France v Scotland, Six Nations 2021: Match Preview pt II – head to heads

So it all comes down to this. France can finish anywhere from first to fourth in the table. Scotland can finish anywhere from second to fourth. All France need is to do what they did the last time they played Scotland with the Six Nations championship in their sights (just eking out enough improvement in points difference to overhaul Ireland in 2007). All Scotland need is the small matter of a first win in Paris for 22 years…

Tale of the tape

BACKS
51   Tries   55
91kg
   Average weight   94kg
207   Total caps   250
107   
6N caps   128
25.2   Average age   27.5

FORWARDS
912kg   Pack weight   895kg
14
   Tries   15
150   Total caps  196
79   
6N caps   88
26.9   Average age   28.0

SUBSTITUTES
182   Total caps   147
92   
6N caps   75
27
   Tries   19
27.0   Average age   28.1

5 changes to Scotland starting XV from last Test (v Italy)

  • 15/10 – Russell for Maitland with Hogg returning to full back [+]
  • 13 – Harris for Jones [=]
  • 9 – Price for Steele [+]
  • 2 – Turner for Cherry [+]
  • 8 – Haining for M. Fagerson [-]

FRANCE
15 Brice Dulin
14 Damian Penaud
13 Virimi Vakatawa
12 Arthur Vincent
11 Gael Fickou
10 Romain Ntamack
9 Antoine Dupont

1 Cyril Baille
2 Julien Marchand
3 Mohamed Haouas
4 Bernard le Roux
5 Swan Rebbadj
6 Anthony Jelonch
7 Charles Ollivon (c)
8 Gregory Alldritt

16 Camille Chat
17 Jean-Baptiste Gros
18 Uini Atonio
19 R Taofifenua
20 Dylan Cretin
21 Baptiste Serin
22 Anthony Bouthier
23 Teddy Thomas

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ADV Scotland
ADV France
ADV France
EVEN
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV France

ADV France
ADV France
ADV Scotland
EVEN
ADV France
ADV Scotland
ADV Scotland
ADV France

ADV France
EVEN
ADV Scotland
ADV France
ADV France
ADV France
ADV Scotland
EVEN

SCOTLAND
15 Stuart Hogg
14 Darcy Graham
13 Chris Harris
12 Sam Johnson
11 Duhan van der Merwe
10 Finn Russell
9 Ali Price

1 Rory Sutherland
2 George Turner
3 Zander Fagerson
4 Sam Skinner
5 Grant Gilchrist
6 Jamie Ritchie
7 Hamish Watson
8 Nick Haining

16 David Cherry
17 Oli Kebble
18 Simon Berghan
19 Alex Craig
20 Ryan Wilson
21 Scott Steele
22 Adam Hastings
23 Huw Jones


Overall

Backs – advantage France

Sam Johnson is the only survivor from the Scottish backline that played the last time the dark blues were in Paris for the Six Nations. Penaud, Fickou, Ntamack and Dupont were all starters in 2019 when it took France until the dying moments of the match to clinch their bonus point.

This will be the first time that Finn Russell and Romain Ntamack will have started at 10 against each other for club or country. It should be a remarkable contest, pitting two of the game’s finest entertainers head to head. While Scottish, French and Welsh fans may be watching from behind the sofa it certainly won’t be a dull experience for any neutral viewers!

Forwards – advantage France

France will field a completely different pack from the one that faced Scotland two years ago. In fact Gregory Alldritt and Camille Chat are the only ones from among the 13 forwards listed for that game who return on Friday night. Scotland are similarly transformed with just Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie (who were starters in 2019) plus Zander Fagerson (who was on the bench) back for more.

Even among the quest for points that the game at Stade de France might descend into, the French pack’s raison d’être will remain trying to dominate their opponents physically. The Scottish front row in particular were excellent at getting over the gainline against Italy. More of the same is needed in Paris – but this will be an order of magnitude tougher than six days ago at Murrayfield.

Subs – advantage Scotland

France can add another 28kgs to their pack weight then the subs come on. The pace and a little je ne sais quoi from their backline replacements might be more important in their quest for the title though. The Scottish bench just need to try and match their opponents, although Huw Jones might be the classiest operator in attack among the 16 substitutes. Scotland fans everywhere will be hoping when the centre is unleashed it’s with positive intent and a chance of a famous victory!

Miscellany

–  Sam Skinner starts back to back matches for Scotland for the first time since his opening two caps back in 2018.

– The only players to start all five matches for Scotland in this season’s Six Nations are Stuart Hogg, Duhan van der Merwe, Rory Sutherland and Hamish Watson.

Sam Johnson and Chris Harris line up in the centres for the 8th time together. That’s comfortably the most for any centre pairing in the Townsend era (next highest Peter Horne and Huw Jones – 5 starts together).

– Ryan Wilson is in line to win his 50th cap and become the 46th male player to achieve that feat for Scotland. He might also become just the second man in that group to hit a half-century of caps without scoring a try, following in the footsteps of the legendary Allan Jacobsen.

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When he's not watching Glasgow, Scotland (and even Edinburgh) Kevin can usually be found with his head in a spreadsheet working out the most obscure Scottish rugby related stat he can put out on Twitter.
Follow Kevin on twitter @topofthemoonGW

187 comments on “France v Scotland, Six Nations 2021: Match Preview pt II – head to heads

  1. Referendai on

    I’ve looked back at the past 4 matches for Scotland in the Six Nations in Paris and it makes for interesting reading.

    We have lost all four but we have lost very few tries given our ways during this time in other places that would seem strange, the bonus point loss last time in 2019 being the anomaly rather than the rule.

    France match 2013 23-16 Lost Conceded 2 Tries 1 Try Visser
    France match 2015 15-8 Lost. Conceded 0 Tries 1 Try Fife
    France match 2017 22-16 Lost. Conceded 1 Try 2 Tries Hogg & Swinson
    France match 2019 27-10 Lost. Conceded 4 Tries 1 Try Price

    Given this long run of losses in this fixture we have been in all the matches and so losing only within 7 points 3 of the 4 times. We have scored 5 tries and lost only 8 tries and outscored France in tries twice in this time.

    Remembering some of the stupid stuff in these matches and incredible ref calls it has proved frustrating in more ways than one yet not really been outplayed.

    I remember Hogg being punched by Michalek and both told to get on with it with French director showing the punch once when ref was busy. Fife throwing the ball away at a lineout giving away a pen when we were well turning the screw and was there a dodgy decision to disallow a good try for us can’t remember.

    Anyway given the narrative and the teams involved it seems a try fest isn’t what happened in this fixture but these are different circumstances….

      • Referendum on

        Me too i was furious watching the tele…but even with what was in place then it shouldn’t have been missed then either…incredibly incompetent from TMO and ref….Hoggy had to go down to get it looked at seems that’s the way which is encouraging cheating.

