split forwards to backs split.

Four uncapped players make the squad: hookers David Cherry and Ewan Ashman are drafted in with both Stuart McInally and Fraser Brown suffering from neck injuries; Gloucester lock Alex Craig; and perhaps most intriguingly and excitingly; Bath’s Cameron Redpath, who had previously been called up by England in 2018 only to suffer a knee injury.

The son of former Scotland scrum-half Bryan Redpath, the Bath centre has been in fine form this season and has been selected ahead of the likes of Sam Johnson and Rory Hutchinson as a candidate for the inside centre position.

Redpath will face competition from new Edinburgh capture James Lang, and Duncan Taylor, who will be in somewhat of a race against time to face England on 6th February seeing as he failed a head injury assessment playing for Saracens at Ealing on 16th January.

Huw Jones is listed as a centre but will most likely provide bench cover in a number of positions, with Chris Harris the current incumbent at 13.

Byron McGuigan returns among the outside backs, joined by the familiar Edinburgh Rugby faces of Darcy Graham, Blair Kinghorn, and Duhan van der Merwe; Sean Maitland; and captain Stuart Hogg.

Resources are a bit bare at half-back: Ali Price and Scott Steele are the only recognised scrum-halves with Finn Russell and Jaco van der Walt the only two stand-offs.

Grant Stewart returns to provide a fourth hooker option, with George Turner likeliest to fill the Rambo-Brown gap as starting hooker, Allan Dell comes in in place of Jamie Bhatti, and “Beard To Be Feared: Mark 2” Gary Graham rewarded for his form with Newcastle, providing a new option for the troublesome no:8 jersey.

Richie Gray’s fleeting but impressive performances for Glasgow see him earn a recall, but there’s no room for Sam Skinner (injured?), or Magnus Bradbury in the back-row.

Backs: Darcy Graham, Chris Harris, Stuart Hogg (Captain),
Huw Jones, Blair Kinghorn, James Lang Sean Maitland,
Byron McGuigan, Ali Price, Cameron Redpath*, Finn Russell,
Scott Steele, Duncan Taylor, Jaco van der Walt,
Duhan van der Merwe

Forwards: Ewan Ashman*, Simon Berghan, David Cherry*,
Alex Craig*, Scott Cummings, Allan Dell, Matt Fagerson,
Zander Fagerson, Gary Graham, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Oli Kebble, Willem Nel, Jamie Ritchie, Grant Stewart, Rory Sutherland, Blade Thomson, George Turner, Hamish Watson

*denotes uncapped player

150 Responses

  1. Interesting squad. Obviously headlines will go to Redpath opting for the light side and rejecting the dark side, but plenty of interest – return of Graham (who will hopefully start against England), inclusion of Ewan Ashman and Alex Craig, return of Gray the elder, and dobie and Maclean training with squad.

    Shame Hutchison has missed out but guess he’s v short of rugby and with Harris nailed on its him or Jones. SHC must be gutted he’s lost out to steele.

    I’m slightly surprised we have only two FHs and 2 SHs in full squad but I guess Weir and SHC know the squad and could step in if injuries happen during the tournament.

    All round a strong squad.

  2. Redpath is a very exciting addition, he’s been incredible for Bath this season. I wonder what made him change from England? Cash/his dad/not picked in the England squad so thought he’d go elsewhere? Either way I think he’ll link brilliantly with Finn and we’ll see some creativity in our backs again.

    Good to see Gary Graham back too, him at 8 with Fagerson on the bench would be strong.

    As with every year I’m feeling quietly optimistic…wonder how long it’ll take for that to disappear!

  3. I can see Redpath coming straight in 12 in lieu of the injured Johnson. It would be interesting to understand why Eddie Jones has let him slip through his grasp. His highlights reel makes him look as good an attacker as Huw Jones at his best. He’s played 10,12 and 13 for Bath recently. Unfortunately his highlights dont show him making any robust tackles or hunting turnovers but if his defense is good enough then stick him in. Fancy seeing a back line of Price, Russell, Redpath, Jones, Maitland, vd Merwe and Hogg in full flow.

  4. Hutchinson is in that place some players get where people will call for them to play without taking note of what they are doing on the Rugby park. He hasn’t played like someone who should be in an International squad this season. He is living a hell of a reputation based on very little to some who support the National team.

    Redpath is a fantastic surprise, thought he would be lost.

    1. Well I disagree with you.Hutchinson alongside Fraser Dingwall has been very exciting this season. I can understand why some are commenting! He is playing very well IMO. I have no problem with an alternative opinion but why do you say the commenters are not observing how the players are playing ‘on the rugby park’ ?

      Is that because they have an alternative opinion to you ? Why dismiss them in such a condescending manner . That is not very nice IMO.

      1. I can only assume you aren’t a Northampton fan, or have watched them often, it is pretty widely accepted among their support he isn’t actually playing well.

  5. Delighted to see redpath and Graham in this squad. I thought redpath had been lost. Agree he could come straight in at 12 but there is a hell of a lot of flexibility within this set of backs ample scope for some loony toons.

  6. I think for Redpath, the way Zach Mercer’s career has gone with only what a handful of England caps (despite the choice around which country to opt for), then sort of forgotten about and now maybe off to France after this season has been a warning sign about the limited opportunities long-term of choosing England will present. Also the selection of Ollie Lawrence who’s also 21/22 if I recall correctly ahead of him in the centre for England probably further made him question the decision. Certainty with our relatively shallow player pool there’s a near certainty of a long international career ahead of him. Either way great news.

    1. Unless hearing it straight from Redpath nobody knows what his thinking was and is.
      A player of real potential has obviously said he is happy to play for and represent Scotland… and that is all that matters really.
      Considering both Johnson and Hutchinson were omitted from the
      squad its says he is very highly rated and in with a real chance of playing.
      Fingers crossed he shows his potential as the 12 hasn’t been nailed by anyone. Id play him alongside Taylor… Taylor is fit and a class player with bags of experience.

    2. Agree, pure speculation …but the impact of team mates such as Ruaridh McConnochie and Zach Mercer who both were courted by England away from Scotland and have 2 caps before being swiftly discarded cannot be underestimated… really excited to have Cam on board and had hoped he would go to Glasgow as fly half to really ignite things… maybe in 2 years..

