Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Guinness Six Nations 2021: Scotland 24-25 Wales

Scotland vs Wales
pic © Scottish Rugby Blog

Call off the Grand Slam party, for it won’t be happening this year, as Scotland narrowly lost out to Wales courtesy of some Louis Rees-Zammitt brilliance, a Zander Fagerson red-card (we’ll talk about that more later) and a tactical turnaround accomplished by the Welsh which saw them clinically score when they could.

The first set-piece went Wales’ way as Zander Fagerson was pinged for collapsing, but the line-out went awry and into the arms of Hamish Watson.

Wales were quickly given another attacking line-out and although they couldn’t break through, Scotland conceded a third penalty – this time through Chris Harris – just inside the 22 to give Leigh Halfpenny an easy pop at goal for a 3-0 lead to the away side.

Russell’s high-hanging restart was fumbled by Wales and once Scotland had retained possession they won a penalty which was within kicking range – especially for Hogg – but instead Russell went to the line.

Another penalty was conceded by Wales as Scotland attacked the line, Alun Wyn Jones infringed and Russell equalised off the tee.

Chris Harris had made a couple of charges to test the new look Welsh midfield, which led to a penalty which again Russell took to the line.

That line-out went awry but Scotland were now starting to dominate the territory, and took the lead through a lovely score.

Russell dished to Jonny Gray who bulldozed up to the 22. A couple of phases later Ali Price put a lovely dink over the top off his right-foot for Darcy Graham to run onto and score the opening try.

The lead was extended after a sweeping set-piece move was kicked forward by Stuart Hogg on the right flank. Leigh Halfpenny and Louis Rees-Zammit couldn’t decide which one of them was going to tidy it up, and the captain was on hand to retrieve his kick to cross the whitewash.

A massive turnover from Wyn Jones less than 10m from the Welsh line gave Wales possession, and the first time that they’d had any decent amount of possession they managed to get up the field and score.

A string of penalties gave them a 5m line-out, and with penalty advantage, Nick Tompkins did superbly well to offload to Liam Williams out of a Chris Harris’ tackle, and Louis Rees-Zammit stepped inside Darcy Graham to cross in the right corner.

Half-time: Scotland 17 – 8 Wales

Scotland got a get out of jail free card at the start of the second half, when Gary Graham conceded a penalty about 35m out, but Dan Biggar made an absolute mess of his attempted kick to touch, straight into the hands of Duhan van der Merwe.

What could have been a 10m line-out from the Scotland line to Wales quickly became a scrum in the Wales half, but Matt Carley once again called a penalty against Zander Fagerson to release the pressure.

The home side again though came forward and it looked like Scott Cummings had pushed over from close range, but in fact Ali Price’s pass had been collected by Graham and Cummings was penalised for crossing.

Wales could find themselves fortunate not to have been penalised prior to that as they had infringed on multiple occasions close to their own line.

The lead was reduced to two-points soon afterwards as Wales had started to dominate the breakdown.

Dan Biggar had been replaced by Callum Sheedy and his kick to the corner led to a simple try for Liam Williams, the maul making serious inroads and leaving acres of space to score.

Then there came a massive decision which saw Scotland reduced to 14-men.

Similar to the Peter O’Mahony incident of last week, Zander Fagerson came charging into a ruck, leading with his arm and dropping the shoulder near Wyn Jones’ face as he exited  

Carley and TMO Karl Dickson took their time, worked through the framework and decided that the tight-head had to go.

Wales took full advantage. They went to the line, the maul again worked well again and Wyn Jones squeezed the ball onto the line.

Scotland had to make a major reshuffle. Gary Graham was replaced by Richie Gray, meaning that Scott Cummings moved to blindside and Darcy Graham went off for WP Nel.

But by Christ this game wasn’t finished.

Wales were penalised over and over in their own 22, Scotland – only 3 points down – decided to scrum in centre-field with Nel now on the pitch. Another penalty. No yellow card.

Wales brought on Leon Brown at tight-head to try and stop the shove, which they did, but Stuart Hogg broke through to finish powerfully. Russell smacked over the conversion from the touchline brilliantly.

But the killer blow was delivered by the brilliant young Welsh winger Louis Rees-Zammitt. His superb solo try, chipping over the top of a labouring van der Merwe, outpacing Chris Harris and Hogg on the turn, to touch down.

As the clock ran down, Scotland had to push all the boats out. Finn Russell had a pass intercepted in the 22, but he recovered to win a turnover penalty.

With 82mins showing on the clock, Russell sent the monster winger van der Merwe into space and he bolted down the left-flank, only for a last-ditch, perfectly executed tap tackle by Owen Watkin to send Duhan sprawling and his attempt at an off-load to Hogg was too low for the captain to pick up.

An agonising defeat. We should be used to it now, but damn.

It proves again there’s so little difference between the top sides that a wee mistake here, a contentious call there, is all it takes.

SRBlog Player of the Match: Jonny Gray once again showed he has taken his game to new levels on the offensive front with the great carry to the Graham score, but El Capitano, Stuart Hogg, will receive his 2nd in a row.

Two tries, the quick feet which keep defences on edge, a well-judged leave of a grubber into the
in-goal area which spared Scottish blushes, and a decent performance all round.

Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)

172 Responses

  1. Hard luck Scotland. Backs played better and showed more attacking intent than last week. The pack played less well without Ritchie and then again when Blade Thomson went off. Graham was just a penalty machine and reduced us to two jumpers in the lineout. Whilst not a blatant as Paul O’ Thuggerty, Zander’s brain fade cost us dear. Looking at the positive’s Hoggy, Darcey and Jonnie Gray all looked different class and a special mention to Louis Rees Zammit for the Welsh who looks like the real deal, at least going forward.

    1. Rees Zammit looked good when Scotland went to 14….but not many wouldn’t.
      He’s a good player dont get me wrong…but no better than Darcy Graham. Similar issues with defensive positioning sometimes.
      DVDM looked the best winger on the pitch to me..he can do a bit of everything…sometimes he’s even an auxiliary back row

      1. VDM was caught out of position for 2 of Wales tries. You can forgive him for the last one when we were down to 14 and knackered, but the one at the end of the first half he came in needlessly and left us exposed.

      2. Yep and Rees Zammit was also caught in no mans land a few times defensively and fumbled the ball which led to a Scotland try… I d take DVDM over him any day.
        D Graham scores the best try of the match and showed great instincts and reading of the game.
        RZ is a good player….similar to D Graham. The seemingly ultimate new world talent?…based on media post match… nah…long way to go to say that. He’s shown he can finish …thats about it for the mo.

      3. LRZ, best player on the field. Scored the best try of the game and was voted Man of The Match. Not bad for a 20 Yr old.

  2. Scotland are doing some very good things but will be cursing their discipline in this game. Tandy will also be cursing the defense too although 2 of the trys did come when down to 14. There will also be an inquest into what happened in the lineout and maul defense.

    Darcy Graham was on fire until he had to go off. I think Redpath was a bit of a miss but good to see Harris make some yards. Generally tactical kicking was excellent again. Price, Russell and Hogg all played well. Hogg is clearly in the form of his life.

    Gary Graham fans will be disappointed as will Zanders off course.

    1. I thought Harris was superb for the most part, Lang too. Blade Thompson has had his chance, Gary Graham maybe too excited but would give him one more chance. Hope we can look at Crosbie, Haining and Bradbury in the next few days. How Scottish to throw away victory. Zander was unlucky but needs to learn the long game. Did Zamitt tackle Cummings without the ball? Some dodgy Welsh tackles too, scope for citing Jones for tackle on Watson? What happened to our line out? I believe we are getting closer but some naivety remains. Fingers crossed it will click for France then pummel Ireland.

      1. Zander wasn’t really unlucky. He went in with his shoulder so was always going to be looked at. This is not the first time I have seen him do this. Brain fart does not really describe it!!!! He needs to start to control himself as he is letting the team down with the penalties he gives away

      2. Interestingly the one time he had to make more to draw attention to it was when he saw Liam Williams with the leading arm had he made a real mess and got a wee fight up then the ref would have said we need to look at this…but he didn’t do enough of that then and it cost us….had a crowd been there and it was shown on the screen then again it would have been replayed, seen and yellow card issued….the game has swung on these two incidents one seen, one not!!!