        He wasn’t even sighted..but again given the Genge/Sexton incident it does still happen now…

  2. FF on

    Good preview in the Offside Line. France have lost a lot of muscle and fielding a lightweight front five. They obviously want to keep ball in play, move it around a lot make a fast start. Our opportunity is in getting on top up front and finding advantage in scrum and set piece. Against Wales I think it was almost 30minutes before first scrum?

    Shame Fagerson is out as he is a prodigiously hard worker and important at the breakdown.

    What a huge challenge we face but I hope the squad is relishing it. France can look like the best side is the world when on song but can be knocked off their stride. Wales did, England did. Hopefully if we can start well and frustrate them they’ll get a bit loose chasing a big score. Hopefully Russel will have a big game. It would be great to end a mixed championship on a high note.

    • Referendum on

      Cammy mentioned how much we would miss Zandbags carrying when he was banned. Made a point of watching him against Italy and the yards and power of him compared to others was really noticeable….so he’ll be a huge asset….

      No room for sentiment but personally pls for Ryan Wilson if he makes 50. Scott Lawson missed out by not getting on when game was done and McFadden left on 48 for footy team due to injury…these are landmarks and to be short of 1 or 2 is hard… just hope he doesn’t get into his penalty machine mode if getting on…

  3. Avezard on

    Most of the press coverage is is “will France win by 21 pts or less ?”
    Nothing at all about the possibility of us winning. I think if we shut up shop early on and start to sneak a lead anything could happen. Stuart Hogg rightly peed off about the coverage.And as for the FFR tweet yesterday -what more motivation could you need ?

  4. Wabster on

    When I think of games in Paris I think of the crescendo from the crowd helping to make the French attacks feel like irresistible tsunamis. Empty stands should make it easier. We must be accurate and canny at the beginning – no gifts to give the French confidence. In fact, if we get our noses in front they will start to feel the pressure. I hope Russell kicks well and we do take points when on offer. Avoiding early injuries, a regular feature for us in big games, would be excellent also. Hope Huw Jones plays a blinder and is given enough time to do so!

    • Andy F on

      He’s adopted the Laidlaw habit of waving behind his back to position the forwards. He then turns his body and waits with hands on the ball while they do so.
      You can see the defenders recognise this and shuffle across.
      Its as if its “right, EVERYBODY ready? Off we go”.

    • Referendum on

      It’s worked out well….only losing the try…other things cost us there with bad game management…

  5. FraserR on

    Cracking game, sod 4th place – who cares – that was a fantastic effort and win.
    Not got anything negative to say.

    6N – away wins at France and England, record breaking win over Italy, extremely narrow losses to Wales and Ireland. More than acceptable.

    • WeeAl on

      What a game! Motm? Gilchrist or Ritchie maybe, but tbe whole team effort was incredible.
      Price had some good moments, but when he box kicks straight to opposition backs when we’re down a man….. he has these brain farts ever so often. We need a forward leader to take control in those moments. But anyhoo- brilliant result. Toony’s team have come of age! Very happy for him and all the squad, totally deserved win.

  6. Dark Horses on

    …and good fortune that Brice Dulin doesn’t realize that you can just kick it straight into touch after 80 minutes and finish the game.. that was bizarre….

    • Andy F on

      Yes, cant win away was 2017 rules.
      Wins away to England & France don’t count this time around…..or they did up until a few hours ago

  7. Warks Scot on

    Slightly more composed – 4th doesn’t quite seem fair after all that but that’s rugby for you!! Good all round performance from the pack, shows what can be done with a functioning line out. Great character and a bit of luck too but we could do with some. DvDM’s strike rate is impressive, though a couple of defensive lapses tonight. What the hell, we won with a red card too.

  8. alythman on

    really proud of that performance tonight – we did miss the boat though re the title but reckon quite a bit of progress this year

  9. JohnMc on

    I was going mental when, having battled our way back in front, we gave away a stupid line-out penalty that led after a few phases to France taking the lead again.
    Apart from that passage of play, the second half performance was fantastic. Just like Twickenham after the Russell yellow, the power, discipline and control by 14 men were excellent. Including beating off an early second half France attack from which, had they scored, would almost surely have meant game over.
    What TF was Dulin thinking by not booting that ball into touch in red time? Gave us a break, and we took it!
    Mon, Scotland!

    • Referendum on

      Me too it was mental… these are things that have cost us so being so close now to wins we need to reduce these moments to as small as possible to win all matches that are tight…we did so much well tonight but lots of braindead moments that almost cost us. So we need to keep working on those idiotic moments. Hastings kicking the ball with 35 secs to go again madness but it worked but we were lucky not good and Thomas was even more stupid running into a dark alley without support.

      What composure for the last play though….never seen a Scotland team do that before with such aplomb….

      This team has finally come of age tonight…..we now actually know we can win a championship…it’s no longer a pipe dream or a hope… it’s a reality we can do it and we believe we can….

      whether we will is the real acid test

  10. Stripe on

    Well, I’m happy to say I called that one wrong.

    Lots of great performances and more guts than a battalion of Sumo wrestlers.

    If we can stop giving away so many needless penalties and if we can find a better scrum-half than Price then we could be in for some very good times indeed.

    For now, though, I’m just going to enjoy a great win…and it came on my birthday.

  11. Ali_boy on

    Very good. Three wins in 6 nations = food progress. Think we all have to give GT some credit for that. I will be spending this weekend toasting ghilchrist and apologies for doubting his inclusion!

  12. PabloEscobar on

    Inverdale is appalling. Get him tae France. Nicol not far behind. Now on to the good stuff. Harris put in a fantastic shift. Watson and Ritchie immense. Skinner and Gilchrist excellent. Kebble made a huge difference when he came on as well as Wayne finally getting the scrums right. Finn is a luxury we can’t afford. Great performance by the team.

    • Referendum on

      Ritchie grabbed a French player over the shoulders (he was away) from behind and with his technique managed to do it without giving a pen away then shortly after gets the crucial turnover that provides the platform to win the game. Incredible stuff…so many ridiculously bad game management throughout but brilliant play too…we came out on the right end of it too…amazing night!!!

      • Tam tm on

        As I said earlier you are right regarding some parts of game management. But undoubtedly there has become a new shift in both the Welsh victory in the autumn the game at Twickenham and in Paris where control of the game had matured. It is those moments where I think your comment before full time came and was it were Hastings chipped the ball away. Price has his moments where I’m sure we’ve all gone nuts in disbelief. It’s about patience and maturity which have been the new areas we have lacked in before. It’s that maturity which gets players somewhat on a plain to South Africa. But then again!!!

      • Referendum on

        Great summing up Tam….no idea why some of these things keep happening they may work but they are 1-2 % play so therefore not worth the risk especially with secs left…so someone needs to tell them it’s stupid and won’t win the tight matches unless you only want to win 1 tight match in 50….