      1. Bath or Glasgow , If I had the choice , it would be Bath. Lots of reasons.I think Glasgow is a bit disjointed right now and it will take more than him to build it up.

  7. Great news about Cam Redpath. I’m sure his dad’s delighted!

    It would have been really disappointing to see the son of a Scotland captain turning out for England. He’s a player in a position that we really need as well, and could turn out to be a key player for us for many years to come.

    It seems like he’s an important player for Bath, but I wonder if a move to Glasgow might be on the cards as well?

    1. He’s just moved to Bath I think and Glasgow have just resigned Johnson.

      Surely they wouldn’t want two Scotland 12s.

      1. He doesn’t need to move to Glasgow.. and not sure why he would.
        He’s a 1st team starter …probably earning more…and Bath is a much nicer place to live.

  8. My team for England:


    I don’t think this is the game to blood many youngsters, Cherry, Steele and Van Der Valt are all very fresh as it is.

    Kebble ahead of Sutherland due to combinations.

    1. 1. Rory Sutherland, 2. George Turner, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Richie Gray, 5. Jonny Gray, 6. Jamie Ritchie, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Gary Graham, 9. Ali Price, 10. Finn Russell, 11. Duhan Van Der Merwe, 12. Duncan Taylor, 13. Huw Jones, 14. Sean Maitland, 15. Stuart Hogg

      16. Dave Cherry, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Willem Nel, 19. Scott Cummings, 20. Matt Fagerson, 21. Scott Steele, 22. Cameron Redpath, 23. Chris Harris

      I’m not sure why the 2 missing Exeter men aren’t options. I really wanted to get Darcy in the 23, but couldn’t do it.

      1. That’s a great squad. I’d have that any day. Though Richie over
        Cummings is a tight one. With Cummings off the bench would be a great option.Skinner is injured currently. SHK – what has his recent form been like- anyone?

      2. 100% agree . Good team from that squad.
        R Gray in to secure ball as well as give us other options in the lineout. Jones to keep England honest and not to think our threat is just with Hogg / Russell.
        If Harris is to be involved then off the bench as cover / shore things up.
        Get our best players on the pitch for once.

      3. Kebble for Sutherland and this is spot on. Maybe squeezing Darcy onto the bench. Ritchie should play for lineout alone – Cummings maybe better all round but tough – and Jonny is undroppable.

        But this is GT, never going to happen in a month of Sundays.

  9. Do many folk think Redpath may even start. I imagine he will. The centre partnership and 8 slot are key here.

    1. He might start…but its more likely he comes off the bench since he can play 10,12,13.

      Likely Taylor /Harris to start.

      No way Cummings should be dropped …he has looked our best 2nd row.
      R Gray a good bench option.

      G Graham definitely should be given a shot at 8. Fagerson didn’t do anything much with his chances…and Graham has been in very good form playing 8.
      I won’t ever see Fagerson as an 8…he just isnt that type of player… he should be groomed as a 7.

      1. I would seriously recommend watching this game if you have any doubts at all about Fagerson as an 8.

        That game was massive for Glasgow, it was needed to secure a home Semi to than make a home Final in Glasgow. A run of games played at International intensity against sides packed with International players.

        Glasgow went a month of massive games, and Fagerson at 8 was a stand out in all of them.

        In the game mentioned he was monstrous against a backrow of Murphy, O’Brien and Doris which is a hell of a back row.

        He is 22 YEARS OLD… he is a freak of an athlete and 8 for that age who will take a bit of time to fully adapt to the top level but has shown more than a few signs he will do that

      2. Fagerson is ideal for the bench as he can play across the backrow comfortably.

        Gordon is also immense at 7, his tackle and turnover stats are very impressive.

      3. Ting: You have forgotten Skinner , Darcy , Gilchrist, Toolis, Jones,Berghan, Nell all in and out, all tactics, club combinations at times. I still disagree with you and no amount of words will change my mind. I will leave the last word for you.

      4. @teamdum, it is quite easy to forget a few of those you mentioned to be fair.

        Cummings and Gray started v England, Gray was then injured and missed Italy and France (injury driven selection Gray had a hand injury). It was then back to Gray and Cummings in the Autumn for the Wales, France and Ireland, Cummings played v Georgia (Gray missed it, he had the Premiership final that weekend).

        It is pretty clear that is the lock pairing – (Gray and Cummings) Scotland want to play, it took injury to Gray or him missing for either Toolis or Gilchrist to start last year – settled division in reality

        Sutherland and Fagerson started 7 out of 8 games – Berghan came in when Sutherland missed a game because of injury – settled division really, they are both clearly better than their equals, that doesn’t entirely apply at hooker between Brown and McInallly

        Skinner and Nel didn’t start a game last year…..

        Jones did come in out the side as did Graham, I an mot saying there isn’t rotation, there should be I am saying the side is pretty settled and predictable in 10/11 positions, that doesn’t mirror with your earlier comments about continual and constant rotation across the park and not standard of performance or base line – Sutherland, Fagerson, Grey Cummings, Ritchie, Watson, Price, Russell, Maitland, Harris and Hogg seem to have found a baseline because they play, often, VDM will likely soon fall into that group.

        This site, they show every side, it shows what you are saying here not to be that correct..

    2. Maybe he will, I think Townsend just wants as many players to chose from , but why ? Why ? Why ?

      1. Why wouldn’t a coach want more options to be fair, it is something Ireland, France and England have plenty of, it makes sense for Scotland to try and manufacture the same depth.

        The more competition the better.

      2. Ting: Because he has more permutations than ERNIE and comes up with a winner even less. He moves on to a new trial permutation, has no baseline and drops them again. They are all qualified but not suitably experienced.

      3. The sides selected and evidence doesn’t really marry with that though. A lot of what you have said there is a bit internet echo chamberish rather than something that plays out on the park. There used to be an element of truth in it, but it hasn’t really been backed up with much over the course of the last year of test Rugby where most who have started have been pretty predictable (when fit).