      3. Getting too excited at test level is not good enough. There was a litany of penalties given away and Gary was mostly the cause. At this level you need to keep your head – Zander.

    2. Somethings I took from the match was that Redpath showed in 1 match is in a different league to Lang…it was a big step down.
      G Graham or B Thompson are barely test class if at all…and certainly no where near Ritchie.
      Zander Fagerson is frustrating… needs to learn when and where to use his aggression..still.
      Our lineouts are bizarre and our maul was not very effective.
      One of Hogg’s best games for Scotland.
      With 15 on the pitch we won that game…

    3. Big A: As will Sutherland fans, we have got used to him being a cut above, he was on an off day IMO. Wyn Jones really showed him up, he really made Sutherland look like a converted flanker.

      I also suspect he was winding up Zander . It wasn’t just any welshman he attempted to clear out , it was his man. Zander Fagerson is a much improved scot and a cornerstone of this side. Lets leave the nonsense out. I thought AWJ post match interview was gracious. That is the lions captain IMO.

      1. Disagree… thought Sutherland had a good game ..Wyn jones didn’t do anything more than Sutherland from what I saw..and our scrum was good.
        Id select sutherland every time over wyn jones.
        15 on the pitch we win that game…then nobody is creaming over any Wales players instead claiming worst team for decades…such fine margins!

      2. Wyn Jones was jackalling and scored a try. I don’t recall him giving away any penalty’s but won at least one. I would not post Sutherland missing , but by his own standards, he had a quiet game IMO.

  3. So frustrating and at times, dare I say it, a bit “typical Scotland dumb”. Key moments for me were Wales first try when DvdM stepped inside leaving a huge hole outside, Cummings not driving hard and low but instead short passing to Graham and hence deemed to obstruct and then the crazy kick to nowhere by Price at around 77 minutes when we really needed to keep possession like last week. Zander too was just pushing his luck too much, especially after last week’s red for POM. We really had the grunt up front and some attacking threat in the backs to win that one but concentration lapses cost us dear. Maybe some questionable decisions by the ref but probably an equal amount from a Welsh perspective. That was a huge self steal from victory’s embrace; trying to treat as a heroic effort by 14 men but that really is an excuse after last week’s performance. Credit to Hogg, Harris, Graham, M Fagerson & J Gray. We did miss the injured trio but the collective brain let us down today.

    1. Yes, the Price kick to nowhere and for no reason was a massive, ‘Why TF?’ moment. It didn’t lose us the Test, but it certainly didn’t help us regain the lead.
      Whatever, the moment’s gone, we’re a serious 6N side again and all focus of players and coaching staff will be on a fortnight’s time in Paris.

      1. Finn had a stupid kick to nothing a few minutes before that as well. At a time when we wanted the ball and wanted to be within kicking distance in case they give a penalty, why kick the ball away?! So frustrating.

      2. yep that kick from Price was nuts when we needed to hold onto the ball and possibly get a line break or penalty….ditto Russell before that.

    2. Cummings never got the ball. To me it looked like Price was about to release Cummings when Graham accelerated into view and Price offloaded to him, leaving Cummings in no man’s land and it was definitely obstruction. Graham, to cap his generally calamitous afternoon, failed even to ground the ball.
      Cummings was already starting to hold his head in his hands as he landed over the line, knowing a certain try had been blown. 50:50 Price and Graham at fault.

  4. Agree with you – great effort, though massively disappointing (I live in Wales too!). Thought that the effort by Hogg, Harris, Graham, No 8 Fagerson and Johnny Gray was exceptional.

    I know we have had a load of hard defeats over the last years though, and for me, this seems like the hardest to take! I still thought we could win with 14 men……..

  5. Aaaaaaaarrgh!!

    From the gaping jaws of victory we manage to snatch defeat once again.

    It’s another game where we’ve had so much possession and territory and not converted it to points. Wales we’re barely in our 22 and got 4 tries. Yet when we were dominating the game we couldn’t break them down.

    There just didn’t seem to be the cohesion and collective will to win at all costs that we saw last week. Or perhaps it’s just that in LRZ Wales have an exceptional player that England don’t have as he created something from nothing a couple of times.

    At least Gatland will be happy he can get all his welsh players onto the Lions trip now!

  6. No the difference with today and last week compared to many times in the past is that there’s more mature thinking with patience and more structured thinking. It’s not a matter of go through the phases where we don’t know what to do. If you took out possibly 3 daft penalties in the first half we would have likely won it. Wales were also on a couple of occasions lucky. It is despite a couple of daft mistakes a win for us.

    1. Tam there was some maturity yes but I think I could look at, atleast ten brainless moments in the match that cost us…you half that count which is easily done we win comfortably…
      We have to make better more competent decisions more often even when not in the heat of the battle…. at both 17-3 and 17-8 we turn down easy points….we had to take them …brainless with how toothless our maul was today and our ability to get over try line from multiple phrase 5 yards out you try go wide a little more at least….height of stupidity and not really acceptable…

      1. Agreed the ref has a huge part to play in that result but with the brainless stuff we gave him the chance to be an influence in the result….

        I always find it infuriating that it takes so many pens to get a yellow in rugby and they need to be warned too. So you are effectively allowed to cheat and do what you like 4,5,6 times in order to illegally stop multiple tries so the punishment never fits the crime…you are allowed to cheat and the cheat wins most of the time…

      2. But this has been Scottish Rugby for a while. 5m out so we just keep banging our head off the defencive wall .. duh! Let’s not move it out 2 or a back move.

      3. Rob completely agree…I dont understand it…especially on advantage other than trucking up (if you can execute which we can’t) we go for the low percentage kick through everytime…truck up bring in defence then try go wide…its our best chance especially on advantage but we don’t do it or go for miracle pass…

  7. Is anyone up for beating France?
    Yes, me too.
    22 years. It’s about time.

    Get ready, we will do it.

  8. Sadly your right. Do you not think hitting 5 yard rucks from the Welsh line was to control the clock a little. The players looked like they were in control – then Hoggy got his try. It was then the game management went out of shape. It drives you nuts doesn’t it! I’ve just seen the after game interview with Gregor. – Journalist: was Gary Graham injured when he came off? Townsend ( looking straight at the camera) NO!

  9. I think this tells us you can afford one luxury winger in a 15 but not two. The defensive frailties of Graham and VDM were exposed even before we went to 14. Compared to Maitland, Kinghorn, and yes Seymour, their positional awareness in defence was really poor.
    How did we lose to that Welsh team?! We had all the creativity and cutting edge, but ultimately, they had the mental toughness which sadly, has eluded us once again.

    1. Don’t agree. Playing with 14 is the issue. We did a lot right, we controlled most of the game, our attack was impressive, but we were unlucky. Why did William’s not get anything for the elbow? Not to mention the tackle in the air on Graham…potentially much more dangerous than Zanders hit. Ref was not imo fair handed at all. How often were the Welsh offside? Astonishing he barely looked at the try he disallowed, so few angles. Of course I’m biased a bit but I think we were robbed. Very frustrating, the boys deserved that by a country mile, I hope Carley has a long look at the game and so do others – you can play the letter of the law, fine , but do it fairly. Zanders hit is imo a yellow, if we agree red then ok, but then I expect tmo’s to pick up on Welsh yellow’s. Crikey, this is not a Sunday friendly it’s the 6 nations, we deserve better match officials.
      I hope team Scotland are making the case. It’s not ok, we expect a fair contest and that was not.

      1. You need to watch the three tries they scored out wide, two of them when we had 15 n the pitch, and look at where our wingers were in defence. The referee had no part in that.

      2. I think Halfpenny got off with taking Darcey out in the air because he came off worse. That shouldn’t make any difference, I thought now a days it was he took him out in the air, yellow card, regardless of intent or “wasn’t able to pull out”. I mean I totally disagree with that, what is halfpenny meant to do, just not attempt to get the ball? but it should have been a yellow card as have many similar incidents.

