Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 144 – Zander Slander


Cammy, John and Iain catch up with the latest news from the world of Scottish rugby, look ahead to Scotland’s game against France and wonder whether the Lions is really worth it.

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

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72 Responses

  1. In a funny way – the France game postponed (though ruining the weekend) could make things more exciting. We now have Ireland at home still while tilting for the Championship. And Italy. Then a cup final against France whenever that may be… keeps it all to play for each game and exciting!

  2. On the ban. It beggars belief that while the ‘6 weeks reduced to three (or four)’ is rigid, there does not seem to be a clear definition as to what a week is…sometimes its actually a week, sometimes matches. Sometimes the matches are specified, other times not.

    The whole process is an inconsistent mess.

    1. I thought it was impossible for me to have any less regard for the disciplinary process before this ruling but I stand corrected.

    2. Sorry…it’s not inconsistent and biased it’s “fact sensitive and player specific”.

      They actually said player specific. Not even case specific.

      I can hear the kangaroos from here. Here’s an idea, a week in the season is a week…done.

  3. Rob Robertson reporting Huw Jones finally decided he’s off.

    Don’t blame him really, probably better for Scotland too.

    Not so good for Glasgow but hopefully there’ll be more budget for other areas. At least the fullback issue has been addressed.

      1. Bayonne as previously rumoured. They are in a relegation fight though – Jones hinted his value had taken a dive over previous few years. I really think he was treated quite poorly at Glasgow apparently he was much happier with Wilson.

  4. I think Scotland have a decent fixture list for the RWC. SA first, so possibly chance to surprise them if we can get our prep right. Then two games against unseeded sides and then hopefully a decider against Ireland so see if we’ll go through.

    Ireland play SA just before us. I think it’s good we have some space between our key games and hopefully SA will beat up Ireland a bit when we can rest some people against Europe 2.

  5. I’m sorry to see another quality player leave Glasgow. He was treated poorly by Rennie like a number of players. It’s been said by others previously on this forum Rennie left Glasgow in a bad state. I was glad to see the back of him. I do not envy Wilson’s task of rebuilding the team.

    1. Not sure if Bayonne sounds like the best of moves to be honest. He does needs to get away from Glasgow where he seems over coached, whilst being marginalised and played out of position. He could be heading for obscurity if Bayonne don’t come good. Nice to be playing rugby with the sun of your back mind.

      1. Yep. Suspected as much when they lost the opening game. Something needs to change, management-wise.

      2. Surely Duncan Hodge’s work with the backs needs looking at. Most passing moves cost them 15-20 yards they are so deep and this would only work if there were good angles and dummy runners being used but Dean just drifts outwards closing the space. Mark Bennet might be close to being back to something like husbScotland form but hard to tell in that system.

  6. Watching Ire vs Ity today, it occurs that Scotland will need to play 10 times faster than in their last two games to dominate Ireland. Ireland forwards and backs are slick in moving the ball and they usually dominate the breakdown. Remember also that Mr Barnes sees no problems with Irish tactics.

  7. Interesting that Kilcoyne committed the exact same offence as Fagerson and it wasn’t even mentioned, let alone red carded.

      1. Ireland got him off pronto (so to speak). Doubt it’ll get cited. Can’t remember the last time something not identified during the game was.

  8. Eng vs Wal. Lunacy that a player should be penalised for not moving away when there are opposition players lying on top of him, completely preventing any movement. Both sides penalised this way. There are lots of situations in modern rugby where the laws really need to be changed, both in terms of player safety and sheer good sense.

  9. Wow. Wales should be presented with the trophy now. Another display of shocking officiating. Just waiting for the red card now.

  10. I’m can’t really see how hating Wales and desperately willing Wales to lose helps Scotland any ?

  11. Think we could do with moving away from the straitjacket of rugby’s set positions.

    Why not pick Hogg and Russell as dual 10s to be our fulcrum. Huw Jones as last man back with his big tackles and pace. Crosbie and Ally Miller on the wings where their pace and power would be a game changer.

  12. Watching the England Wales game yesterday, yet another where the outcome was decided by the referee. I must admit to have been rooting for England, After Wales continually beating us with 16 against 14 it would have been nice for them to get a dose of their own medicine -but no.
    Despite the final score line showing they won by more than 14 points, those 2 tries that never were would be enough to destroy the faith of any team. How Farrel kept his composure in the press conference at the end is surprising as you just know he is a hothead. It’s a pity the guys playing the game at the top level have such respect for the rules because i think it has went beyond the point where teams need to just walk off the pitch when decisions made by the ref are so obviously wrong as the one where Farrel was giving his players a talking to on the instructions of the ref. But i suppose that’s the difference from oval ball and football.
    At the end of the day when a team wins the grand slam in rugby they have usually played some champagne rugby on top of resolute defence. This year Wales could do it without the latter , just barrowloads of luck.