        There is a core group who are nailed on starters really (when fit which is key) (Sutherland, Fagerson, Gray, Cummings, Ritchie, Watson, Price, Russell, Hogg, Maitland, Harris, VDM) that is 12 you can pencil in to most teams quite easily and Hooker tends to be one of McInally or Brown, you are talking a group of 14 who are there more often than not, a number of pretty settled combinations.

        There is only a few areas that tend to rotate, Hooker (albeit typically between 2), 8 (which has been a historic issue) and center, and even then it is pretty minimal between a small clutch of players.

        The majority of shock additions i.e Cowan, McGuigan rarely feature in starting line ups, the likes of Kinghorn, Horne (G), Steele, Van Der Walt etc are needed for a form the aforementioned depth to the first 15.

        The initial squads often throw up shocks, surprises…but by the time a test comes around it typically tends to be injury that is the cause of changes, in Rugby, injuries happen a lot…but the base squad is more often than not pretty predictable bar a few aesthetic changes on the bench to account for weather, the tactical game likely to happen.

      4. Ting: So what is Scotland’s test side ? Injury’s apart? If your theory/ opinion is right , that should not be a hard question ?

      5. It’s not that complicated..look at the games of the last year, as I’ve mentioned

        Sutherland, Brown (McInallay), Fagerson, Gray, Cummings,
        Ritchie,Watson, Price, Russell(when available),Maitland and Hogg tend to pick themselves, VDM and Harris are now close to that group as well, that’s a strong “core” of a starting side – the rest has seen a rotation based on fitness i.e Sam Johnson when playing often and fit is clearly liked, he’s had a horrible season

        There is a consistency in selection just look at teams picked take 3 minutes to look at who played in games of meaning in the last year you see a lot of names often, people over play the idea of “tombola”and ignore player fitness…as I said 2,8 and centre is about the limit of rotation over the last year, you can pencil in a lot of the starting 15, it’s minor tactical changes and injury at best rather than wholesale changes every selection

  10. No joy here,not until Townsend takes his foot off his scrumhalf’s neck and plays the offload game,the tackle laws dictate it and would suit.

  11. i think team for the england game will be
    Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson, Cummings, J. Gray, Ritchie, Fagerson, Watson, Price, Russell, DVDM, Taylor, Harris, Maitland, Hogg.

    Keeble, Cherry, Nel, Gilchrist, Graham, Steele, JVDW, Jones.

  12. I’d given up on Redpath, an NZ style 2nd 5/8, an excellent piece of business by GT, I think if Harris is @ 13 we need a ball player @ 12. I was leaning toward JVDW @ 12 but…..
    Graham & R.Gray in to disrupt the English.

    15.Hogg, 14Maitland, 13.Harris (id have Jones but..), 12.Redpath, 11.VDM, 10.Russell, 9.Price
    8.Graham, 7.Watson, 6.Ritchie, 5.Gray, 4.Gray, 3.Fagerson, 2.Turner, 1.Keeble
    Jones, VDW, Steele, Fagerson, Cummings, Nel, Cherry, Sutherland.

  13. Harris has worked hard at club level, has shown strength defensively at times at international level, but does he do enough to break the gain line and offer the back 3 space to attack. Or has he not been given enough quality ball to show his abilities.

    1. He needs to be played with a distributing 12 to be at his most effective. Really hope Redpath fulfills this

  14. I think the second row isnt nailed down yet. The emotional side of me would like to see the the two Gray boys arm in arm against the English. Gray senior adds something to the lineout which has been a bit shaky at international level recently. Having said that Cummings has looked undroppable from Scotland or Glasgow recently. But then he’s probably had more starts in the last few months than anyone in the squad. Then it we want units for the lineouts is it Ritchie Gray and Cummings with Turner throwing, leaving Jonny on the bench. I’d be amazed if Toony selects the Glasgow tight 5 to start against England. Anyway still a couple of weeks training for Ritchie to pick up a niggle and the Toony tombola to select Gilchrist from nowhere. At least we have options.

    1. Richie Gray is the man to face England , no question , but I doubt he will get a look in. A guy with all that experience and the potential to inspire a team ! Players would look up to him (dont we all). A very hard choice, but, but, but, but, but.

      I will respect Toony if he makes the decision to play him.

      1. I’d have him on the bench, personally.

        He’s been very good for Glasgow recently, no doubt, but a bit cumbersome in contact and tires easily. Let Gray Jr and Cummings run riot for 60 and then bring on Richie to cause a nuisance in the lineout in the last 20 imo.

  15. On the whole, looks a strong squad. Pleased that G Graham is back in, he seems to have some much needed dog in him. I think Skinner & Johnson injured but a bit surprised SHC isn’t in. Guessing we have enough emergency back up at 10 – Redpath, Lang, Hogg and possibly others – as well as being able to call up Weir if needed. Not sure what Toonie sees in Gilchrist over Toolis; the latter is a much better line out operator and a good scrummaging lock. Midfield will be a difficult choice, as will be bench cover as we now have a load of multi-disciplined backs; Jones, Taylor, Redpath, Lang could all cover centre plus 10 and/or back 3. Just hope with midfield options building up again, the national and domestic coaches don’t stuff up any more careers in that department.
    It’s going to be bloody weird though – no Calcutta Cup crowd and no-one to share screaming at the TV with….

  16. No mention of George Horne, is he injured, lost form or just even further out of favour with Toonie?

    I’ve not really seen much rugby this season so can’t comment on the squad. My only thought is: have the Edinburgh and Glasgow players played enough high level rugby to be ready to step up to the six nations? I have a nagging worry that we’re going to be underprepared on that opening weekend with disastrous consequences. Wouldn’t be the first time for a Townsend squad…

    1. I don’t think he ever did really fall out of favour. As I understand it, he’s out because he’s getting an operation on the injury he picked up in the Scotland camp in the Autumn (which is why he didn’t feature in those games either).

  17. TURNCOAT back in the side , just to wind Neil up. Come on Neil , lets hear it for Graham and Redpath !!! Hand of applause please lets give it up for these awfully nice English jocks.

    1. You bore me troll (Stu2 or teamcam is my guess) go back to copying my name, posting false stuff and the usual nonsense lol.