        As for that thug Liam Williams, it was a cheap shot and he knew it, got away with it. Other than the fact he’s Liam Williams which should be an automatic yellow card offence, I don’t think it was cardable, certainly a penalty though.

        With the benefit of cooling down and a lower blood pressure I still don’t think Zander deserved to see red but it was reckless. If that’s the way the game is to be played now then he should know you can’t go flying into a ruck like that.

        On that subject, how are you meant to legally clear people out now?

    2. Agree with you HB, I just can’t understand how we lost that game; except we can find moments when naivety cost us dear. I am just so annoyed, it’s like 2010 all over again except this time, we were the better team going into the game and for most of the time, the better team on the field. At 17-3 up, we really should have buried it – that cock up between Cummings and Graham to me was the real turning point. So much possession, a great chance to score and then still nil point. Zander was arguably harshly done by but just don’t give the ref the opportunity to red card you. Refs are rightly going to treat you harshly for any contact to the head made after a long run up like that.
      And how long will Zander’s ban be??? It’s time to pray that Nel has dramatically upped his fitness and Berghan has massively improved his scrummaging. Tight head is a position we’re seriously lacking in depth and I worry our scrum, which has been pretty steady recently, could be demolished by the French and Irish.
      This result hurts and hope the team can channel their hurt and frustration into producing a composed and mature performance in a fortnights time. Arghhhh!!

      1. You correctly sum up why the rest of this campaign could be difficult for us. WP at this stage in his career is the perfect replacement with 20 mins to go. Unfortunately I can’t see him as a 60 min starter and Berghan just isn’t as good a scrummager and also has noted periods of brain fade giving away stupid penalties. As a complete left field random thought Oli Kebble can play tighthead and has done on occasion for the Warriors.
        It’s just a pity that Pierre Schoeman isn’t Scottish qualified yet, imagine the fun if we replace WP and Rory Sutherland with Kebble and the fierce hairy one after 50 mins.

      2. Shoeman qualifies to play for Scotland this summer…due to change in rulings.
        We’ll be overloaded with quality LHs ..we should be looking to convert Kebble to permanent TH because we dont have many options there.

  10. Yet again defeat snatched from the jaws of victory against the Welsh. Fagerson’s offence was surely no where near O Mahoney’s last week. We know contact with the head is unacceptable but can someone explain how the opposition is supposed to clear out a player leaning over the ruck jackaling for the ball if it is not with the shoulder. As for the referee mentioning how far he had run to complete the clear out how is this relevant? We have went from being the cleanest team in the tournament in terms of penalties)to the dirtiest and it’s all down to ref’s interpretation.
    Graham was a penalty machine. Get Ritchie fit soon. Laing was anonymous in attack, get Redpath fit soon. Darcy Graham was excellent in attack but no Maitland when it comes to defensive positioning. Harris defended well as usual and also made some valuable yards for a change.
    It was another mixed bag from Finn. Better kicking from the tee but how many of those kicks to nothing when we have penalty advantage have we seen botched? For every amazing interception he makes he throws a wild pass which itself gets intercepted. He is 29 now, the brain farts won’t stop coming. Hastings may return before the tournament ends, maybe he’ll get a run out.
    Sorry guys but at 17-3 I started to believe the hype. Momentum is everything in the 6n. Now I’m afraid it could be 2 wins this competition. Can’t see us beating France away and Ireland are way better than Wales, so can’t see us winning that one either.

    1. I dont think Russell has played well in last 2 matches…which is disappointing considering his club form has been terrific for a while now.
      I dont think Russell / Lang axis is working ….Russell / Redpath looked stacked with potential. Russell didn’t have a good game v England …but Redpath made up for that considerably …Lang doesn’t do that.

  11. Z Fagerson is a grinning penalty machine (he has previous) and let his side down hugely. I would be surprised if his team-mates invited him for a group hug after the match. It was an inexplicable error. He is likely to be out for the next 3 matches (or more). His misdemeanour is as culpable and as disgraceful as that of O’Mahoney (who also has significant previous. – see Hogg tackle 2019). His behaviour, I believe, cost Scotland the match and I hope GT lays it on the line and lets him fester on the side-lines as he did with Finn R. Other than ZF I believe that Scotland played with skill, desire and intent, I suspect that apart from the Italy game, that’s it. Tournament over (I hope I am wrong). I am so disappointed for the first Scottish team, they showed great promise and innovation.

    1. Agree about Fagerson,teams have been well warned about diving into contact shoulder first , but Gary Graham probably cost Scotland more with his penalties letting Wales into a game that they shouldn’t have had a sniff of

    2. It was a miss-judgement by Zander for sure but there are so many fine margins. He gives 100%. I didn’t see anyone lack for effort in a great game. Can criticism be kept constructive?

    3. Its really due to lack of competition at TH that Fagerson keeps his spot.
      He is at the age where he should have cut many of these mistakes out.
      It may have cost Scotland an actual chance at the 6N let alone a grand slam.
      Its a tough position to get the balance of aggression and technicality right…but he has to.

      1. He made one misjudgement….Graham made far more and cost us hugely in field position and momentum and compounding error….prob due to enthusiasm….Zander has improved massively in discipline its a huge difference. It actually cost us by not making more of Liam Williams arm enough to make them look closer….

        I also disagree with lack of competition…don’t let a horrible devastating defeat cloud ur judgement

  12. It would appear Wales on Line are sceptical that it was a Red Card. We muct look like a right bunch of charlies.

  13. Early penalty aside Matt Fagerson looked very good. Could well be the answer to our number 8 problem. Seriously hope that Ritchie, Redpath and Maitland are back for the Ireland game.

    1. Yep …I was one that said he wasn’t an 8…but he is beginning to step up…
      plus…we dont have another one.

  14. I said after the teams came out I’d be happy with a losing bonus point and there we go. Gary Graham is unspeakably bad at rugby – a bearded lump, and without Maitland our back 3 had no good defender. There are 4-5 other back rows at Edinburgh better than Graham. The decision making on penalties is woeful too, take the 3 points. Ritchie should be captain as he actually has a brain.

    1. How was the penalty decision making bad?

      3 occasions stand out to me.

      First one, we got a second penalty in a better position which was converted.

      Second we nearly got a try, very unlucky.

      Third (with 14 men) we did get the try and conversion.

      Overall more points than if we had taken the penalties.

      Most of the rest were in areas where 3 points wasn’t certain.

    2. What a ridiculous thing to say. Graham is a very very good rugby player, he has just peaked at premiership level, hardly unspeakably bad. He isn’t international calaibre. He could have been if nurtured better in his younger days. He is in the squad because he has been playing very very well at club level.

    3. It seems one of the biggest obstacles to becoming a proper test class player is defensive positioning.
      If a player doesn’t adapt and learn they are exposed.
      Maitland does everything very well. An excellent international player.
      G Graham looked like he has much to learn at international level. Which is fair as he is a late developer in comparison.

  15. Sorry have never been in the Finn Russell fan club,he seems to me to be more miss than hit.His grubber kicks when Scotland had penalty advantage close to the Welsh line were frankly pathetic.I think Hastings would have had a bit more patience.As for Gary Graham,his penalty count before and after half time probably cost us the game more than fagersons red card.
    The majority of the team deserved a victory but were let down by a few individuals.I know you win or lose as a team but to win at this level all parts of the team need to perform.

    1. We won’t see Gary Graham in a Scotland shirt again thank christ. Townsend’s post-match presser tells me that.

      1. I have to agree about Gary Graham. He was way off the pace. Just shows you the step up to International rugby. Ritchie starts in Paris but who on the bench? I always incline to Bradbury but he just isn’t offering himself in carry duties at the moment. I don’t understand why not, he has the physicality. So I guess it’s Thomson.
        Overall, let’s not depress ourselves too much though. We haven’t gone backwards substantially. We are perfectly capable of pushing France all the way in Paris, which would be THE response.