    1. When have you ever seen a football team walk off the pitch because theY didn’t like the refereeing? I agree that the first try was a shocker, but let’s not waste too much sympathy on England. We had it just as badly from the officials against Wales, and unlike England were the better team otherwise. The English press and public didn’t seem to care about questionable decisions then.

      As for commending Farrell on keeping his composure after the game, that’s just how they’re trained to handle all interviews. If this had been Scotland and Stuart Hogg had shouted at the ref the way Farrell did, the media focus would have been on his lack of composure (and Scotland’s failure to set up properly).

      If this had been football and anyone had screamed at the ref like Farrell did it would have been an immediate yellow. Lets not try to claim any moral high ground for rugby here.

      1. The difference between Rugby refereeing and almost every other sport is that their decisions have more score-weight relative to the natural score-weight of the game.

        In comparison to football for example, a direct high %age scoring opportunity (a penalty) exists over most of the opposition half, vs only in a small area adjacent to goal.

        In rugby league, the penalty kick is worth only 2 and is not usually relied on for scoring potential. A second set of 6 is preferred.

        At some levels, this makes rugby union a cheats game, where getting the other team pinged is a distinct aim for many teams. Holding the tackler in is a classic for this, also “jackals” who don’t actually want the ball etc etc.

        A solution is to derisk these decisions. i.e. free kick & +10m for routine infringements like breakdown penalties and offside. Keep the penalties for dangerous or cynical play and proffessional fouls, in particular offences in the last 10m.

        I think it will actually reduce the degree of cheating done in the pursuit of penalties.

        In turn referees won’t be so result-critical, we won’t need to TMO everything, and we can get on with the game.

  13. I’ll be honest watching Glasgow and Edinburgh this weekend plus the 6 nations issues, I just want this season over with. Start again next season. Hastings and Nakawara shouldn’t play for Glasgow again until they move.

    1. Maybe I spoke too soon. Quite a bit to work with theirfrom Glasgow. Took odd mins for Leinster to score again on the second half, Glasgow just looked shattered, no surprising when you have a red card and two yellows in the same game. Ross Thompson to start at 10 for the rest of the season please, he looks a really good prospect. Again. Huw Jones will be a big miss, another excellent game from him.

    2. Nakawra is completely unfit how many times did he lose the ball in collision,tackle?

      1. Nakawara shouldn’t play again this season, not fit. Having said that I’m not sure there are many options. I prefer Harley in the back row than at lock. Shame Glasgow couldn’t capture Cameron Henderson, he looked superb at under 20s.

  14. Watching v Leinster Glasgow, didn’t switch on until 23 minutes in, Glasgow 3 tries to 1 against already. For 25 minutes I watched Glasgow have the majority of the ball, the majority of territory the backs ran some interesting lines together with the forwards who made some hard yards in the loose but time and again we coughed the ball up in the tackle , had it ripped from our grasp with 2 on 1 tackling or lost it trying ridiculous offloads that were never on very frustrating given the number of internationals playing for Glasgow. Seeing the half time highlights this contrasted sharply with how easily Leinster were scoring it seems every time Leinster got in our 22 you knew they would come out with points.
    It is a combined show of men against boys.
    No idea what our winger Forbes was thinking taking out the Irish player in the air on the line, it was going to be a card all day long for that but worse was to come with Hastings following through with a karate kick on an Irish player as he collected a high ball. Madness, self inflicted suicide, call it what you will but I don’t think I can face the 2nd half.

  15. Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Tom Gordon, Adam Hastings (until he was horsed) were excellent. Ross Thompson & Jamie Dobie look real prospects. It was the cards & the accuracy that done for Glasgow.
    Jones & Johnson should defo start at centre v Ireland

    1. For me…after a terrible start…Glasgow eventually got their crap together.
      Tom Gordon impressed me…looks very similar in build and style to H Watson. Cant be far from backing up Watson at test level? Should be called into next squad.
      Hugh Jones performed at a level that made it look ridiculous how he has been coached and treated over the last 3years. He is a 13 all day long…not a FB.
      R Thompson looks a better prospect than Hastings. Considering his inexperience he plays with a much older head. Quite dynamic at times too.
      R McLean will be a player some day too…needs to bulk up…but the raw talent is clearly there.
      R Gray looks easily Scotlands best lineout option.
      Had Glasgow kept their discipline they were right in this match and were putting Leinster on the back foot and causing problems whenever they attacked.