  13. 1.8T on

    Wow what a game, I had already resigned at 78mins thinking oh well it’s been a cracking match but too many mistakes and poor decisions. Those points still stand, especially the questionable decisions. Not kicking some of the penalties was driving me mad and why do we always kick penalty advantages, when’s the last time we actually scored one from one of them? Teams know it’s coming. Enough negativity, what heart and determination at the end to get that over the line, we never score from those kind of positions under extreme pressured

    Not Finns finest game but I think he was very unlucky with the red card, fair enough it’s contact to the throat and therefore red, but if you as a defender run straight into someone completely upright it’s always going to happen if you fend, had the French player actually tried to tackle him properly he wouldn’t have touched his throat. Cynical of me but I can’t help but feel players are starting to try and milk the new rules, deliberately putting themselves in compromised positions in the hope they will get a bang on the head and a card for the opposition…

    • James on

      Absolutely players are starting to milk cards. I can’t help you’re starting to see players have a wee football-esque roll around on the floor to make sure the ref/touch judge/tmo spot something might have happened.

    • Referendum on

      Without a word of irony that red allowed us to win the game tonight… yes lots went our way and we made mistakes but I do not think we’d have won or been so patient with Finn on the park in the final play. He’d have done some mad low percentage play within one of the 58 phases we had and it may have come off but likely we lose.

      We needed safe, thought out structured rugby for 20 odd phases to create a gap and we did it.

      He’s a genius we all know that but even better that he knows when he needs to take an early bath….and the ban won’t affect Scotland at all either.

  14. Nielsen Dinwoodie on

    So to all those who called for GT’s head, what are you saying now? The only thing that needs to be dismembered is Price, unless he finally learns how to box-kick. Their second try came from another of his cock-ups into the air. Brilliant guts from all. Loved how Van was the man after screwing up that first half tackle. Seamless joy with Hastings’ return.

    • Ali_boy on

      Yup – credit where it is due. Hope Price goes away, has a good think, and comes back to prove us all wrong as well.

  15. fromafar on

    The “perception” of Chris Harris 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

    Can’t look anyone who says he shouldn’t start in the eye again

    • FF on

      He was magnificent – as was Haining, Turner, Gilchrist and Skinner. Very decent squad shaping up.

      Was frustrated with Price when loose box kicks let France ease ahead in second half but he really took the game by the scruff of the neck on the last quarter when everyone started flagging. Real leadership and will to win. Perhaps even snuck on the plane to SA?

    • fromafar on

      Gilchrist was brilliant eh, it’s the comms thing that matters at this level. It’s why Cotter wanted him as a Captain, no crowd noise meant hearing a lot of players, GC was bossing that game.

      He has solved loads of line-out issues, he’s a brain on a Rugby park , he is always trying to spin the rubix cube of a game in his teams favour, he was brilliant

    • Nielsen Dinwoodie on

      Agree. Harris is strong. Just lacks Jones’s wiggle bomb bursts. How about Jones instead of Darcy, who just hasn’t muscle enough for final tackles?

    • Ian on

      Fromafar – Yip that was me. Preferred Jones, but what do I know? Harris was great, I was wrong, Toonie was right, you were right. Well done. But this is blog on the internet and the comments and community are great. Wouldn’t life be so dull if we couldn’t respectfully chat about our different opinions?

  16. Greenhorn on

    Thought Haining carried well made good metres ever time. Gilchrist one of his best games for Scotland.Cherry not the best at line outs but he made good ground. We made mistakes but never gave up not like a Scotland team to sneak it at the end either. Harris take a bow also awesome defence.

  17. Royce Coolidge on

    All the experts that slated the inclusion of Harris are a bit quiet tonight. It’s almost as if they don’t have a clue and the coaches at the top of the game know a thing or two. Funny that.

    • SAS on

      We’d have won by another 15 at least if Harris wasn’t in the team, every top 13 we’ve got can defend as good if not better, I didn’t see Harris make a defensive interception did you?????

      • Magua on

        SAS, that’s quite possibly the worst take I’ve ever seen on here. I can’t tell if you’re a very weak troll or just have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Tam tm on

        Its a tongue in cheek thing….. Right!! Embrace this moment stick it in your pocket man its a delight. Sonething thing we as supporters s and as a nation as one should suck up and let it feed our healthy souls!!

      • TEE CEE on

        Was going to make a few derogatory comments about SAS but will let him enjoy his delusions while the rest of us enjoy the result

    • Historic Banffshire on

      I missed your post when I made mine this morning, but point taken RC. I’m a massive Jones fan as well, but the fantastic thing is there’s room for both of them in the 23.

  18. Tam tm on

    His cover defence was immense but also the wingers on both side who had all the belief in him to Marshall the cover of the defensive line. The coaching staff over the last 15 months have contributed with the senior playing team a change of culture and vision which was seriously needed. Well done to all. What a journey we have all been on over the last 21 years. Role on the Autumn!!

  19. TEE CEE on

    Was awestruck when Scotland were down to 14 and France on the attack,Harris was beaten on on the right wing but covered an immense amount of ground to get to the left wing and make the tackle that snuffed out a possible French try,summed up the never say die attitude of the whole team. Brilliant

  20. James on

    Well that was a mad game to watch! Fantastic we won, can’t help but feel it makes the Wales loss even more painful though 😭

    I thought the forwards were excellent matching the physicality of the french. Haining’s carrying stood out. Lots of dominant tackles in defence as well.

    If I was being critical, we need to not compound penalties like we did. Some of the kicking was weak in the second half, particularly when we were chasing the game and needed to hold the ball not try a <50/50 option.

    At the end when we upped the tempo was when we did well and I felt far too often the ball was slowed down to get people in position rather than sending it out for players to attack a broken defensive line. I’m not just blaming Price here as sometimes it was players getting in his way (he was definitely lucky not to get a yellow for that tackle without the ball for their try!)

    Seems unjust to win in London and Paris and still come 4th!

    • Tam tm on

      Let’s embrace it! Hats off to Haining his mindset for the game was tremendous. When he played in the autumn cup he lacked serious commitment. But his display this evening was a reflection of what the squad has built their ethic on. I feel psychologically we’ve turned a corner but that was first started against Ireland in the winter of last year. It must be a great place to be in that squad after all the years!!

  21. Big Al on

    Hogg as captain is really growing on me! This bunch have a good spirit and willingness to fight for each other and he seems to inspire that.

    • Nielsen Dinwoodie on

      Yep. The Hogg has grown in all dimensions that matter (ie mentally) since entering Exeter. Which sends a message to Scottish rugby formulations.

  22. Warks Scot on

    Will have to watch again but probably Gilchrist’s best game for Scotland – from someone who was never a big fan, he bossed the line out – and Haining did well too in carries, safe catching and tackling. As others have said, Price looked flaky and far too slow at times and yet obviously has something to offer. Maybe some more competition at 9 when George Horne gets going again would be a good thing.
    Perhaps we should play all our games away; wonder what Gats makes of it all, though not convinced we’ll have more than 3 or 4 on the plane/train.
    Savoring the moment but will be fun to have plenty of discussions soon around what depth we have now and likely to have in next few years (ironically, 10 might be massive after being a real concern until recently).