    2. TEE CEE: Do you not agree that Finn Russell has one major flaw in the Scotland Jersey = Ali Price !

      1. Interesting contrast with Finn playing at Racing. He is often the first receiver with the pod of forwards available to him to use or not. He is thus more of the decision maker than the scrum half – up with the forwards, short pass to Chevancy, spread it out wide with his range of passes, attacking kick or, of course, run himself.
        With Scotland Price makes more decisions and attack is less multi layered: Price steps back and forwards dully pick and go (trying to get penalty advantage one presumes as very, very unlikely to score), Price passes to the pod of three forwards (for which the defence has had time to line up – the receiving forward almost never pivots to then give it to Finn) or a pass to Finn. For the pass to Finn, we rarely have a forward available to make a short cut back run to hold the defence and anyway the speed of Price’s service is such that the space is often already disappearing.
        Tandy has Scotland working incredibly hard off the ball and after contact to recover their positions in the defensive system but the same level of work needs to be applied to attacking alignment – obviously easier to say than do. But until we have better offensive shape in the opposition’s 22 we are going to remain relatively blunt when tries really should be pouring in, given the stress we put defences under with a general play in the middle third and good kicking.

      2. Yeah probably got a point.Ting Cam.Not long ago I thought Scotland were well served for scrum halfs.Where have they all gone.?That said I thought Finn’s tricks when we had pen advantage on the Welsh line never looked like paying off . maybe my comment about pathetic was a bit harsh (too much wine)
        Stand by my comments about Graham though

  16. The implication of Fagerson’s red card is that once an opposition player challenges for the ball, they cannot be cleared out. It was nothing like O’Mahoney the previous week. Meanwhile, Wales are allowed to lead with the elbow in carries and with the shoulder in clearouts with impunity. It was clear from the sixth minute who was going to win that match, and it wasn’t the better team. We made double the metres, and line breaks, broke four times the tackles, even conceded the fewest penalties, yet Wales have two undeserved victories from two, meanwhile we’re doomed to be described as ‘nearly men’ once again. The measure of a team shouldn’t be its ability to bleat for penalties, and it’s telling that no HIA was required. Disgraceful. I wish Wales nothing but the worst going forward.

    1. Teamcam : I do not agree or get this comment ‘It was clear from the sixth minute who was going to win that match, and it wasn’t the better team’. That is just emotional ,subjective and nonsensical. It bears no reality to the facts IMO.

      Scotland were 17-3 ahead at the 37th Minute. Scotland were a few points from being out of sight. But that was unfamiliar territory and they bottled it.

      Even at 17-8 Scotland should have taken three points and put the pressure back on Wales. But went for the points,failed to take anything, finished the half defending it’s own line. Schoolboy howler by Scotland’s captain. The Scotland team were entirely accountable for today. Suckered by the welsh.

      Gregor could not have done more for them. You weren’t watching the same game as me .

      1. If you couldn’t tell from three penalties in six minutes who was going to win, that’s on you. You’re simply not astute enough to read the signs.

        Liam Williams led with the elbow in a carry (yellow card offence) then struck with the elbow (red card offence) then later tackled Hogg without the ball in a prime attacking position (yellow card offence). Jonny Gray is shouldered in the head at a ruck – no sanction. LRZ holds onto the ball for dear life – illegally – in the final play of the game: no sanction.

        The only thing Wales did better than Scotland is benefit from the indulgence of the referee. Scotland’s work on from this match is “make it loudly, explicitly clear whenever there’s the merest hint of head contact”, which is how Wales have won two matches in a row despite being the worse team in both instances.

      2. Teamcam: Scotland were 17-3 up for most of the first half . They just had to kick penaltys and keep the scoreboard ticking to win IMO. I think it is you who needs to be astute and face reality. Scotland threw it away. The referee gave Scotland plenty of penalty’s . It wasnt him that booted the ball to the Welsh in the closing play.Ali Price is a gift to the Welsh,

        Oh do we not have a citing commissioner to deal with events missed by the ref (Williams and Gray) . I suspect he will not be involved , yet another factor to undermine your interpretation of events.

      3. If you think absence of citings proves any then you must be new to rugby. Feel free to keep inventing arguments then arguing against them, though.

      4. Teamcam : 17 – 3 (Scotland were 4 scores ahead, that is not inventing arguments , it is fact). Both sides were awarded enough penalty’s to win the game, one made more of them. It is my opinion that after one win, you have forgotten how to lose.

  17. I think there’s a need for some realism…. victory over England was a great moment but some getting a bit carried away. On paper, Wales not looking at their best and Scotland coming off a great away win in Twickenham you’d think Scotland should win….but international rugby doesn’t go like that. Scotland very much in control much of the game, but not being able to close out a game when 17-03 up ? also, some cause for concern when Wales held us out for multiple phases 5 or less meters from their line… yet when they had a chance to pile forward into our line for their third try they scored almost straight away? Scotland need to work on holding the rolling mall from line-outs…Wales made 20-25 yards more than once just by driving the mall.

    As for comparison of Louis Zammit-Rees vs Darcy, drcy being every bit as good? hmmm, debatable. I felt Darcy had a decent game, and continues to amaze by how powerful he is for his size….but can’t help thinking Louis Zammit-Rees is more likely to turn out to be an international-level star? sorry if that is disloyal, but just being realistic…

    1. When I watched the game I was hoping for the Welsh third try that the ref/tmo would go back to the phase before where the maul on the line was set up. In that move Wainwright, the welsh 6, was clearly in front of the ball carrier and blocking the defence getting set for the maul defence. I know you can have someone in front of the ball during a maul but it looked like the ball was passed to the player behind him and he then grabbed them and helped drag them forward from an offside position.

      But your point still stands, we had so much possession and territory and did nothing with it.

    2. Well.. the Rees-Zammitt v D graham comparison is debatable… which is the point…there isnt much between them..similar type of player with the exception of physical size. Imo…Graham has the better rugby brain…Zammitt a more modern day winger with size and ability.

  18. ….comments above predicting Wales likely to get beat by England, France and probably Italy ? …I think we’re letting anger over Wales victory over Scotland distort our thinking. Wales will not lose to Italy… I think Wales will struggle in France (but so will we). Wales/England in the balance. Wales at home, for whatever that is worth these days….but Wales were not dominated by Scotland any more than England were…so Wales have a decent chance of picking off England..?

    1. I disagree, I think Scotland did dominate both England and Wales but did not enough with that dominance to dominate the score board. With the possession and territory we had we should have been out of sight in both games but failed to convert pressure to points far too often. That is something the coaches will have to look at. Why did we not try going slightly wider to a flying DvDM when we were pounding their line?

      1. Opposition allowed to be offside near their own line without being penalised has stopped us scoring in both games. The offside line is the back foot of the ruck or the try line. When you are two metres out the stolen half yard makes all the difference. Need a plan to combat this.

      2. We are underusing DVDM…
        He is incredibly difficult to bring down… Wales often needed 3-4 players around him to control him.

  19. on the plus side… I am now fully appreciative of Hogg… He’s always had an enormous talent to unleash, but I’ve always had the feeling that he lacked discipline or maturity…was sometimes petulant and it let him down. I’m so impressed this season, seems to have “grown up” and is a huge asset every game now. He’s going to be a huge part of the B&I Lions 2021 if that tour goes ahead.

  20. After watching 20 years of dross sprinkled by the occasional good performance and result I m neither surprised nor do I get upset when we lose now. Too many disappointments and false dawns over the years. We will never have a better chance of beating Wales. Cruising with a 14 point lead deep into the first half we somehow allow a stuttering Wales to snatch a victory due to in the main self inflicted wounds. We still have not managed to reach that level of pragmatic professionalism to get over the line that Wales and Ireland have had for years. Why do we pointlessly continue to batter away at the oppositions line with our forwards when we are very rarely successful . Two games we have ground away and nothing to show for it. Sadly I fear until we can find our own version of Gatland/ Schmidt we will continue this rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and little continuity.

  21. Red card will be the excuse but there’s something flaky about Scottish rugby (and Scottish sport in general).

    We even saw it on this forum when 3 players were injured and fans went to pieces. We’re seeing it now in the way some players are being singled out for really harsh criticism.

    We were 17-3 up and didn’t bury them. That’s going to hurt the players.

    It shows, however, that we are good enough to do this, and the players have to believe that.