      1. Yeah it’s a real shame with the back three cover they’ve now signed that they couldn’t keep Jones around another year to play centre. Of course maybe they couldn’t afford to do both…

  16. The inconsistency of refs is reaching silly levels now. When Glasgow played ulster Ryan Wilson dives on a player on the ground and it’s a straight yellow. Today twice leinster did the exact same thing and no card. The second one, which caused the response from Ione includes jumping both feet into the air so out of control, tackling a player off feet so always illegal landing with a knee direct to the head of (was it ollie Smith). Result, penalty to Leinster yellow card to Glasgow. Wtf.

      1. When did he last give us a red ! (apart from this evening) I don’t disagree , he is an awful ref, but I cannot recall very many reds coming Glasgow’s way , ever, let alone at the whistle of Frank Murphy. I think this is an exaggeration.

      2. Grant Stewart, mixed lineout, excellent loose play. Kebble was on form as he has been all season. We lost but a great effort. Huw Jones: class act.

      3. I don’t keep a database of this stuff, but I think he’s given us two before.

  17. Genuinely proud of the Warriors performance for the first time this season. But why do we have to wait until we are, yet again, at the poor end of yet more Irish mafia reffing by Murphy/Clancy/Lacey (delete as appropriate) before we get a reaction. Why can’t we play like this every week?

    Don’t often comment on the boys at the far end of the M8 but Edinburgh looked good yesterday playing open expansive rugby rather than never getting past the 10. Scarlets only won because they looked more used to an open game and reacted better to events. One of the best games I have watched in the Pro 14 this season. Well played both sides.

  18. My team for Ireland:

    Stuart Hogg – Sean Maitland – Huw Jones – Duncan Taylor – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price
    Matt Fagerson – Hamish Watson – Jamie Ritchie – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Simon Berghan – George Turner – Rory Sutherland

    Darcy Graham – Chris Harris – Jamie Dobie – Sam Skinner – Richie Gray – Willem Nel – Grant Stewart – Oli Kebble

    Huw Jones looked class at 13 (attack and defence) against Leinster, Harris admittedly has stepped up in the last two tournaments, but this guy is a different level on the form he is now showing.

    Grant Stewart was good also, i would not be to fussed if him or Cherry, think it would be good for Stewart to get a cap and push on however.

    1. I cannot pick our best loosehead, they are all good. Kebble appears to be on form, Sutherland is capable of even more than we get just now and Schoeman while not quite at his best this year (who is) is likely to give us even more positive selection worries.

      Eventually we will click, it feels to me that the opposition are no longer beating us.

      Huw Jones: Always was class, I think just playing his natural game again.

  19. contrary to my previous post, I saw out the 2nd half last night. It was entertaining and just a pity Loane gave away the yellow card as an upset may have been on the cards. I think Huw Jones was the standout player from both teams, something has went wrong in the handling of the man these last 3 years. Regardless, I don’t think we will see him at 13 for Scotland anytime soon. Much as Hastings looked confident on his first game back his red card was his own fault and I though Ross Thomson was not a step down, this young man should be given plenty of exposure in the 10 position. Kebble was excellent in the scrum and continues to live up to his potential, unlike schoeman.

    1. I think it’s become clear that the problem with Huw Jones and a number of other players was Rennie, who seemed to win the undying loyalty of some players whilst pushing others out into the cold. I actually think Rennie did a good job on the pitch and fostered the careers of some young players well, but Scotland just can’t afford to squander talent like we did with Jones and Dunbar (whose career went into terminal decline under Rennie).

    1. Latest comments from Laporte beggar belief.

      He confirmed Galthie left covid bubble at french training base to watch his son play but he didn’t see a problem as Galthie wore a mask.

      He said ‘I don’t see where the problem could be but then I am not a doctor’, apparently calling into question the whole concept of the bio-secure bubbles the 6N teams had signed up to. Combined with the reports of french players going out for waffles in Rome and him n close contact without a mask with DuPont at an awards dinner, it really raises the question whether France should escape unpunished from putting the tournament in doubt.

      In the other hand, no one wins if the game is called off and it is obviously not a good resolution if there is no legitimate winner because one or more teams cannot complete their programme of matches. If the french government intervened as threatened the predicament might be taken out of the 6N committee hands.