      Im actually reasonably happy Graham is in the squad, i lost hope for being proud in who represents the Scotland team after the 2019 WC.

      1. OK Dobie, I’ll bite, Gary Graham was born in Scotland and qualified for England through residency.

        Cam Redpath was born in France, and qualified for England through residency.

        Not exactly English jocks, when their only crime is living and working there.

  18. I would like to see Huw Jones given a run on the wing. The other wing options haven’t had as much game time recently and it allows us to fit as many of our X factor players on the pitch without giving up Harris and his defence. A season at fullback will have allowed him enough experience to combat high balls etc and he’d have some freedom to attack from 14 if he gets enough ball

    1. Why dont we give Hogg a run on the wing ? Think of the benefits. Good for him as well as the current pundits favourite for Lions Full back is Williams.

  19. Exciting squad. Definitely think Cummings should start. Quite like Thistle Warrior’s suggestion of Johnny at flanker, his tackling is up to it. Redpath (Superman junior) and Jones to start imo, I can see magic happening with these guys playing off Russell. Darcy and Duhan on the wings. This could be a very exciting team. Worry a bit about Price though, he’s a bit predictable these days, maybe Russell can inspire some flair. Can Jvdw play at scrum half?

  20. Just a though but wonder if there may be a 6/2 bench split. Harris/Jones utility?
    May need the extra heft to keep Maro quieter over 80? Is SHC injured?
    Maitland needs to start rather than Darcy I feel.

    1. I had the same thought.
      Given our luck with injuries though it virtually guarantees 3 of our backs going off in the 1st 20 minutes.

      We seem to have ended up with a scrum half on the wing more often than any other team in the last 10 years or so.

  21. Why was my comment deleted, i thought the suggestion of Jonny Gray at 6 was feasible? What is he lacking in that role?

    1. Jonnny at 6? So you’re going to drop one of Ritchie or Watson? I’ll have one of whatever you’re on!

  22. Probable team to face England:

    Hogg; Maitland, Harris, Lang, Kinghorn; Russell, Price
    Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson; Cummings, J Gray; Ritchie, Watson; M Fagerson
    (Cherry, Kebble, Berghan, Gilchrist, G Graham, Steele, Redpath, van de Merwe)

    My team to face England:

    Hogg; Graham, Jones, Redpath, van der Merwe; Russell, Price
    Sutherland, Turner, Z Fagerson; Cummings, J Gray; Ritchie, Watson; G Graham
    (Cherry, Kebble, Nel, R Gray, M Fagerson, Steele, Lang, Maitland)

  23. Kebble, Turner, Fagerson [all Glasgow]
    Gray, Gray [for lineout]
    Ritchie, Watson [picks itself]
    Graham [form]
    Price, Russell, VDM [because Cats rave]
    Taylor, Jones [balance, Redpath to come on]
    Maitland, Hogg [class]

    Cherry, Sutherland, Nel, Cummings
    Redpath, Darcy, Steele
    [one of Fagerson/VDW/Lang/Kinghorn/Harris]

    Of course GT will shoehorn in Harris to detriment of the game (and each other better centre). Could stomach that with Redpath at 12, but they’d be killed by England – Taylor has to play.

    There are some incredibly versatile players – Jones, Hogg, Taylor, Kinghorn, Redpath

    1. I think anyone still running Harris down at this point with the weight of performances he now has behind him is just showing a very, very poor grasp of the game.

      1. Hmm he has a volume of performances behind him, not a weight of performances. Remind me which specifically to rewatch?

        Not a standout performance through an entire World Cup or any subsequent game, and multiple dropped balls and cul-de-sacs.

        Not running him down particularly, rather GT’s refusal to look beyond him to the point of folly.

        He’s not useless of course but reality is performances and stats show an average Premiership player at average Premiership clubs, who has had no success individually or as part of a team at club or international level. As against alternatives (who would be better suited for the style of rugby developed by Cotter and initially GT) with standout individual or team success.

        Harris does limit the options and threat of the backline, is not quick or tricky or a great passer, especially if played with a limited style 10 and 12. Even Finn is at his best with a Vakatawa or Jones making runs outside him to hit or as decoy.

        As far as I can see he doesn’t do anything special in defence – doesn’t really bear scrutiny – he’s no Dunbar or Taylor for example, and really each player should be able to work in the defensive system as a given.

        Are you someone who also still thinks Scotland is on an upward curve under GT? Or that Jones needs to work on his tackling? Enjoyed that cracking Wales game or how about 14-man France?

      2. One particular strength of FR, best in the world, is his short kicking game. One particular feature of playing Harris alongside a Johnson or Taylor is that is essentially nullified.

      3. I think Harris is now performing to an acceptable level, but it has taken 2-3 years and a change of game-plan to revolve around his strengths to make this happen (and potentially forced exclusion of other outside centres?)

        Scott Steele is the next player Townsend will be moulding into the new Chris Harris, just watch.

        Pros of what he is doing: Raises our consistency against lower tier 2 nations, i am always confident of beating Italy, Fiji, Wales now.

        Cons: We have no attacking threat to compete with the big nations, before we had a chance and this was happening, the narrow Nz loss, beating Australia multiple times, Winning and drawing against England.

        How can we repeat these feats with our dull attack and player selection Gregor has brought in? This is a genuine question and i hope he can answer it over the next 3 years.

        Does Anyone here think James Lang and Chris Harris is a scary attacking threat, do they have the skillset to open up space and unleash our back-three? Are they really defensively good enough against the very best nations?

      4. @Neil – who played 12/13 v Wales, when did Scotland last beat them away before that? Wales are in reality a “very best nation”? But for a messed up line-out Wales created zip in that game.. thus far results and performance don’t mirror your theory

      5. Dearest Scrummo: I am still running Chris Harris down. Why you ask ? Because all the bluster and ‘pish’ talked in here, can , amazingly , be re rationalised.

        Chris Harris 23 matches and 3 tries.
        Huw Jones 26 matches and 10 tries.

        Source : ESPN

        I am not going to dig it out but Harris has played a lot of matches against lower tier sides and I recall one of his tries was a simple off load and all he needed to do was catch it and lumber over. The kind of try even a glory starved front five forward would be embarrassed to notch on his headboard.