    I think we will beat France. Why not? It won’t be easy but it’s about time we did it.

  22. Early morning musings (I am an AMr)
    Excellent post Tasmanian Tiger.
    Firstly Louis RZ seems a seriously talented young man
    A few things went against us, the highlights -Graham/Cummings “try”, i’m no sure, the red card – very harsh.
    Missed Maitland, he is a quite magnificent (understated) rugby player.
    Both centres played ok, Harris had a promising 15mins, however nothing in an attacking sense, all three tries came from individual brillance (Price & Hogg) or individual error (Halfpenny), need more from the centres. I’d look at VDW & Jones for France – got 2 weeks.
    I’d assume “that’s” why Gary Graham doesn’t get picked – send Graham & Thompson home & call up Luke Crosbie.
    Again Scotland looked like we were finally stepping up to the top table only to disappoint. Hogg, J Gray, Watson superb

  23. The morning after…..It’s never one moment that decides the outcome. There were some good performances, Hogg, Gray, VDM, Darcy, Mish, Matt Fagerson. There was creativity, and good finishing. The stats show Scotland domination. We scored good try’s. We also saw some poor decision making, Zander, Gary Graham, the officials (no action against Halfpenny, Williams) or Wales for never being onside when we were camped on their line.
    Overall, there is a lot to be positive about, there is a real collective team spirit, shared leadership on the park, and talent throughout the squad. The coaches will deal with the issues. Let’s be honest, we are all gutted to have lost, players as much as supporters. But let’s not get carried away with negativity.

    1. Yep agree…we were an avoidable sending off short of winning this.
      At the top level you absolutely have to keep 15 on the field as a bare minimum. The opposition has much more space to play with….in addition to the team with 14 tiring quicker.

  24. Disappointing result. Mixed performance. Inability to over the line from set pieces lost us all momentum. It’s a common theme. Some individual brilliance got us super tries but when Wales were camped on their line our repetitive individual forward drives just isn’t enough and never has or will be. The collective drives in the autumn series worked really well for us but now when it matters we’re too cautious to try. Coaches need to step up and work hard improving out attack to get over the line.

  25. We gave away more penalty’s in the first half than the whole of the game at Twickenham (according to my father) . That is demoralising , breaks momentum and continuity. It becomes frustrating and a burden.That was the difference.We were brilliant between the penalty’s.

  26. Ffs, what’s achieved by getting the pitchforks out for Gary Graham?

    He’s not the reason we lost. The kind of flakiness that saw us lose in a similar way to Wales in 2010 or surrender a victory at Twickenham in the final minute in 2019 is.

    Everybody knows this is a weakness. Eddie Jones tried to target it with his ‘can’t handle the pressure’ comments and probably ended up doing us a favour by botching it and implying we were no hopers. Last week we held it together and showed we can do it if we want to.

    Already fans here saying we won’t beat France or Ireland, why not?
    We owe them both.

    1. He wasn’t the reason we lost, but he was poor so he should be dropped.
      If Ritchie is fit, not sure who gets the bench spot – would like to see Skinner personally.

      1. We should just throw Bradbury or Crosbie into the 23 and see how they role.
        They just might lift their game.
        Done with mediocre experiments.. at least experiment with potential.

  27. My thoughts.

    The ref was poor but that is not why we lost and anyone suggesting bias after we beat England last week needs to grow up. The red card for me should have been a yellow and I dislike when TMO/assistant referees bring up valid points which the ref ignores as he has obviously made up his mind. Rugby really needs to bring in the Orange card for accidental head contact that is clumsy and save Red for real foul play. Player goes off for good but team can bring a replacement on after 15 minutes.

    Lang, Thomson and G Graham (since he came on so early) are nowhere near how Redpath and Ritchie played last week. D Graham did very well, not sure what anyone who says we really missed Maitland thinks he could have done more?

    Scrum was fairly dominant despite a couple of dubious penalties, but lineout didn’t fire like last week – not entirely sure why.

    Russell played well – there’s a lot of nonsense being spouted about his game but he was extremely solid until the last 10 minutes when he rightly tried to pull off something crazy as we were chasing the game in the dying minutes.

    Hogg is on fire.

    Harris made several good carries in attack – something I have been critical of him not doing in the past – but had a bit of an off day in defence.

    VDM still needs to work on his defence, rushed in a few times and it cost us 2 tries (although the second was down to 14 men and he looked knackered so can’t really blame him too much for that one).

    1. Price had a good game – great chip for the first try. The aimless kick at the end when we were in Welsh territory and just needed to keep the pressure on and hope for a penalty or gap to open up really blotted his copybook though.

      It will certainly go down as a game we should have won, and it is disappointing that the control and composure we showed at Twickenham went AWOL in the second half.

      I don’t really think there is much to change personnel-wise for the next game – obviously Fagerson is out, Ritchie should be back, Maitland or D Graham I am happy with at 14.

      If Redpath is still out then I’m not sure what the best plan is – maybe Harris to 12 and Jones at 13?

      Lions watch – Starting XV I think Hogg, Watson and Russell are realistic prospects (Gatland bias aside), Touring I would add J Gray, Redpath, VDM, Ritchie, Price, Maitland and maybe Cummings, Sutherland and Turner with an outside chance.

      1. Gatland has said in the past that it is mental weakness that has counted against Scotland players when he’s been selecting Lions. Losing that game is not going to have convinced him to change his mind on anyone. If we don’t beat France and Ireland then we will not have many on the plane.

      2. Agreed, Price had a decent game but the remote just about went through the TV with that stupid kick at the end. Seems to still be a feature of our game, if making no progress after 10 phases then kick it, it was a crap kick too. We were making ground, albeit slowly, just needed to keep the pressure on and draw the penalty / position for the DG.

        Chris Harris had a great game too I thought, offered a lot more going forward than we have seen. I often think folk blow a bit too much smoke about Darcey on here but he also had a great game, I’m a huge Maitland fan but not too sure what he would have done better.

        Shout out for Matt Fagerson too, lot of good work. For many years I have felt out 8s are a bit invisible, bit like a 6 where you think they aren’t doing much until you watch them closely. Matt Fagerson was a lot more high profile, mind you I guess he was playing at 6 for quite a bit of the game, was certainly packing down there. Gary Graham was high profile for a different reason. We/he was clearly doing something that the ref didn’t like yesterday, we can argue about the ref and the card all day but it’s a feature of rugby now that you have to adapt to how the ref wants to play the game on the day and we failed to do that. I think it was Hoggy in his interview that cited the giving 4 penalties away in a row that cost us, truer words never spoken.

      3. Are Ireland mentally weak?
        They lost in a similar manner the week before to the same team.
        We got a guy sent off…thats about it. Wales have got let out of jail 2 matches in succession.

      4. Interestingly enough, I read a tweet from one of these rugby stat things that there have been 10 red cards in the 6N. Five of them awarded to teams playing Wales…not suggesting anything but in science that would be described as a statistical anomaly!

      5. I was wondering about this, bring off 6 or 7 but keep all the backs and avoid the overlaps. Haven’t seen stats on this.

  28. There is a disconnect in the backs. The link between half back and the back 3 isnt functioning.

    Not sure what Lang contributed yesterday. Still not getting what Harris u.s.p is. Folk are bigging up his improvement. Perhaps, but from a pretty low base & he’s not exactly a novice anymore. He made some yards early but nothing eventuated. There is no sense of catalyst around 12/13 as the skill levels I dont think are there. The supposed compensating defensive attributes seemed absent with Wales finding overlaps fairly easily…& it wasnt exactly their 1st choice pair either.

    Limiting Jones to 2 x 7 minute contributions from the bench in single score games is a criminal waste of talent.

    1. Agreed on the defence, Sam Warburton said in commentary that Wales were finding space when they attacked wide even before the red and as soon as Darcy was subbed off you knew they were going to score more tries from the wings.

  29. I’d assume we all might’ve “taken” 1 win out of the 1st 2 games.

    Take the 3 points at 17-8, collect the resultant restart, bobs yir uncle

    More musings

    When is Hastings back?