    • Nielsen Dinwoodie on

      I have no clue why Steele’s stellar last week wasn’t rewarded again. Price is slow to throw and too quick to kick. And never accurate enough.

  23. Tam tm on

    Yes it’s like the Scotland of old. Taking no nonsense standing for what you believe in and standing proud. South Africa at Murrayfield will be an awesome game. Who knows we may all get the chance to stand together!

  24. Thin russell on

    if Watson isn’t a lion, I’m making it my life’s work to buy the six nations and cancel it, he’s magnificent

    • James on

      It seemed to me like the french had him marked as he seemed to get two defenders every time he touched the ball. They still seemed to struggle to get him down though, even if he wasn’t able to make the same distance with his carries. I expect Gatland will have some excuse not to pick him.

      • Not science on

        Problem is both Tom Curry and Hamish Watson are nailed on starters for the Lions, depending who you ask. If you pick from the form team that can get results away from home… on the other hand if you listen to loudest voices in the media.

  25. Wabster on

    Brilliant spirit and many fantastic performances especially the back row and the front row.
    Harris was epic in defence – his timing and drifting to kill overlaps was as good as I have seen.
    Great news is we can surely get better:
    I think because of the conditions we played a lot through 9 – and we mauled just about every lineout. Therefore Finn got few 1 st phase chances which is a shame with Our back 3 we could do more damage.
    Yes Gilchrist and Skinner did really well but would still have them behind Gray and Cummings.
    We need an attack consultant to look at what we do in oppositions 22 to get further ahead in games. The forwards create penalties and some fast ball but there is too often no passing channel to Russell or a flat forward who can pivot it back to Russell. Again with VDM to insert into line and Hogg we should try more AND we don’t have to kick penalty advantage away!!!
    Why always kick to touch for penalties. A scrum 5 m out puts defence under huge pressure to stop Sam J VDM or Hogg especially if on different angles.
    Add in Redpath and a faster passing scrum half – Dobie passes in one move from off the ground – we have to be excited for the future – the blend is almost there!
    How good to feel optimism!

    • Warks Scot on

      Totally agree with that; we do generate some fast ball opportunities but don’t make the most of it, all a bit predictable once in the 22. And I really don’t understand the crazy kick to nothing with penalty advantage; keep the ball in hand and push for the opening or milk another penalty. I really hope we are turning a corner in terms of game management, with some hard lessons learned this season. Keep pushing the bar upwards like all the other home nations do.

      • 1.8T on

        Pretty much my thoughts. However, we did score twice from slogs in the 22, we never normally do that, we normally grind away making no ground then make a mistake and the pressure is off. The speculative kicking of the advantage worked well for us a few years ago, recall quite a few tries but I think teams are wise to it now, spin it wide or keep pushing for a further penalty. With advantage you can afford to be a bit “creative” in the rucks and force the opposition into infringing. Kicking it just gives a 50:50 aerial contest (at best) and one on one aerial contests continues to be something we aren’t particularly great at.

      • Referendum on

        I agree 1.8 but chip kicks or up and under are rarely 50:50…we need to take more risks on close driving or go wide at right time…much better chance of try than 1% playd

  26. fromafar on

    We just won in France for the first time in about 25 years, is anyone really taking the tactical dissections that serious.

    “Aye but if we had done..it would have been 50”

    Enjoy your nights mate.

  27. wingforward07 on

    Awesome watching from Australia. Stand outs from me were Gilchrist, Haining, Tuner for not bottling the line out. Awesome.

  28. scotinCA on

    Watching this season from overseas, it really looks like we have turned the corner in the professional era. If the goal was “hard to beat”, then job done, considering Scotland could have won any/all games in this championship. Despite his detractors, or maybe because of them, I’ve really enjoyed Chris Harris this year. What a cover tackler. He is Alan Tait with less brute but more athleticism. Played league as a teenager and is full of heart for Scotland. Love the current team and I believe we have more talent coming through. Gatland should pick Scottish hookers.

  29. Bazz on

    To think we did that without Brown, McInally, Gray, Cummings, Fagerson, Horne, Redpath, Maitland.

    Shows how we truly have depth now. Those covering for the above were some of our standout players too.

    So proud of this squad.

  30. john on

    Well, that was my biggest roar for a while.

    Fitness, physicality, desire were all there.

    Absolutely delighted that GT proved me incorrect, I reckon that’s the Gilchrist that Cotter wanted as his 1st captain, he was immense, I always like a line out specialist to play – Gilchrist, Toolis, R.Gray – winning LO ball is so important.

    Harris, Turner & Fagerson were very impressive, I like Haining, he consistently challenges the gain line.

    Classic French muppetery at the end by Dulin.

    Superb game management at the end too, 22 phases!!!!! some of the boys above mention turning a corner, i hope this was it.

    Can’t win away from home……….I do wonder how many Lions…… Hogg, VDM, Watson, Ritchie, Fagerson, Maitland, Sutherland???

    • 1.8T on

      I presume Gatland’s reason this time will be that we can’t win at home… There’s a lot of talent across the home nations and virtually every position has 50:50 calls. What annoys me and will keep annoying me is that if they are 50:50 calls then some of our players should win them, but they never seem to. The perception I have had in the past is that Scottish players have to be head and shoulders better than any alternative to even get a sniff of being in the team. Being just as good and it coming down to a coin toss doesn’t seem to happen.

      I think as a bare minimum Hogg, Z Fagerson, Sutherland and Watson have to be in the squad. Ritchie, VDM, Gray, Russell and Maitland should all be in with a shout and applying the rule of them being every bit as good as the alternatives (which they are) we should expect a couple of them to get the nod. Realistically if we get 6-7 in the squad we will have done pretty well I think.

      I think most positions it’s fairly predictable who he will pick but I have no idea who he will pick on the wing. The LRZ propaganda machine is in full flow and don’t get me wrong the guy is clearly a talent, but I am failing to see what the hype is all about, sure he’s fast but he scored tries that any winger of repute should expect to score, he wasn’t even the top try scorer, VDM beat him to that… Maitland is a former Lion (that’s the argument he uses to pick half of Wales)…

      • James on

        The excuse will be failure to close out tight games against Wales and Ireland despite closing out tight games against England and France.

      • 1.8T on

        Also can’t decide on fly half. I don’t think Russell has had the best of tournaments, not bad by any means but far fewer of the moments of insane brilliance that we have experienced in the past. I also don’t recall any ridiculous howlers either though. Maybe its just that he has matured as a player. The “he’s too mercurial” argument just doesn’t hold water anymore. Sexton was mediocre as he usually is, but after one, admittedly fine performance against a dismal England he is apparently now Dan Carter. Biggar is the same Biggar he has always been, but he is the fly half in a winning team so he can’t be bad, but then that applies to Russell too. Russell definitely adds something that the others don’t just a case of whether Gatland wants that or not.

      • Not science on

        Russell should be a shoe in based on last couple of years. The fact he plays for Racing and is paid more in the market says it all. There’s a fair amount of Champions Cup rugby still to come too…

  31. Luceheid on

    Ollie Kebble was superb when he came on, constantly making significant gains once the forward drives started and good in the scrum! Hope Sutherland isn’t a serious injury. Wouldn’t get my hopes up for lions but you never know!