      1. Not like the French to be arrogant…

        On a technical level, they are the home team so probably that gives them the “responsibility” to arrange the rescheduled game…

      2. Yes that would seem reasonable, providing they can find a date in an international release window, which they can’t.

        In which case they need to work with Scotland to find a date that is mutually acceptable.

  20. I think the most likely outcome now is France’s ejection from the tournament and all their results null and void. Just when you think Wales’ luck can’t get any better. Although presumably it wouldn’t be considered a grand slam which would be fair considering all that has happened.

  21. Thought both club games were much better from a Scottish perspective. With Edi now all but out of qualification it’s time for the young boys to be given starts to see what they can do. It’s also time to expand the gameplan and get the ball past 9.

    Glasgow were unlucky and put in a great shift. Recruitment looks more positive there this year and still think it’s likely one of Bradbury/Crosbie will go there which makes sense. Been a tough season for both sides but there are plenty of decent young guys coming through.

  22. Potential Glasgow starting team next season:

    Cole Forbes – Tommy Seymour – Kyle Steyn – Sam Johnson – Josh McKay – Ross Thompson – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Tom Gordon – Jack Dempsey – Scott Cummings (Captain) – Richie Gray – Zander Fagerson – George Turner – Oli Kebble

    Sione Tuipolotu – Duncan Weir – George Horne – Ryan Wilson – Kiran Mcdonald – Simon Berghan – Fraser Brown – Jamie Bhatti

    Looks to be a better balance than this season and better bench depth. Definitely spots up for grabs in the centre and Back-Three which will be exciting.

    Crazy to think one of Dobie, Horne and Price are going to miss out each week, any of them would start for Edinburgh, even Sean Kennedy would be pushing for an Edinburgh starting spot.

  23. I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with the recruitment at both Edinburgh and Glasgow at this stage. Contrary to the scepticism from the pod last week I think the age profile and the fact that all the new recruitment are already playing at a good elite level makes the Glasgow recruitment exciting and despite losing Duhan I think Lang and vellacot give a much better balance to Edinburgh. I still think Scottish Rugby needs to source a new tighthead somewhere and Glasgow probably needs another lock and back rower but generally really looking forward to next season. And I’m going to say it I’m impressed by Danny Wilson.

    1. Sorry Sam, whilst I was heartened with the display against Leinster and I agree that some of the recruitment looks good we must face facts I’m afraid (a) we are below Zebre in the league (b) we have half the points of Ospreys who it was suggested we were fighting for a champions cup place (c) we have won 25% of our games (d) we are loosing Hastings and Jones. Additionally all our competitors have been dealing with covid, international call ups and injuries this year as well, we are not special in that regard. Rather takes the shine off things a bit don’t you think.
      I think Danny Wilson comes across well and seems a genuinely decent guy however I come back to a point I have made before, he was the easiest and cheapest coach recruitment option being on the SRU’s books already. There was lots of initial scepticism around his appointment however most, including myself, we happy to give him and his coaching team the benefit of the doubt. However my patience is wearing thin giving we are scrapping with Zebre and the Dragons not to come last in the league.

      On a totally separate point I thought Edinburgh looked surprisingly good playing 15 man attacking rugby. They only lost because Scarlets appeared more used to the concept and adapted to non structured situations better. Huge credit to both teams, probably the most entertaining game I have watched this year.

      1. Wilson deserves a chance to see what he can do in a more normal season. We have been peculiarly impacted compared to the Welsh and Irish sides because only having two test teams, more test windows and less movement between test squads and pro teams due to covid bubble systems has meant that Glasgow and Edinburgh have been deprived of their best players for even longer than usual. The fact that Wilson was a new coach and his recruitment was disrupted due to covid has also contributed, as was the fact that Rennie’s squad was already unhappy and disintegrating.

        We’ll see what Wilson can do next season – Glasgow need to be competing for play off spots at a minimum when SA sides are introduced. Without SA sides there they need to be a play off team but it may take more than one season to get back there. Replacing Wilson now would be hugely disruptive and detrimental.

        That said, Edinburgh’s decline is more worrying to me because they should be a settled side and I’m not sure Cockers can take them much further. I don’t know how long his contract is for but I’d give him next season and then start looking for someone else if Edinburgh don’t return to the play offs.