    We have a very strong 1st 23 but in some positions, but then quite a drop a in terms of quality.

    The injured Redpath, Hastings, Steyn, Maitland would’ve improved yesterdays options & I am convinced Bennett & Jones are an upgrade on Harris.

    Rory Hutchinson is a strange one, IMO he is potentially top class but never gets a look in.

    Ritchie will be back & Crosbie should be on the bench in Paris

    1. This is a valid point about Hutchinson why is he always overlooked?also on the subject of centres Is Taylor injured currently?

  30. As much as I’d love to, you can’t blame the ref or the red card for that loss. We showed incredible game management when we went down to 14 last week, where did that go this week? Pivac showed us his hand when he switched his 9&10 at 48 minutes…they were looking to play a more expansive game. So why when we went down to 14 did we take a back three off?! The extra space gifted Wales their tries (mixed with some individual brilliance). Our forwards would have coped being a man down, for me that was the game changing decision.

    There’s still something inherently wrong with the Scottish psyche. I can’t help but feel if we had a Paul O’Connell/Martin Johnson type leader we would have kicked the corners from 14 points up and not let them out their half and ground out the win.

    Makes me think last week was more England being poor than us being great.

    The reason you tear your hair out is man for man we were as good if not better than Wales. We are wasting a golden generation.

    1. Yes they would have kicked the corners, not let the out of their half and ground out the win. They would have been able to do that because they wouldn’t have given away stupid penalties in quick succession to pile the pressure on themselves and then put the icing on the cake by getting a player sent off.

      Also agree that it was a bad decision taking a back off for the red card. Our forwards had parity and probably the upper hand for most of the game, I’m sure they would have managed with one missing. Wales were making gains out wide though. Would have been a good time to hook Gary Graham, I’m sure big Duhan could have leant his bulk to the back row in a scrum if required.

      1. Apparently more teams reduced to 14 win by keeping their full backs complement, than by subbing off a back to maintain the full complement of forwards. Given Wales were finding gaps out wide, it was a poor decision to take DG off. It might well have stopped LRZ’s chip score (but who knows, they might’ve scored elsewhere).

  31. Woke up with this thought. In a parallel universe : Owen Watkin’s despairing tap tackle is 6” short of de Merwe’s ankle (or Duhan takes one more stride in a straight line before swerving thus avoiding Watkin) and Duhan sweeps past the prostrate Zammit to touch down under the posts. The commentators go mad, Welsh players collapse to the ground and the Scots players go mental. Fans at home punch holes in their ceilings and spill beer and snacks over the lounge carpet etc. Afterwards, taking into account Finn’s ridiculous rubber ball bounce back up and ‘beat 4 defenders’ offload and the match situation, it is hailed across the rugby world as another ‘try from the end of the world’ and every Scot can bask in one of the best sporting moments of their anguished Scotland supporting lives…


    1. I was thinking the same thing all day yesterday. Tap tackle attempts are desperate and hopeful rather than expectant. If he doesn’t connect, nobody is talking about anything other than Finn Russell and he probably makes the New Years Honours list.

      1. This is brilliant…Scotland have been subject to many ladt minute losses in a winning position but not sure I remember many of coming back and scoring…we’ve made the break but failed in last moment….

        One thing to clarify LRZ slipped do to VDM changing his line so had he stayed straight he’d have had to run over him but I’m sure he would have obliged!!!

  32. It’s about time the red card punishment was revised, so that once a player is red carded a replacement can be brought on from the bench. Surely with the health and safety rules
    being constantly reviewed and tightened red cards are going to happen more often .
    The current red card system is killing the competitiveness of rugby and endangering the safety of the 14 man side.
    World rugby must act fast to address the balance, or risk spoiling the even competitive element of the rugby match.

    1. What gets me most is…referee(s) make a red/yellow decision. Fine with that…no other option. Mistakes will be made either way when the situation is orange.

      But an orange called yellow can be upgraded to a red with ban to follow.

      The orange called red cannot be downgraded, it’s a fait accomplis…A 3 match ban or more can be signed sealed and delivered by one ref…he(or she) does not need to listen to anyone…

      I don’t think we really need orange cards but the post match process needs to recognise referee mistakes will be made both ways…

      Players need a genuine avenue of appeal…The current tribunal process is an exercise in submission only.

  33. PS Given that Liam Williams knocked back Duhan’s attempted off load at the end so it was not a knock on (Carley never inidcated it was either) why did Harris not get the penalty for holding on. Seemed to be clearly on the ball and supporting his own weight for a good couple of seconds until squished down by late arriving Welsh support. Don’t think anyone would have been aghast had it been given. Would Finn have scored it is another question.

    1. I’m bewildered myself having thought Hogg knocked on so it didn’t matter but he didn’t and ref didn’t give it as such.

      Horrible call and brain freeze…he was on that ball for an age….much longer than he gave at any other time in the match….Russel has the balls to have made the kick….

  34. On the decision to not kick penalties I think there were two factors here! Early in the game we had the collective belief in our ability to comfortably beat them with a four try bonus point! Later in the game it was about controlling the clock, keeping pressure on them, trying to get someone carded from their scrum and trying to avoid a restart with them challenging in our 22.

    With hindsight it might have been better to take penalty points and have confidence in our ability to win the restart and get back up the pitch but I can understand what they were thinking having seen years of dodgy restart collection.

    1. I’m only half – joking, but it might, in these situations, be an idea to have a look at the scoreboard and ask ourselves ‘What would the All Blacks do?’.

    2. Not with hindsight at all. I was always bawling take the points. at 17 – 3 , at 17-8 even, it was a no brainer – just keep it moving, get to half time, chat with the boss.

      1. Agreed guys so infuriating….and they all made that call…no one with their smart head on saying guys let’s think for a minute….look at score board….we take the points and build again…

  35. I thought in this post moneyball era people better understand the likely outcomes of certain events. Yes, one single moment changed the whole game and yes that moment was the red card (also dished out despite the TMO). Forget everything else.

  36. Two questions:

    1) was that the most painful loss by Scotland in the six nations? This feels worse than Cardiff 2010 as a win there would have been unexpected whereas this game should have been put to bed in the first half.

    2) are we at the point Ireland were at with their ‘golden generation’ (good but not winning trophies) before Schmitt came in and got them over the summit and winning 6N? I’m not asking this as a Townsend yes/no debate, more asking what we need to do to find whatever it was Ireland got that took them to the title.

    1. I’m not sure this generation will ever have a better chance to win a Grand Slam than the one we passed up on yesterday. We were set up perfectly to win the Triple Crown right ahead of Lions selection. Very disappointing that they couldn’t clear a relatively straight forward hurdle.

  37. Disappointed to see the turncoat Gary Graham sabotage the team for Eddie Jones and the rose.

    Typical people, hear the hype about a player playing for Newcastle of all teams and think he is going to shine at international level. Matt Fagerson is clearly our 8 for the next decade, Excellent power and footwork and you can see the passion when he represents the thistle.

    I thought Blade looked handy for the time he was on also.

    1. Will you be calling Cameron Redpath a turncoat the next time he has a bad game? Graham played poorly but there is no need to question his loyalty to Scotland in such a derisory fashion. I thought we were better than that on this forum. Leave the name calling nonsense to footballing types and bitter young Welsh lads on the BBC forum before they play England in 2 weeks.

    2. Fagerson had his detractors on here. Usual thing to lay into players.
      Newcastle are doing well in the premiership and Graham is their star forward. It’s a step up and takes time.
      He’s not why we lost.

  38. I find it strange Hutchinson doesn’t get a look in. Also on the subject of centres is Taylor injured?

    1. Taylor played for Sarries at the weekend and scored a try. I think he came through it without any fresh injuries.

  39. It took France 2 minutes to get the benefit of the referees preconceived assumptions in today’s game. Two man overlap knock on by last defender in French line. There’s no way Scotland gets away with that, especially if that bastard Carley has the whistle.

  40. For any sport to be meaningful it has to be officiated fairly. Didn’t happen yesterday. We were hard done by on that score. It all seems surreal with no crowd and it certainly diminishes home advantage. Apart from stupid penalties thought Scotland played well.