    • 1.8T on

      Agreed, I always get a bit concerned when he comes on as he has hands like coos tits and can be a penalty machine sometimes but he made a big impact in both the loose and the scrum. He had a couple of good carries in the lead up to the last minute try that were key.

      • Campbell B on

        I disagree , I rate Kebble and he always carry’s well. Sutherland has had a bad run with injury’s. IMO, it shows. It could be argued a lions tour will get him back to his best , but for me , Kebble has hit form when Sutherland is not quite at his best. I cannot see Kebble becoming a lion, he is not our first pick for starters, however I suspect Gatland will decide Sutherland needed a better year to get on the tour. I hope I am wrong.

  32. Gaffer on

    SRU should have turned their back on the lions and organised a summer tour to NZ. We know we will be under represented despite our performances over the last year. Exposure for all our players to a tour in NZ improving our own brand of rugby would bring more positives than 3 players deconstructing and playing Warrenball for a bit.

  33. Thin Russell on

    all I’m seeing from Russell’s red card is an elbow 100% on the white shirt of the French player. Either France now sport turtlenecks or its his chest

      • James on

        It seemed a harsh decision. For me it was a classic rugby clash where the defender’s come high and the attacker has simply protected them self. Dullin also didn’t seem too badly injured after he’d rolled around on the floor clutching his throat until the ref/touch judge/tmo spotted it…

    • FraserR on

      It looked to me like initial contact was below the neck, although the camera angles are difficult to judge.

      I really think the guidance needs to be looked at. If the contact was with the neck, the ref was correct to give a red card and really has no choice based on current guidelines – but clearly this was not an aggressive action, more a rugby incident with the defenders position a big part of the cause.

      Either they have to expand on the ‘mitigation” definition, or maybe let’s go crazy and let the referees use a bit of common sense and judgement to differentiate between dangerous play and slight misjudgements!

      The number of red cards for marginal things is ruining games – keep them for what they are there for.

      Even yellows are getting out of control, you rarely see a game without at least one these days.

    • Not science on

      Let’s be honest it’s a joke. He’s not making the decision in super slow motion but a hundredth of a second while evading a tackle. Innocuous.

      • Stripe on

        Not science,

        Finn’s red reminds me of the Bundee Aki red against England in that both players had to make snap decisions. They may, with the benefit of 1 frame per second hindsight, have made the ‘wrong’ decision but there was no malice in what they did.

        Compare their actions and the penalties that will be imposed upon them with Genge’s assault on Sexton, for which he has escaped censure.

        Is that just let alone fair?

  34. Saint4805 on

    We are a team constantly battling the odds. Two pro teams, rugby authorities screwing us over at every opportunity, key players sent back to play for their clubs in England & France during so called 6N rest weekends. To finish with three wins and narrowly losing two games by 4 points is a great achievement. The table must be uncomfortable viewing for England with all the resources at their disposal.

    • Royce Coolidge on

      We’d have won by 15 more points if he wasn’t in the side, apparently 🙄 and because he didn’t make an interception it means he’s not that great a defender 🤔🥴 I suspect there are some that will never accept him.

    • Scrummo on

      They’ve got very quiet but will be back, as will the Toony bashers.

      The rest of us will be grinning all weekend.

    • Fraser on

      Very tired of these comments – do we really need to make snide remarks every time a player who people don’t rate that highly has one good game?

      For the record, I thought he had a very good game in defence – made some big hits and important cover tackles.

      However, he still offers very little in attack and for me will never be a complete player unless that improves massively.

      Of course, you can argue the opposite for Jones.

      • Stripe on

        Fair points, Fraser.

        I don’t think anyone would deny that Harris gives his all in a blue jersey and is very strong in defence, as exemplified by his performance yesterday evening.

        It is, however, possible to admire him for the qualities he brings to the team while recognising, as you say, that he doesn’t offer enough in attack.

        As for Scrummo’s comment, he’s dead wrong: we’re ALL grinning this weekend. We may disagree on a player’s merits, squad selection and tactics but we all want our team to do well. And that’s what really matters.

      • Munro on

        Well said Fraser and well played Harris – he was excellent in defence. Still think we have better option at 13 but now is not the time for that that and Harris was certainly integral to the win.

      • Historic Banffshire on

        Fraser, it got frankly vitriolic at times against Harris, so personally, I think something needed to be said in his defence. I think “snide” is an pretty unnecessary term to use, but you’re welcome to go down that path if you wish….

      • Tam tm on

        Ok time to put all this negative commentary of players ability to bed. Can’t we instead consider the fact that we have variety in depth across the squad and count our selves lucky compared to when we only had 1 player per position. Those days were dark we’ve had to go through hard dark times together. But now is the time to celebrate and thank players like Harris because without him last night we wouldn’t be here right now.

      • FraserR on

        HB – was a general comment on posts here and other places (Twitter, Facebook etc.).
        Yours was just the most recent one, so that’s where my reply went.
        I don’t think your particular comment was snide and also is put in a much less inflammatory way than a lot of others I have seen since the game.

      • Grumpy on

        Got to agree with Stripe and Fraser. Everyone is happy this weekend, we played brilliantly and capitalized on the french lunacy in the 80th minute in a way I have never seen before. If we had lost I would still have been happy , but the way the closed out was a level of maturity we have never reached before. We have finished 4th, the table never lies, however we won and every side and combination we put on the field, is just getting better, that is the reason to celebrate. It was not down to one player or the coach.

      • Johnny b on

        Agree with you Historic Banffshire.
        Chris Harris has simply grown into international rugby and considering that he was (I believe) a late starter at rugby his story is all the more compelling.
        Huw Jones was a late developer too, famously passed up by Saracens for being too small.

        They are different kinds of player and it’s possible to appreciate them both.

        I think that not only is Harris a tremendous all rounder, but his intensity makes those around him raise their games.

        That’s worth a lot.
        Having both him and Jones in the match day squad is a nice balance.

      • Historic Banffshire on

        Fair comment Fraser, I’ll get back in my box.
        On reflection this was one of our best team performances for many a year. A few years ago, we would have wilted in a fixture like this, with France winning by 30 rather than the 21 they needed. (I was at the Ireland game in 2015 with my Irish brother-in-law…). When Hogg went off I feared them sprinting ahead but we played that yellow much like the Russell yellow v England. Going behind twice and coming back to win is the kind of thing Ireland and Wales have been doing for 10+ years. It was a joy to see us doing the same.
        Another point – when a team is able to absorb players into a squad and they all play their part and look at home (Craig, Kebble, Wilson) then it says a lot about the system, management and leadership. That’s a huge positive to take forward from this tournament.
        Savour the moment, but I truly believe there will be others to come.