      6. Scrummo : No that is Ting you are talking about , not me. Steady on , Nothing wrong with the real Neil. Like me he is no fan of the happy couple.

        I see you did not deny the facts . You can interpret them how you like, not that ‘Pish’ is much of an assessment, the thing about data is , you cannot get away from it, or rub it out and rescore..

        But , IMO, Harris is an average player and I wont be paying to watch an average club player.

        He will not be Gatland’s choice either, I suspect he sees through it all.

      7. What does Harris do exactly in your eyes Scrummo that makes him so good?
        Haven’t seen him excel for Scotland once. He tackles well but this is a minimum standard in international rugby. Haven’t seen him make line breaks, put people in space, outstrip a defence, score tries of his own making let alone turn a game. He is just about quite good in an underachieving Gloucester side – and I’ve seen enough of them to know. He is just about average for Scotland when we have so many better options.He is however GT’s darling.
        Talk of him as a Lion really does display a very poor grasp of the game and is beyond pish. Not Science is on the money and then some.

      8. Im surprised Hoggy has not kicked up a fuss about Toonys Goldenboy taking the limelight away from himself yet, guess he was to busy focussing on beating Russell into submission last year and have Jones excluded the year before that.

        All eyes must be Captain Hogg.

      9. Tingcam – 100% is not science 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 – and Neil – all the names to make himself feel credible 😂😂😂😂😂

    2. Yeah, from the teenager who thinks they’ll throw in Redpath to start at 12 on his debut at 21 away at Twickenham.

      1. Aye because bringing him on at 21 is so much different 😂😂😂😂

        Start Kebble 😂😂😂😂

        14 man France 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      2. I’m afraid Tam is right in this case. Youre talking pish.

        There is a reason Townsend picks Harris. There is a reason Premiership watchers rate Harris as a Lions bolter based on his Gloucester form. There is a reason Jones has had to move to playing fullback for Glasgow.

      3. Harris for the Lions. Jeez what universe have we slipped into. From someone who does watch Premiership week in week out, the only players from the back line that should currently be in contention are Hogg, SHC and Redpath. I’m afraid in case you didn’t know Gloucester sit bottom with 5 losses from 6, so interested in the form you are bulls*****g about? Also which Scotland performances are you referring to?

      4. 😂😂 another classic

        Glasgow are rank rotten in the Pro 14 3 wins from 10 this year so on that premise of your own logic how can you suggest playing 7 Glasgow players, this is comedy 😂😂😂😂

      5. 😂😂😂😂

        Who needs bevvy when they can get a buzz on of reading this pish, you’re opinions about Rugby are outrageous 😂😂

  24. Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson, Cummings, Gray (J), Watson, Fagerson, Ritchie, Price, Russell, VDM, Redpath, Taylor, Maitland (assume some work night to be done with appeals there), Hogg.

    Kebble, Turner, Nel, Thomson, Graham, Steele, Harris, Jones.

    1. (This post wasn’t meant as a reply to your comment.)

      This time last year, many were suggesting a Matt Scott-Rory Hutchinson centre pairing, myself included. Now neither of them actually make the squad.

      This time last year, Townsend chose to rotate between Nick Haining and Magnus Bradbury at N°8. Now neither of them actually make the squad.

      In the autumn, Ben Toolis was essential to our lineout. Now he’s out and Alex Craig is in, instead, despite the fact that he was dropped from the squad in favour of Lewis Carmichael during last year’s Six Nations.

      So when does the tombola stop turning? Is it when Steele and Lang are first-choice for Scotland?

      1. I get that, we have no first choice XV whatsoever , it is just more and more churn, which is masking the real problems. It will not change. As soon as they find their feet and question, they are dropped IMO.

      2. Scott and Hutchinson have been bang average (at best in some games) this season.

        Toolis is injured and doesn’t cover 6.

        Bradbury has played one decent game recently at 6 whilst Graham is red hot.

        Do you even rugby?

      3. This is why Townsend is better off a club coach – his obsession to try and test every combination possible regardless of if the player is any good or not is so detrimental to building any consistency in the national game.

      4. @Sam Benedict

        Bradbury, Hutchinson and Haining haven’t really been playing well at club level. I can see why Townsend judges them on that rather than what fans on the internet think should happen, the reality is fan view of the internet re who should and be selected is pretty moot.

        Toolis has never been an essential element of our lineout or even a regular starter for us, he has also been having fitness issues and missing games, how fit is he?

        The man issues remain at 8 (I would say the hope will be Fagerson solves that) and center (a lot of that has been injury related), that aside the team pretty much picks it’s self and did so over the last year when players were fit i.e it was Gray and Cummings, Toolis came into a game when Gray was injured rather than being an essential element

        A few of players left out from Edinburgh and Glasgow need to find a consistent run of form and fitness at that level, they have had a weird season for one reason or another.

      5. Agree with various comments. Just look at Ireland and Wales last few years ….. consistent selection and style of play! They knew each other and play style inside out. Not …. Hello, so you are my inside centre for this game. Nice to meet you. What is your name ……….

  25. Sutherland – Ashman – Fagerson
    Cummings – J.Gray
    Ritchie – Graham – Watson
    Price – Russell
    Redpath – Harris
    Graham – Hogg – Maitland

    Turner – Kebble – Berghan – R.Gray – Fagerson – Dobie – Jones – Van Der Merwe

  26. the fun starts when someone else joins the party with the same name as you and starts throwing dodgy shapes –

  27. Today….Bennett, Schoeman, Nel, Watson superb
    Taylor unlucky, he was looking good.
    Willemse – should be on the 1st flight home.
    I like Haining.
    Excellent win, lost nothing in terms of performance with Kinghorns absence.

    1. Would like to see Blain called up to the Scotland squad next year. Very good all-rounder.

      A better option than Mcguigan already in my opinion.

  28. I see Russell was sub’d after 55min. 2nd week sub’d early. Is his form in question at Racing? Anyone know?

    1. Didn’t he come off right at the end last week?
      Haven’t seen today’s game (usually watch highlights on YouTube once they are up), but it sounds like he made 2 pretty impressive passes for tries in the first half so I don\t think we need to worry about his form. Not sure why he came off early, maybe they thought they had the game won or a minor injury? Sounds like Vakatawa might be out for a while though.