  41. In the interests of saving the planet, It was a nice green gesture for the Welsh to bring their own ref with them on the bus rather than have a neutral to make his own way.

  42. Wales going for the Triple Crown next week…. If they manage that old Warren will load the plane with his old mates and will be justified in doing so.

    I actually hope that England beat them by 40 points. That way they’ll be in the same position as us 4 years ago (minus the red cards) and can expect 2 or 3 in the squad.

  43. Just watched how France handled a penalty advantage close to the Irish line.No panic, just moved the ball from side to side confident in their handling until the opening came and in they went. Contrast that with our attempts in the same situation,grubber or cross field hit and hope kick or trying a fancy offload.The top teams have patience in that situation.We need to have the same

  44. Still can’t believe we lost that and looking at ESPN Stats it should be an impossibility to lose. On reflection the key turning point was the butchered GG/SC Try after about 12 phases. Wales had one visit to our red zone and scored after 2 phases. Our forwards (other than hookers) just don’t score tries so I am baffled on why we persist when we have such quality in Finn, VDM & Hogg. Another annoyance is Finn rushing to thread impossible grubbers with pen adv. Why not launch some in the air and have a 50/50 battle in the huge Murrayfield in-goal area. Other key moments was Hogg slip on the poor Murrayfield surface and that tap-tackle on Duhan and not getting the pen when Harris was latched onto ball at the end. Carley is a crap ref and the multiple offsides when defending their line was a dereliction of duty but Zander gave him the option. On calm reflection I think ZF saw an opportunity to have a chap shot at his direct opponent. This performance will feed the Gatland mindset that we bottle the key moments, we do it in the Pro14 and we have done for years on international stage. This is not an easy fix but we need to see improvements otherwise individual brilliance will only get us so far. Final thought, we need to get DVDM into the game more effectively and sort out our maul and maul defence.

  45. Sorry to see the comments resort to blaming the ref, and hoping Wales get beaten heavily in their remaining games? I’d rather focus on where we go from here…

    Scotland will beat Italy for sure. Much as I’d like to see a really strong Italy in the Six nations, they just aren’t good enough at the moment. On the strength of our two games so far versus France’s performances…I hate to say it but I can’t see us winning in Paris. Scotland/Ireland will be interesting. I’d say 50/50. Ireland have played well in patches in both games so far, but are unlucky to be played-two-lost-two. Scotland perfectly capable of beating them but not a given.

    1. I’m a bit more optimistic about the France match. They like to use heavy midfield runners off their set pieces and we’ve been pretty good so far at shutting that line of attack down.

      Equally, we’re not too shabby ourselves at driving down centre field and recycling.

      The France defence has improved a great deal under Shaun Edwards’s guidance but Ireland today never really tried the grubber or chip to get behind them. Something we’ll see quite a bit of from Russell and Hogg, if we can get enough front-foot possession of course.

      As to venue and home advantage, we might as well be playing on the Meadows or Bois de Boulogne in front of two men and a dog so that’s a plus.

      France are a strong side, and in DuPont and Jaulibert have one of the best half-back pairings in world rugby right now.

      Still, many of us (well, me anyway) worried about getting beasted by England up front, and the opposite happened.

      A narrow loss of a Test we really should have won yesterday shouldn’t mean we’re marked down for a gubbing in a fortnight against a team that hardly rolled Ireland over today.

  46. One issue with yesterday’s team is that neither centre offers much of an attacking threat. Having Redpath (admittedly on the basis of one showing) and/or Jones at centre would give us valuable attacking options.

    1. Thought Jones looked lively when he came on and should have had pen for high tackle. Would like to see him given a start v Italy but can’t see him in contention for start v Fra or Ire.

  47. Sorry, but who was that guy Lang again? Gey lang afore we see him again, one hopes. Ditto the one weighed down by his own beard.

    Focusing on one absurdist defeat is wrong though. We totally hammered England and Wales in terms of possession, but games are won on points not possession. So many wrong-headed decisions yesterday when nine points went begging through the posts. Try opportunities come and go, but take the upright gifts when given. And we can absolutely take this Ireland team next month.

    Brightest highlight of the w/e? Utterly superb, intelligent refereeing from Luke Pearce at the Aviva. Pity no one of his calibre had the peeper at Murrayfield yesterday.

  48. Anyone else think we need some set moves when close to the line?

    Maybe we’ve got them but just didn’t use them.

    Might ease the pressure on the players a bit.

    1. Jonny is that because you felt there were too many 1, 2 metre pick a goes from yesterday’s game when we went down to 14 men?

    2. We deffo need to practise plays on the try line. I was struck by J Gray saying he was having to learn the Exeter playbook from 5m out when he arrived at Exeter. Exeter have the best record in Premiership of converting in red zone and it is very structured with players taking up Pre-determined positions and all forwards are schooled in it and it is effective. Easier to drill at club level but I would hope Scotland practise similar. Wales looked a pretty average team but they have many seasoned pros and their forward cap count was double ours and probably not a coincidence that against Ire they had 2 try chances and scored both times and on Sat had one visit to our try line and converted after only 2 phases. This is the clinical finishing that we lack.

      1. I wonder if the lines of JG are given the opportunity to say how it’s done at Exeter. There was little evidence of players have much of a strategy on the Welsh line.

      2. I seen George Turner think he was Luke Cowan-Dickie at one point, they are maybe trying to implement it but it will take time, and patience, and a nasty streak

      3. Ireland are a great role model in this department. They try the forward stuff a couple of times and then pull out a set move with quick ball. We have been caught out by this from them a few times.

  49. Don’t mind losing to good teams playing well but to lose to sh*t team playing sh*t.
    Cannot take anymore. Last time I will watch Sotland – I just cannot take the stress and utter disappointment. Ireland will crucify us as usual and France run rings round us. Taking any bets for Italy? There is something rotten at he core of Scottish rugby = play reasonably well and still lose. Would not have been so bad if we had played badly – should have been out of sight by half time. Penalties, my god – all brainless.

  50. Sir Ian McGeechan – very rarely says anything against a ref:

    “I have to say I did not agree with the red card. That is not sour grapes on my part. I know it was contact with the head and Fagerson’s arms were down. But I thought it was extremely dubious. He was committed to the ruck and he was clearing out a player competing for the ball. At the same time Wyn Jones was lifted. Yes there was contact. But what I didn’t understand was the referee saying there were ‘no mitigating circumstances’. Wyn Jones’ head was lifted. When you’re committed to a ruck then there’s nothing you can do about it. I thought a yellow card would have sufficed.

    It was a shame because it affected the game. Wales came away from that and two minutes later Wyn Jones scores to put the visitors ahead.”

    1. Indeed…you would have think that the player taken out by Fagerson would have needed to be off the field for an HIA rather than down the other end scoring a try.

  51. Random point coming up, but what really put the sh**e icing on the cake for me was listening to Davies and Guscott crow on with their barefaced piss-taking in the face of John Barclay just gritting his teeth and bearing it, all as part of the BBC “analysis” at the end of the game. I would have so much respect if one day, either he or Andy Nicol just nutted Guscott and told the BBC where to stick their contract. Maybe we could petition Finlay Calder, JJ or Gary Armstrong to sub for Barclay next time as they could wade in on Guscott and Davies properly.
    Maybe it’s just me, it’s been a long (and disappointing) weekend…..

    1. Aye your right about that! Either 3 of those would be perfect tonic. But possibly they would not dream of taking the pi$*. One look from Fin,Gary or JJ would put a halt to it. It’s the god damn arrogance which gets you. It was a pleasure to hear even Warburtons tones lower when we were winning. Mind I’ll never forget seeing Guscott leaving Murrayfield in the rain in 2000. He couldn’t get away quick enough puffing away on his cigarette!

      1. Davies was out of order yesterday. His comments crossed a boundary, write to the BBC. I think it is time for the BBC to dump him. He is a long time out of this game and it is quite sad that he has not moved on actually.You never know, they may be just waiting for a barrage of complaints to put in front of the old bot network that is backing him.