      2. Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly but Wilson’s Cardiff were pretty ordinary a few seasons back, then they started to click and played some good rugby and went on to win the Challenge cup, think he left just after that. I think he needs a bit more time. More concerned about Edinburgh who have stagnated, plus some promising players have not pushed on Kinghorn, Bradbury etc…

      3. Got to agree with FF on this. Recent results have left me feeling the way I used to feel when the little Scottish Pro rugby I could watch in the mid-naughties inevitably ended in a ‘brave’ defeat.

        However, we need to take this in context. This complete mess of a season both internationally and at pro club level has undoubtably hit our pre teams harder than the Welsh or Irish. Add to this the fact that what seems to be leaking out is that Dave Rennie created an undercurrent of unhappiness in some areas of the Glasgow squad that wasn’t there before.

        I honestly felt that Wilson was the SRU choice of “who have we got” rather than a recruitment process but he has to be given a fair crack and this year doesn’t demonstrate his abilities in any way. Recruitment and preseason are now on him so lets reserve judgement.

        I’m far more concerned about Edinburgh. With their returning internationals they lost a game at home this weekend that they absolutely should have won. Cockers was a great appointment for Edinburgh and a bit of a coup for the SRU considering where we were at the time, but many of our great Scottish prospects haven’t moved on as much as we’d have hoped under his tenure and maybe his time is coming.

        Next season has to be the crunch for both our pro club coaches.

    2. I think Glasgow are recruiting well…some pretty interesting additions that are Scottish qualified and Dempsey is a proven quality player.
      Wilson probably deserves more time and his own squad selections.
      Bit concerned about Edinburgh… they seem to have stagnated a bit…and really disappointing to see Bradbury, Kinghorn and Crosbie not developing at the rate they should be.

      1. Good to see Miller and Darge reinforce Glasgow. Agree that Bradbury and Crosbie are struggling to step up and frankly, one of them might be better off at Glasgow too.

    3. I see that Glasgow have signed Sione Tuipulotu from Yamaha Jubilo. He is a centre/wing who has a Scottish grandmother

  24. FF you make some good points in comparison regarding the Welsh and Irish. Assuming that they have been less impacted by covid and the various disruptions we are still performing at or below the level of both Italian teams who are in the same boat as us. Our squad (or squads to expand to include Edinburgh) are larger, more experienced and have higher caliber personnel, a point highlighted by the commentary team during the Leinster game. We should be doing better, way better irrespective of recruitment woes.
    I don’t think we (Glasgow) have much alternative but to soldier on with Wilson and his back room team for now. Although good to see I am not hopeful that the mostly inexperienced fresh faces in place of Hastings, Jones (and a fit Nakarawa) will make a dent in the competition that will be stiffer than ever next year. Hand on heart I can see us being mid table at best. No doubt Mr Bombrys will be looking to hike up the cost of my season tickets yet again (nearly doubled since our winning season) to watch such mediocrity.

    1. Both teams should be doing much better, it’s been a dog of a season.

      But Benetton haven’t won a game and are clearly faring worse than either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Zebre have the advantage of having played and beaten Benetton twice, neither our teams have played Benetton yet (of course maybe they’ll lose and make this point moot).

      I expect both Scottish sides will end the season with a better record than Zebre. It still isn’t good enough but we haven’t sunk below the only other country impacted similarly by the strange covid circumstances which have really exaggerated our existing weaknesses of too few teams concentrating too many test players.

      Next season will be an acid test for both coaches. Wilson has been backed with some signings and will have a fresh squad. It has weaknesses but also some raw talent – we need to be better but I doubt we’ll be competitive against the Irish or SA sides again. Edinburgh need to get their mojo back but really already have the squad to compete.

  25. I see that the BBC are reporting that English Premiership clubs could allow our players to play against France on Friday 26th March which would mean us having to play three weekends in a row. I imagine that Townsend would be forced into resting quite a few players for the middle game against Italy while at the same time aiming to get a BP win like the other nations which strikes me as being a bit unfair. France would be extremely fortunate if this is actually the outcome. Not sure if Racing would be willing to do the same and release Finn. Anyway, nothing confirmed yet but let’s see what happens.

    1. I think this is probably the best possible solution. A forfeit doesn’t really benefit anyway and according to midi-olympique there is about £3m broadcast money resting in the game getting played. So long as we get access to all our players and more or less the same schedule of games as France I’m not bothered.

      I wonder if Redpath will be fit again?

      1. Not sure about Redpath (hopefully he is) but I think more crucially Zander would be. We need him more against France than we do against Italy. In the absence of Zander I worry what would happen to our scrum in Paris after Nel comes off around 60.

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