      Edit – highlights up on YouTube and the second try is class.

      1. If you search for channel (Le Grand Ovale) on youtube, the guy puts up alot of the Racing games in full – Including last 2 against Toulon and Clermont)

        Finn has looked class to me.

  29. Huw Jones – Sean Maitland – Mark Bennett – Matt Scott – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – George Horne – Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie (C) – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

    Darcy Graham – Cameron Redpath – Ali Price – Gary Graham – Sam Skinner – Simon Berghan – David Cherry – Oli Kebble

    I should really be applying for that head coach role. Toony just aint good enough.

  30. Not sure why no match report for Edinburgh, great win despite Pyrgos abysmal passing and JVDW general fluff, he is not Finns 6 nations back up. Bradbury is going backwards, Crosbie gets stuck in. Haining good attitude when fit. Mish is Mish. Gilchrist was willing. Sau has bottle, Farndale nous. dean was a bit lost. Bennett promising. Front row on top, before Willemse , has to go.

    1. Likewise Rory , no apology needed , the blog does a great job. The natives do get restless from time to time but can plug gaps and join the dots themselves . It wasn’t the best of Games but an away win is not to be underestimated in this stop start season. Yellow cards both ways as I recall.Bennett had a spark of life, I would like to see a bit more of him.

      1. Yeah I’m hoping Mark Bennett can revitalise his international career he’s still only 27 and some talent – although Toony currently doesn’t seem to fancy attack-minded 13s does he?

      2. I would be up for covering an Edinburgh game if you need an extra writer Rory.

        I assume it would be proof-read by another so you would not have to worry about me being silly 🤷🏽‍♂️.

      3. Brilliant idea Neil. I think that would be just great . You seem to get your paws on some nuggets and yes there will be some shallow ill-conceived buffoonery from the usual suspects, but we both know there is a story under the story and I think you are brave enough to write it. Go for it IMO.

      4. “My XV for this Edinburgh game…” ;)

        I jest, go for it Neil! I’ve dabbled in writing some articles for the blog and enjoyed it.

      5. Ha good one Scrummo – i may suggest my XV for the following Edinburgh game at the end of said match report just to stay true to myself.
        I genuinely would like to give it a go.

  31. Rory, does Toonie want an attack minded 13? Look at the back plays, 10 – 12 out the back to Hogg then we go wide. 13 in Toonie land is a crash ball, drag in 2 backs and create space.

    Harris gives you solid defence
    Jones is a class attacker
    Bennett does both and I would have had him in the squad ahead of Lang who has looked bang average so far.

  32. But surely it’s too easy to guess what Harris brings due to the game plays he’s asked to run. There was one glimpse in the recent Welsh game in first half where he had a half chance and all were surprised including himself. I’d love to see him be given slightly more freedom to run to space and create. The centre partnership and 8 if got right could make it all click. I’m looking forward to seeing what team is selected. The english look low on experienced players running up to the championship. Could be in for a real chance come Saturday week!

    1. Just too hard to call this. England First XV should have lost to France second XV not long ago.

      We lose to Ireland by completely going to pot after 40 minutes of pretty much bossing them. A Test we could have won.

      Just think if we can see our pack perform to its best then we can seriously compete at Twickenham.

      As ever against England, forward superiority or at least parity is key.

      The hardest possible start to a 6N campaign. At least we won’t be playing in front of 75000 ‘Swing Low’ choristers.

  33. The lack of atmosphere similar to Wales recently has a massive impact on the psyche at Twickenham. Mentally it removes a lot of distraction. Therefore,the ability to focus and take control improves the mindset and confidence. It’s a game of maturity and natural leadership that is most likely to win the day. Sadly, John this is what lacked in both recent losses to Ireland and France. Then you’ve surely got to have Richie Gray start or bench. He’s not the only answer here. We need more natural leaders. If only Bradbury had been looked after on and off the field after the draw down there last time. He still has huge potential. But will we get to see it one day?

    1. You miss the days of Calder et al when there was a different breed of captains/leaders for Scotland.

      1. Rob: You mean a time when our captains and leaders were charismatic enough to go on and Captain the Lions. It is not going to happen , is it !

      2. Calder,Sole,Armstrong and Hastings 4 individual’s who each led Scotland and represented the lions of 89.

      3. Tam TM : We had leaders who were mighty as Lions captains and coaches.

        Calder led the 1989 Lions to a winning series in Australia. Hasting led the 1993 lions in NZ and lost the series 2-1. McGeechan coached the Lions 4 times

        When will we see their like again !

        In perspective : Toony ! Hogg !

      4. Your absolutely right TENC. What I heavily miss are the mindset of the people who stood for no nonsense. Those captains were just that. They inspired the players around them but they inspired us as youngsters. I will never forget all those captains where with no doubt in every game the camera would suddenly capture their faces showing true grit and determination. In fairness Hogg shows some at times. I just want to see a few more that look angry and pissed off that stand for us.

      5. Tam Tm, I agree. As good as they are I get irked when I see Ali Price and Finn Russell walking around with the smirks on their faces. Just don’t feel there is the correct channelled anger there at times

      6. Amen to all that. An abiding memory from my youth was of Sole (?) stomping around prior to a restart his rallying cry of “ No pens! No pens “ clearly heard on tv over the crowd noise.

      7. As the professional game has changed so has player behaviour. However, one thing that remains is the way that the modern Scottish rugby player thinks. For example, for the last 20 years and I don’t know why, players and coaches have constantly given the stand of showing respect to their opposition in such a way they lessen their own ability. This mentality diminishes the self even before hitting the field. Don’t get me wrong respect to the opposition in sport is important. We hear it every time prior to a game in the build up talking up the oppositions strengths. For example, Townsend said yesterday “how you manage the moments England have domination and how you stay in the fight until the end – That’s what we’re building towards”. If thats the way your thinking no one wonder we don’t dominate. from the start. I know we are not a nation of arrogance we’ll let others play that card but we need to change our mental preparation to allow our match mentality to be stronger and be more cut throat. Simply big your selves up boys because no one else is going to do it for you. Time to role your sleeves up (or cut them up off in respect to Sole!) get brutal, get nasty be the menace – time to believe and show some character! COME ON SCOTLAND – REMEMBER YOUR FOREFATHERS!