    • FF on

      Think Harris could be an outside bet for Lions. Davies, North, Henshaw nailed on and possibly Farrell too. If they bring another his defence is a big credit – Ringrose has had a poor championship and his defence in particular has been very ropey. I could see Harris there as a bit of a bolter. Slade is another with a big rep who seems to do little of note.

      • 1.8T on

        I would include North in that category, a one trick pony who’s reputation from yonks ago is still carrying him.

        I have to admit to never being much of a Harris fan but he has been superb of late and was absolutely immense last night.

      • SAS on

        No chance will Harris make the lions. We could have finished 2nd if Jones had started.
        Don’t forget that we had a record win against Italy with Jones, we lost to Wales and Ireland with Harris starting.

      • Johnny b on

        I think Harris has a good chance. He’s the kind of player Gatland likes. Competitive, mentally tough and a late starter who had to fight his way to the top flight.

  35. Andrew on

    I liked the way Townsend and Hogg spoke afterwards. Elated with the win but recognising it wasn’t perfect or the end of the process. We are having to wait less time for the one off results and are learning to stay in the game when under pressure. Looks like an amazing team spirit and coach and captain deserve credit for that.

  36. Fraser on

    Dulin’s wikipaedia page today….

    Brice Dulin
    Brice Dulin (Born 13 April 1990) is a Scottish/French rugby union player. His usual position is Fullback, and he currently plays for La Rochelle in the Top 14.[2] He began his career at SU Agen, making his professional debut in 2009. He made his debut for France during their tour of Argentina in June 2012. He is the third most popular rugby player in Wales.

  37. Saint4805 on

    On form, the three Lions 10’s have to be Sexton, Finn and Biggar although I’d be surprised if Sexton doesn’t get crocked before the three tests. Personally I prefer Sheedy over Biggar but Gatland clearly rates the latter. The only way Farrell makes the squad is if he is shoehorned in as a 10/12 which is highly probable if Daddy is in the coaching set up. The scenes if he is picked at the expense of Finn or if Johnny May is given the nod ahead of Irn Du.

    • FF on

      Yeah the Lions chat is already getting me irritated – apparently LRZ is nailed on but the championships leading try-scorer is not, Watson and Russell will be lucky to make the plane and no Scottish player fits Gatland’s game plan. Also, is AWK really nailed on as captain? Hogg must be a certain starter and has shown fantastic leadership this championship, I think he should be in the running.

      • Fraser on

        AWJ would be the best choice for Tour captain, but it’s questionable whether he should start the tests.

        Hogg is surely the most nailed on of the nations captains but I don’t think he will captain the Lions.

        Sexton is in prime position at the moment for the 10 shirt, Russell surely 2nd though.

        Hopefully anyone who tours will have the chance to play themselves into the test team.

        I predict about 6 Scottish players to tour (Hogg, Russell, Watson, Ritchie + a couple of others) – less than that will cause a riot given all the teams recent performances.

      • James on

        Gatland did it before when he didn’t take the kiwi hooker who captained England and who’s name escapes me. I think he took Jamie George on that tour as a double slap in the face as well.

    • Historic Banffshire on

      Ironically, Russell’s best chance to play 10 for the Lions might have been for Farrell to pay at 12, but he looks to have gone backwards like his team. Sexton’s fitness won’t last the whole tour even if he makes it that far, so there’s still a chance for Finn, I believe. The cupboard is pretty bare beyond those two.

  38. TheSmidge on

    I’m feeling very emotional right now, rewatching the 17mins of highlights on YouTube.

    We moved to Malawi just before Christmas (long story), just before Lockdown 2, and I’ve not seen single minute of live action in the 6N for the first time since I was a nipper. Our day starts at 5.30am, as kids’ school begins at 7am, so kick off at 10pm our time was never going to let me even listen to the radio. I only discovered yesterday that there is a legal streaming option here, but too late to allow me to see any action, and power/internet might not be reliable enough anyway.

    Waking up this morning and seeing the result was IMMENSE.

    Yes, we can think of the near misses – another 6 points in the right games and we would’ve won the Grand Slam. But, for this ex-pat, the result alone is enough. Especially on top of laying the Twickenham hoodoo to rest.

    That might be enough for me to say but, from everything I’ve read, Watson is nailed on Lions #7 and Ritchie should now be on the plane. Can’t think why Gatland would disagree, but the man is a law unto himself.

    • Historic Banffshire on

      Sounds like a story in itself you ending up in Malawi Smidge. Must be an experience, we miss your posts. Enjoy the moment.

    • Spindrift on

      Been there,Zomba,when I was a 10.(Banda days)Dug up ingalos for fishing and sat on the chimboozi a lot too.

  39. JohnMc on

    The strength in depth in most if not all positions now is so good to see.

    I asked on here a couple of years ago how many of us remembered the truly bad days of the Noughties and early 2010s when we had maybe four or five proper Test class players max and the challenge was just to get a side out that could fluke the odd win. None of this was the fault of individual players, who tried their best but just weren’t good enough to play competitive international rugby against other Tier 1 sides.

    Things are very different now and this 6N shows that clearly. There is competition for every place in the 23 involving very good players, not just fill-ins.

    And there has been improvement in players whose best days many of us thought were behind them, if we thought they were ever good enough in the first place. Take Gilchrist for instance. Good soldier for a few seasons in a resurgent side. Derided by one poster in the past as an ‘Inspector-General of Rucks’. Way down the list of most supporters’ and probably selectors’ choice of locks. Then, by dint of injury to others ahead of him in the queue, he’s in the starting XV in Paris and delivers a masterclass in the line-out and a more than decent shift in tight and loose.

    We’re lucky these days to be able to watch our side sitting on the couch and not behind it.

    The other thing is how we’re viewed by others. Wins in Wales in the autumn and in London and Paris this year have put us right back in there as a side to be respected.

  40. JohnMc on

    Just posted a non-controversial comment about progress of the national team and find I’ve been caught in the ‘moderation’ net.
    What’s happening here?

    • Not science on

      No but this classic example of how stats lie. You can’t give away ten penalties a game – except when it is defending two phases on your own try line and you give away 6.

  41. FF on

    I think if Gatland appoints Townshend to his coaching team and is fair-minded in his selections we could get a decent Lions representation:

    Nailed on:
    Stuart Hogg, looks like a test starter and could even be captain; Rory Sutherland, probably behind Wyn Jones but has kept high standards.

    Strong chance:
    Z. Fagerson (Furlong and Sinkler presumably nailed on but France performance should have him as leading contender for last spot); Hamish Watson and Jamie Ritchie are in very competitive positions but finished with outstanding performances. Depends on whether English back row are punished for poor performances or absence (Underhill) and whether Stander or Doris are available so Navidi might go as an auxiliary 8.

    DVDM has a strong case but again depends on whether Daly and May are punished for poor form or go on reputation.

    Possible:
    Price, let’s face it there is a paucity of quality options and Ben Youngs has done himself few favours, Finn Russell should probably tour but Sexton and Biggar have probably done enough so depends how many go and whether Farrell will be taken as a centre; George Turner has a decent chance after France showing. Owens and LCD look nailed on, Jamie George’s form is honking but he has a rep and Rob Herring is mediocre.