      2. Am I the only one who finds the standard of punditry disappointing across the board this tournament? Woodward, Johnson, Wilkinson, Guscott… all fantastic players or coaches in their day but don’t seem to have their finger on the pulse of the modern game and rarely offer any insight that is particularly interesting. Benjamin Kayser is an exception and I also actually rate Jim Hamilton.

    2. It did feel a bit distasteful from JD particularly….I don’t think he’s as bad or bias as some think but that was noticeable on Saturday and he was like a school bully goading the smaller younger new kid who didn’t have any friends yet.

  52. Amongst the many frustrating things to happen, Three things in particular have been gnawing away it me since the end of the game.

    1. When Graham/Cummings were penalised for obstruction when cocking up the score attempt on the welsh line, was penalty advantage being played and if so, why didn’t the ref go back for the original infringement as required under Law 7?

    2. When Fagerson was sent off, why was Darcy immediately and permanently withdrawn when we only needed to bring on a replacement prop when a scrum was called? As Ireland showed last week, it’s a lot easier to cope being a forward down than a back down

    3. When VDM was tap tackled at the end Williams knocked the ball back then tackled Hogg without the ball. This was then compounded by the welsh defender then holding on to the ball whilst Harris was trying to get it. Two clear and obvious penalties in quick succession, either of which was kickable and yet neither the ref not TMO wanted to know.

    Two bits of bad officiating and one bit of bad coaching strategy. I know Scotland’s standing in WR circles is pretty low after the debacle of the World Cup and we aren’t respected at all
    by the governing bodies but I would be disappointed if the refs report submitted after the game didn’t at least call into question the poor standard of officiating at key points. We can have no complaints about the red card which was correct but that doesn’t mean the officiating wasn’t wildly inconsistent.

    1. 1. I think we had taken a scrum (maybe a tap) for the penalty and advantage was therefore over…?

    2. There were multiples offences going on as we battered the welsh line. Them not being behind the try line or the back foot of the ruck prevented the try being scored. The also happened against England and is contributing to why we are struggling to score in these situations. Does someone need to ask the ref to sort it on field. Does it need to be brought up with the meeting with the ref before the game (ref will you apply the law properly please?). So Scotland should have been playing advantage but it simply wasn’t given. Carley had a very bad day at the office.

      1. I’ve rewatched that and video is on Twitter…

        It’s as bad as the last play in game.. reffing of the lowest drawer in my opinion…so many chances to be pinged for offside here….how he couldn’t give anything here with the penalty count already racking up from previous pressure in 22. He didn’t need to give a yellow he did need to give a warning….there was no excuse really…awful awful awful!!!

  53. On balance…

    Did we play poorly overall: No, I think we had the better of the game albeit in the middle 80m of the pitch

    Did we make mistakes at each end leading to tries scored/missed: Yes…DVDW for the first Wales try, Cummings/Graham foul up…there’s 10 points straight away. Getting carded, Price bad kick at 77 minutes. I think it was not wrong to kick necessarily, but it was a pointless kick…needed to go out or to be chased

    Can we cut out our mistakes: Yes…not completely maybe but we are making mistakes in the red zone that we don’t seem to in the middle. Some chill-pills needed…

    Did Wales play well: Not really
    Did Wales do the right things at the right times: Yes

    Did the referee also make mistakes: Yes
    Can we cut out the referees mistakes: No

    I’m not happy with the result at all. The win was in our hands, but there is a real clear learning experience there for the players…you are good enough, relax, no need for heroics always, trust the systems in place and the man next to you to play his role.

    Frankly I think the Gatberg has a point…until players can do their jobs with a cool head why should he pick them?

    PS even if 15 Scots were selected, its a Lions boycott for me…not a team I feel I can get behind…

    1. Very good comment. I think we are close, very close to getting it right and this is one of the final building blocks. I hope there is real “anger” about losing a game that we should have won at a canter. Turn the pain into a positive.

      There has to be more we do in terms of influencing the referee -other teams do it better than us. Teams constantly getting away with offside when defending their line against us – can a captain not ask the referee to watch for this during the match? Can the forwards not let Hogg know it is happening? AWJ always hanging always saying stuff to the ref. He is a phenomenal presence on the pitch and is working out what the ref is wanting, plus I would guess making the odd “suggestion”. Are we talking about this, coaching this, helping Hogg to do the same? Never in a whiny Sexton way but rather more like AWJ – got to admire him and way he captains his side.

      Like you, Alanyst, I don’t care about the Lions – aside from perhaps the impact it might have on Scotland through the experience our players gain through it. So if it makes them better players then we need them to be there and it will be part of our future success.

    2. I was screaming at the TV over that Price kick as well. However, seeing it again he was just unlucky. He slipped as kicked it which is why it didn’t get near touch.

      Still fuming over Carley’s lack of action in the final seconds. Surprised he didn’t run down the tunnel after that. It’s not that I think he made a lot of bad decisions in the game, it honestly felt Ike he was working against us.

      1. We don’t seem to work to his style of reffing nor adapt. In saying that he gave us 16 pens…so how did we not make more of it??? Most refs are reluctant to give yellows for repeated pens…will be a directive from the top…so cheating is almost always rewarded which I really detest!!!

        But I’d imagine seeing 16 pens against Wales there will be questions to him why they weren’t given a yellow?

        However refs are human and make errors just like players (the man on the park with least errors individually during a match will almost always be the ref….just those errors have more weight usually) so lacks in concentration, forgetting how many pens have been given in match happens. Seeing something that didn’t happen or making the wrong call.

        I’m so frustrated by those lapses on Sat and this particular ref seems not to have the same empathy as others but I dont think refs go out to be bias or make mistakes!!!

      2. I think Carley is just not very good…he’s only got 2 matches this year and one last year…last year in his only game Wales were claiming to be “done” by him as they lost narrowly at home against France.

        Anyway after Barnes in Paris we’ve got Poite for Ireland so we’d better get used to some fairly random decisions. Also non-decisions communicated with a tiny shrug

  54. To my mind it all comes down to discipline.
    We gave away 3 penalties in succession to allow Wales the opening score. 3points.
    Then gave away 4 penalties in succession just before half time. 5 points.
    Zanders red card, obviously. At least 7 points.
    There are times when errors or enthusiasm give penalties away. I can live with that. But when you’ve just given a penalty away, there should be a heightened sense of awareness, with everyone trying to be whiter than white in the eyes of the ref. We lost that game because of half a dozen stupid penalties.
    Obviously, being Scottish, I think Wales should have had at least one yellow card. Either for repeated offenses just before Cummings non-try, or Williams leading elbow. BUT the reason we lost was our own indiscipline, and following up one error with another (or two, or three).

    1. Definitely main reason for sure Merlot!!!! We botched the chance….however in line with most things these days ppl are in one camp or the other…the reality is in matches but especially this one there were a number of major contributing factors…I’d say they were at least 4 main areas and had one of those areas not existed we’d have won…

      1. Game Management. Kick at least some of the pen points on offer.
      2. Discipline compounding error after error
      3. Red Card big game changer
      4. And questionable calls at crucial times by ref. Not giving them a yellow for 16pens or Liam Williams and the last play was a clear pen…

      So just because its seen as bad form or a bad loser we aren’t morally allowed to blame ref. But in this game his decisions have contributed to the loss and should be recognised as such along with a number of our own faults!!!

  55. When Cummings and Graham went for the line, Cummings received the pass but fumbled it into Gary Graham’s hands, he was the receiver so wasn’t running a blocking line, why did ref give a penalty against us? If Graham failed to ground the ball it should have been scrum 5 to Scots or if Cummings judged to have knocked on a scrum to Wales???

    1. I just watched this again. A few things I noticed, 1) Penalty and hooker took quick tap and ran straight into heart of Welsh defence on his own!!! The rest of the calvery came late – should have been a wedge hit on defence. 2) When price was digging ball out just prior to pass he took/stumbled back a step or so before passing ball … Cummings over ran the pass. 3) Fargerson jnr was standing right up against Price when he was getting the ball thus blocking his path of passing out. 4) Scotland kept going to left of the ruck all the time during pick/drive. Couple of times going right would have had thinner defence. Need to go either way not just one way

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