      8. Townsend : Picks his team after he sees what side the opposition have picked. Likes utility players so he can chop and change mid way. When Russell took control , 2nd half England, and told us all about it, we all know where that got him. What does that tell you?More to the point what does it tell the players ?

        Coaches don’t win games, players do, if he doesn’t have confidence in them, who does! Oh that reminds me, defensive Centre ? Why ? What is that saying to the team!

  34. Great news for Scottish rugby that Mata has re-signed and Edinburgh have pinned down Ritchie, Mata and Watson for foreseeable future.

    BUT for Scotland to build out its squad depth and make sure some of our promising players don’t stagnate Edinburgh really need to move on some of their glut of backrows. Would love to see Crosbie and/or Bradbury move to Glasgow along with Boyle or Darge.

    Next year Edinburgh have in full-time pro deals

    Ritchie, Watson, Mata
    Bradbury, Haining, Crosbie
    Kunavula, Boyle, Darge
    Muncaster, Miller

    It can’t be good for Scottish rugby to have so many players stockpiled who should be frontline players in the biggest games.

      1. Nakarawa gone too so Glasgow’s back row looking pretty threadbare now. SRU need to pull something out of the hat to placate Glasgow’s support.

  35. SRU continue to eviscerate Glasgow. Mata stays, Nakarawa goes. Watson stays, Hastings goes etc etc etc

    More in investment in Edinburgh is clear.

  36. Bradbury & Haining should move west, with Fraser Brown a real option at 7.

    Ulster have loads £ after Coetzee made it known he was off

    On a more positive note hugely encouraging words on r5l podcast re Cam Redpath (Ugo Moyne & Danny Carer)

    1. Tom Gordon is already an excellent 7. Brown should stay at hooker.

      Connor Boyle should also probably move across – little point in him and Darge being at the same club.

      I hope Flockhart returns.

  37. Hogg and Gray starting for Exeter this weekend. Good to see our players keeping English club rugby ticking over while the England squad enjoy a good camp without club rugby getting in the way.

    1. Match experience will do that pair the world of good. I see no problem with that myself. We have adequate replacements for both. That is one thing we must be grateful for. Toony’s amazing strategy of continually changing his sides and selecting utility players is inspired. We are not short of is numerous adequate players with international caps behind them to just step up and follow the plan. No need to be concerned, Toony seen it coming years ago and we are ready.

  38. I’m going to go early with a prediction of team vs England:
    Sutherland, Turner, Fagerson, J Gray, Cummings, Ritchie (if fit, M Fagerson if not), Graham, Watson, Price, Russell, Redpath, Harris, DvdM, Hogg, Graham.
    Kebble, Cherry, Nel, R Gray, Fagerson (or Thomson if Fagerson starts), Steele, JvdW, Jones.
    Would prefer Jones to start but Harris has the jersey and I think has done a solid if not eye-catching job at 13.
    I really think that given there will be no hostile crowds, we should blood a couple of new recruits and certainly Redpath.
    Tighthead options scare me; we seem to have sorted depth on the loose side and still have Schoemann to qualify before too long. The thought of Zander getting injured fills me with dread, 2nd and 3rd options are a big fall off. England must be rubbing their hands at the prospect of front row subs coming on in the latter stages. Really need to build some quality depth here; whatever happened to McCallum, he looked really promising not that long ago.
    Midfield needs to be resolved now to give time to gel before the RWC. While Taylor has been impressive, he’s getting on, injury prone and playing in the domestic second tier. His selection for last RWC baffled me and don’t want a repeat. Give Redpath a shot, we need to get our answer at 12, and hopefully Harris dispels all doubters or Jones comes on and reminds Tonnie of what we can do at 13. At least there will be some new terrestrial TV next weekend!

  39. Going for a 6-2 split with an emphasis on trying to dominate up front first and foremost.
    England are missing Mako Vunipola, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinkler, Joe Launchbury and Sam Underhill in their forward pack through Injury and hopefully George, Itoje and Billy Vunipola are not 100% match fit. (+forecast is not great)

    We HAVE to get the ball into Duhans hands when we have go-forward, the English Back 3 are not renowned for being great tacklers. (Zip it out whenever we have it)

    Stuart Hogg (C) – Blair Kinghorn – Chris Harris – Cameron Redpath – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price

    Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Blade Thomson – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

    Huw Jones – Scott Steele – Gary Graham – Jamie Ritchie – Richie Gray – Willem Nel – David Cherry – Oli Kebble.

    Darcy Graham/Sean Maitland out due to lack of gametime. Taylor likely Injured still + little play time also.

    Why SHC is not in over Steele is beyond me. Same with Skinner over some selected.

    Thomson starting at 6 over Gary Graham/Ritchie simply due to familiarity with the call etc and Ritchies lack of game time.

    Richie Gray and Nel in over Gilchrist and Berghan due to form and to help Cherry with the lineout/scrum.

    In the end.. i suspect the ref/TMO will ‘miss’ something and we will lose a tight game.

    1. Zip it out !No,that will get you dropped Neil. Last trip south Toony coached to kick it to England and they just run back at us, score , score , score, score. Toony is never a man to be beaten, I can guarantee you that we will try that again this time.

    2. that’s a terrible selection Neil. Ritchie if fit will start, he is needed to combat Curry and probably Earl now with Underhill missing. Also, Blade has been posted missing every time he has put on the jersey.

      Kinghorn won’t start over Darcy.
      A 10 will be on the bench.
      Gary Graham over Fagerson who hasn’t done enough

      Would love to see Redpath start but more likely to be Lang.

      1. Chat seems to be that Lawes will start at 6. Think Ritchie can beat him for pace and at the breakdown but show England will be trying to physically overwhelm us again.

        I’d start Maitland over Graham but would be shocked if Lang is in 23

  40. I’m not going to get excited as our last two games at twickenham have been marred by first-half horror shows, England can replace all their injured players with experienced quality stand ins, and they remain one of the best teams in the world.