    Long-shot:
    Gray looks likely to be squeezed out by strong competition, Maitland is a fantastic player but lacks point of difference in crowded field.

    Hail-Mary:
    Huw Jones as a utility back?

    I’ll be disappointed with fewer than six

    • Grumpy on

      The Lions captain is a bit of a quandary, Hogg will have got himself in the mix however I cannot imagine Gatland will pick a scot. While the choices are poor I cannot see Ali Price being invited. It is that kind of over optimism that makes us feel hard done by. I would love to be wrong however barring injuries, I feel that is unlikely. Hogg is the only definite, most likely Watson and Russell. Thereafter I think it is midweek team at best and I think Sutherland has not had his best season. We need to be realistic , we have a great team spirit and we are emerging as a team to be feared , but there is a lot of competition and bias out there.

      • FF on

        Hogg is definite, Watson has a good chance as his performances were outstanding but Russell is only a possible.

        If Gats takes 2 FH plus Farrell as a centre/FH, will he leave at home sexton or Biggar to invite Russell?

        Price has more chance than you give him credit for. Gatland will have to take 3 SHs, so Murray and probably Davies are nailed on. So who’s your third if it isn’t Price? Williams is highly rated but hardly played so didn’t have chance to impress. Youngs played well against France but was otherwise very poor. Price made some big errors against Ireland and is prone to mistakes and his box kicking isn’t great, but he showed enormous leadership throughout the championship and was instrumental to Scotland’s win against France. Both times when Russell went off against England and France, price stepped up as playmaker, making all the decisions and leading the team and both times we came through those crisis periods very strongly. I actually think he’s got a good shot at starting IF Townshend is a selector.

  42. Sam Laycock on

    Great result and exciting for the future. We can certainly get better which is so exciting. Effort and commitment was sensational. Depth is really sound now except tighthead. Good to end on a great performance. I wonder when we’ll next see Scotland play.

  43. Neil on

    My Lions XV based on six Nations

    Wyn Jones
    Ken Owens
    Tadgh Furlong
    Ian Henderson
    Alun Wyn Jones (C)
    Tadgh Beirne
    Hamish Watson
    CJ Stander
    Gareth Davies
    Dan Biggar
    Duhan Van Der Merwe
    Robbie Henshaw
    George North
    Keith Earls
    Stuart Hogg

    Really struggling to pick an Englishman who deserves a spot solely based on the six nations.

    • 1.8T on

      No a million miles from mine but there will be some English in there, I can see Itoje, Farrell at 12 and Watson instead of VDM. Personally I wouldn’t have Farrell but that’s probably down to my strong held belief that he is a wee fanny and not just a good player and England captain who’s a bit short on form.

      Tipuric will start somewhere, probably at 7. As brilliant as Hamish Watson has been its hard to deny that Tipuric is a class player plus Gatland loves him. I could see Zander or Sutherland sneaking into a starting XV, the work both of them do around the park is superior to most others and both are decent if not the out and out best scrummagers. J Gray and Russell might be bench options. I can’t see him taking Harris. Ritchie and possibly Maitland will make the wider squad. George Horne for a bolter!

  44. SlimJim on

    The lions will have more English than scottish. Anthony Watson, Itoje, both hookers, Ford and Daly all had good tournaments in the context of the overall team performance. Some players should be done tho, both Vunipolas for example. Number 8 is a problem position, Standers retired, Faletau is a given. I’m convinced Sam Simmonds will get selected. Hamish Watson isn’t a given, a lot of competition on that position and between Welsh bias and reputation I fear he may miss out. Farrell going would be a joke. If he takes 3 tens I’d have Russell, Biggar and Ford. I have a sneaky feeling Harris may get in but Welsh bias will probably see North instead. Duhan has shown he is a bit too brain dead for the lions this tour when his physicality doesn’t give him the edge his smarts let him down. I think we will get 4 on tour and probably one who is unexpected but a lot depends on the utility players he takes and how this affects the wider squad e.g. locks covering 6,13 covering wing etc. Scrum half options also look a bit weak for me.

    • Andrew on

      What did Ford do to impress? I just remember him carrying on with poorly executed kicks when England should have been chasing the game. Totally outplayed in Dublin. With you on the Vunipolas. Watson is not a certainty despite his excellence.

      • FF on

        Ford probably played himself out of contention against Ireland. Daly must be out for general rubbish form all championship. Jamie George was terrible so if he goes it is on rep – but as he was dropped during the 6N and is playing in the championship I don’t see how his form can be relied upon.

        I think Hogg and Sutherland are definitely touring but after that there is a lot of competition. If Townshend is appointed as attack coach as other papers have suggested we’ll get 6-10, if he isn’t there we’ll be more like 4.

        If Gatland is ruthless England will have the least representation as Underhill hasn’t been playing and most other players showed little or no form. I think Sinkler, Curry, Itoje, LCD, Watson are on the plane but everyone else is going to be fighting for their place.

      • SlimJim on

        Difficulty in discussing the lions is there is who I’d pick and then there is who I think Gatland will pick (also influenced by his backroom staff selection). Hooker is a problem position as is 8. Our 3rd/4th choices had v.good championships but won’t go. You have to think our 1st choice two are also out barring injuries. Owens is a shoe in. Does Kilcoyne go? If he takes 3 then we are probably onto one of the English hookers. LCD better than George but I think Gatland would prefer George’s bulk. Agree selecting any of the Saracens is problematic as it renders the usual narrative of selecting form moot. I wouldn’t take AWJ but he will end up captain. Sutherland is certainly a possibility. Other than Hogg, I suspect our lot will be dirt trackers. Even Russell. For what it’s worth I’d build the test team around Russell. Give him a solid pack and a steady, kicking 12 and we are laughing. That’s what’s been missing for Scotland. Johnson isn’t great. Redpath could be. I’ve not read anything about how injury call ups will be managed given the need for Covid bubbles etc. May again be a moot point depending on SA rules for travel it by the time tour time comes but I can’t see any tourists being fully vaccinated by that point given their age.

      • FF on

        They’ll have to take at least 3 hookers and minimum 9 front row you’d think, as every game needs two fulls sets of front row and all the positions are specialist. Gatland could take George as third choice hooker as a ‘safe’ bet but as there’s no real opportunity for him to improve his form I think you could see a long-shot chosen, maybe even Turner, as they’ll be expected not to trouble the test team anyway.

    • SlimJim on

      FF, agree in which case you’d be looking at LCD given he will be heavily involved in top level competition for the rest of the season and in 2017 Gatland did make a big deal about European Cup performances affecting his decision. You never know, if Brown or Rambo (more likely Brown I’d say) really tear it up and get enough game time perhaps a 3rd choice spot is on but I’d put Owens, Kilcoyne and LCD well in front of them. Owens is as close to a guarantee test start as there is so I’d expect him to be in the captaincy conversation

  45. Saint4805 on

    If Farrell was Scottish he’d be about 10th in the pecking order of fly halves. I just can’t see Gatland excluding him especially if Andy Farrell is assistant. Gatland has shown before that he will select some players on rep alone. In 2017 an injured Warburton and Kruis were selected having played no part in the 6N.

    Last time Gatland says he didn’t pick Scots because they couldn’t win away from home. This year we are the only team in the 6N to win all of our away fixtures which makes us ideal tourists. Now that the 6N has been completed I would expect the Lions coaching team to be confirmed pretty soon – possibly within the next week or two. Some papers seem to be suggesting Toonie, A Farrell and John Mitchell.

  46. Sam Laycock on

    My lions 23 would be.
    1. Wyn Jones, 2.Owens, 3. Furlong, 4. Ryan, 5. AWJ, 6.Beirne, 7.H. Watson, 8.Stander, 9. Murray, 10. Sexton, 11. Rees Zammitt, 12. Davies, 13. Henshaw, 14. A. Watson, 15. Hogg

    16. Healy, 17. George, 18. Fagerson, 19. Itoje, 20. Tipuric, 21. Price, 22. Russell, 23. Daly

  47. Scotty on

    I agree with other posters that if Toony gets on the coaching roster it will be the difference between 4 Scots and 7-9 Scots. Here is my team followed by 2nd and third choice:
    1. W Jones, M Vunipola, R Sutherland
    2. LCD, Owens, George
    3. T Furlong, K Sinkler, Z Fagerson
    4. Itoje, Ryan, Henderson
    5. AWJ, Beirne, Gray
    6. Curry, Navidi, Stander
    7. Watson, Tipuric, Underhill
    8. Faletau, Simmonds, B Vunipola
    9. G Davies, C Murray, T Williams
    10. Sexton, Russell, Biggar
    11. LRZ, VDM, Maitland
    12. Farrell, Henshaw, Tuilagi
    13. J Davies, North, Ringrose
    14. Watson, Adams, May
    15. Hogg, Williams, Keenan

    2 starters and 7 overall

    • Slimjim on

      Gatland, Farrell, Toony & Mitchell is a dynamic I’d be very interested to observe. Has Gatland every worked with Mitchell?

    • Scrummo on

      Looks about right though with a size of 36 or 38 having been mooted would need culled and with some of the names there it gets very difficult!

      Wonder if Gatland would want more size in the backrow given the physicality of the South Africans. Though could see Beirne starting at 6 for that reason (as well as him having been very good).

      • Scotwayhey on

        I think he will go big. It’s a real conundrum though. Picking a squad to play a side which hasn’t been seen in 18months. Hopefully makes them all focus on our own game

    • Merlot on

      The chances are the squad will be 38 max (21 forwards, 17 backs).
      Only 5 locks will be taken although with Itoje and Beirne you have cover at 6 and 8. If you take both of those then you can only take 6 backrows. If you’ve got Curry, Watson and Faletau, then that means leaving 3 from Navidi, Stander, Tipuric, Underhill, Simmonds and Vunipola. For me the latter three miss out. Shame they are all English!
      With 3 scrum-halves a near certainty, and 3 fly-halves probable, you can only take 11 outside backs. I think LRZ, Farrell, Henshaw, Watson, Williams and Hogg are on the plane. Although if you are taking Farrell do you really need 3 fly-halves? Yes, you do – I cannot see any of Biggar, Sexton or Russell being left out.
      That only leaves 5 spots for your remaining 9 names, and you’ve missed off Johnson, Jones, Harris, Aki, Earls, Halfpenny, Slade and Daly, who are all possibilities.

  48. PabloEscobar on

    People speculating about whether or not Scottish players will be picked for the Lions. I honestly couldn’t care less. Firstly I question whether it is to any players benefit to go given it is Gatland who is the coach. It is debatable he will improve them as players. Secondly given the physical demands placed on players by the modern game they are more likely to benefit from a period of rest.

    • Scotty on

      You’re completely right. It wouldn’t do our players any good to play in a different environment alongside some of the best players in the world against the best team in the world. Every ex-Lions player always talks about how much they regret going 🙄

    • Rory Baldwin on

      Much as I’ve been left cold in recent years by Lions selections, the one thing you do hear from players who come back is that touring with those “best in the world” players removes some of the mystery around them. For Scottish players used to losing to them on a regular basis, learning that lesson could be better than anything.

      • FF on

        I think being coached by Gatland and his team, in an ultra-competitive hothouse environment is also going to be hugely beneficial. Like him or loathe him he’s one of the best coaches in the professional era.

        Our struggle to break through the glass ceiling is clearly mental, we need our players to get these experiences.

      • Saint4805 on

        You just need to watch the spine tingling speeches given by Geechs and Telfer in 1997 and 2009 to know how special Lions tours are.
        I think this year’s tour will have a lot more behind the scenes footage similar to the Amazon All or Nothing series and so it would be really interesting to see Toonie and some of our players in this environment.

      • Rob on

        Hogg was one example. He stated that he was shocked how fit his Lions team mates were …. muscles on muscles he said …. which resulted in him waking up and getting fitter.

  49. greengumbo on

    Brilliant stuff. Too many good performances to name check them all but Harris, Gilchrist and Hogg stood out. Duhan missed tackle had me seething but he fair made up for it.

    Who gives a fudge about the Lions ! Let Gatland take his wee pets to SA and give our guys a well deserved rest.

  50. Saint4805 on

    Just voted for Mish on 6N website. The Welsh vote might be split between LRZ and Faletau. I’d have 1. Mish 2. Beirne and 3. Faletau with a shout out to LRZ

    • Neil on

      Duhan being overlooked here. Top try scorer with 5 this six nations, most tackles broken out of 100+ of the best. I suspect his metres made is probably up there also. Crucial winning tries against England and France for historical wins. Defence has been called into question once or twice but he is still very young into his international career. Why is LRZ considered better?

      • Saint4805 on

        Is that a rhetorical question or are you actually asking me? I don’t decide the nominations unfortunately but I’m sure Duhan must have been close to the final 6. One or two missed tackles can be easily absorbed when you break as many as he does.

      • FF on

        DVDM (31) actually beat the record for broken tackles set by BOD (30) in the 6N inaugural year in 2000.

        I’m not sure why he isn’t considered nailed on for the Lions tbh.

  51. Saint4805 on

    If there are six back three players selected then you’ve got to think they will be Hogg, Liam Williams, Anthony Watson (both can also cover 15), LRZ, Duhan and Josh Adams. These would be my six with Hugo Keenan and Johnny May on standby.

  52. Rob on

    I see that Sexton got concussed AGAIN against Minster. When are World Rugby going to step in and say enough is enough! Sexton is going to be seriously damaged if he continues like this.

  53. TEE CEE on

    Replying to Scotty in an earlier post
    good old Scottish sarcasm, where would we be without it.

    But in truth if you listen to former Scottish lions they say that the foundations for the 84 and 91 grand slams were laid on the previous years lions tours,it showed them the levels they had to achieve.

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