    However, it’s likely that there will be more away victories this 6N due to the lack of crowds so if we hit the ground running we can definitely cause them problems. We really need to survive the first quarter without giving up a soft try, as usual. I don’t think the game will be won or lost at selection but I hope we go with Gary Graham at 8 and start Cameron Redpath. I think they’re the only two selections that will really make a big difference – both quite big risks but with big potential upsides.

  41. my 23 for comment/abuse

    1. Sutherland
    2. Turner
    3. Fagerson
    4. Cummings
    5. J Gray
    6. Ritchie
    7. Watson
    8. Graham
    9. Price
    10. Russell
    11. van der Merwe
    12. Redpath (my choice, think Toony may pick Lang)
    13. Harris
    14. Graham
    15. Hogg (c)

    16. Cherry, 17. Kebble, 18. Nel, 19. R Gray, 20, Fagerson, 21. Steele, 22. van der Walt, 23. Jones

    1. We don’t use that format anymore and you have not got the side right either. Where did you get it from ?

      1. What’s your thoughts Tenc? I could imagine Toonies adviser could be right though it’s a tough one. Some folk consider Maitland. Does Darcy miss out. But will he be omitted due to a lack of game time?I’m not so sure. There’s a lot of talk of Graham starting at 8. I’d like to see him have a go. His last game in a Scotland jersey he showed great strength and grit. He has a lot to proove too. I read Townsend considers starting Redpath due to the less distraction of the big game atmosphere. Who knows. It would make a great back line though I’d like to see Jones at 13. Does anyone know when the team will be announced?

  42. My 23 –
    Hogg, Maitland, Jones, Redpath, VDM, Russell, Price
    Graham, Watson, Ritchie, R.Gray, J.Gray, Fagerson, Turner, Kebble
    Reps – VDW, Taylor, Steele, Fagerson, Cummings, Nel, Cherry, Sutherland

    1. That’s the back line to get the heart going and make England’s defense coach sweat.

      I think Sutherland will start at loosehead but its close with Kebble especially if the other 2 in the front row are from Glasgow. I’m still trying to get my head around the scrum performances from the 1872 games.

      In the second row I think you could be right with the two Gray boys but its very hard to drop Cummings. Although he would be a great impact player off the bench.

  43. Harris is a solid, hard running player, but that’s not enough for international rugby, IMO that’s a backline that will worry England.
    Have to play R.Gray from the start to disrupt the line out.
    Harsh on Darcy Graham.

  44. So as we approach the most important match of the competition….a huge chasm more than most here between a win and a loss….win we become almost favourites for the title…lose we will be behind the 8 ball needing a win to hope for mid table….last time down there was some show piece, great event but almost gave us just a glimmer of hope for the future having only returned a win and a draw in the competition.

    So without getting into usual gibberish of an 80 min performance or the obvious don’t compound one error followed by another losing territory and possession what specifically do we need to do to win this game individually, team wise and mentally?? What players are crucial and what do we need to see??

    Bearing in mind how close we came last time and still managed to mess it up…in the last sequence of the match from our kick off…England crucially didn’t make the ultimate error which would have ended the game but we made 5 real stinkers which contributed to the loss of the 7 pointer. How do we make the difference and what needs to be done this time to change the history?

    Be interested in opinion.


    1. Not sure what to expect from this game. England know that if we turn up we are capable of embarrassing them. But they also know if we don’t they’ll have an easy win. Scotland is pretty close to full strength and we are only really shorthanded at hooker. We just need the right selection and the right tactics. Most of the team know if they get it right they can beat England because they’ve done it before.

      England on the other hand are missing a few, didnt go so well in their last game against the French younsters, have had their management in isolation in the run up, dont have home support, several of their players havent played for a couple of months and they dont always start the tournament that well. Having said that we’re not famous for starting well especially away from home.

      I hope we start Redpath as it shows intent to play a bit rather than to defend all day. Russell’s interview today sounds like he’s been working on attack patterns with Redpath so that is exciting.

      Lets hope they dont take out Russell in the first quarter and he earns another MOTM in an England game. If he does then we know we’ve been in the game whatever the result.

  45. Went for a pack that will batter England with ball in hand (in the pack) a lot of players with a bit of the dog within themselfs. Some experience of the bench to close out the game. (Ritchie, Maitland, Harris, Gray, Nel)

    Hogg – Graham – Taylor – Redpath – Van Der Merwe – Russell – Price – Graham – Watson – Fagerson – Gray (J) – Cummings – Fagerson – Turner – Sutherland

    Maitland – Harris – Dobie (dont rate Steele) – Ritchie – Gray (R) – Nel – Cherry – Kebble

    Double hits required on Curry (watched the last game against us, he always went forward)
    Need to close down Ford, Farrell is off little consequence.

    Why suffer turnovers and kicking the ball away when you can play the …….OFFLOAD game.
    Well somebody’s got to talk it up, you guys ain’t, not one of you.What’s the problem?To scary for ya,Oh,I forgot,we’ve tried it….jees.
    Getting a bit sheep-like guy’s,Harris this,Harris that.Toonie the same.(no fan either).I don’t read your team’s-just to boring man.
    I suppose you think Russell will be our saviour come Sat’?c’mon,be honest…well I do,along with a dash of plan B-definetly.
    Luv ya guys(and girls).A’the best,respect too ,but I’m telling you,if my word’s come to..pass,I hope you suffer the wrath of sheepish-ness…………meh.

  47. I think I’ve had too many disappointments in recent six nations when we thought we had a good team/squad. My view on the game is we’re going to go in unprepared and Eddie Jones will win the tactical battle of the coaches. The result will follow as another dispiriting loss. Some players will show flashes of what we expect from the team for 80 minutes but it’ll be too little and too infrequent to cause England any problems. Whenever we look like we’re building momentum someone will do something stupid and we’ll gift possession and territory away. After the game Hogg and Toonie will talk about it learning lessons and it being close for 75 minutes. No one asking the questions will point out that they don’t appear to have learnt any lessons from similar results in recent years.

    I really hope I’m wrong but…

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