Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 204 – Challenged Cup

On this week’s podcast we chat about the opening round of the Super 6 Sprint Series and review Glasgow and Edinburgh’s European performances. We also preview Scotland’s upcoming game against Italy in the TikTok Six Nations.

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About The Podcast

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

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

Scottish Rugby Podcast

40 Responses

  1. In this podcast you mentioned the idea of the SRU giving out tickets to under-subscribed matches to fill the stands. I wonder if this could be an opportunity to promote the game — either the game as a whole or the women’s game specifically. I see three routes for this:
    1) Target clubs without women’s sides for tickets to women’s internationals to promote the women’s game.
    2) Publicize targeting clubs with women’s sides for tickets to both men’s and women’s internationals to give clubs without women’s sides an incentive to create women’s sides.
    3) Target schools for tickets to both men’s and women’s internationals to promote the game. For schools that don’t play rugby, possibly have them accompanied by ‘ambassadors’ from the professional, Super 6, or senior women’s sides, to help the pupils understand the game.

  2. I really hope the SRU are actively looking for a quality replacement for Danny Wilson. Glasgow have a decent squad but you can’t collapse in the second half of every game and pretend all is well or moving forward.

    Looks like we’ll be denied a Scottish home play-off and fail to get a second team in next years European Champions Cup. If the guaranteed places are dispensed with, our future participation is the big boys cup looks far from secure. It’s quite concerning.

  3. The mighty Huw Jones: Player of the match @15 held every spiral bomb thrown at him by Premiership leaders Leicester. Smile on his face, gives a perfect post match interview, no stammers, stutters or worn out clichés. He fits in well at Quins.

  4. Agreed, I wish he and Hutchinson would have more opportunities in the Scotland team…

    1. Presumably this summer will be their big audition – 4 tests in South America, so everyone is going to get a shot.

      1. Yes but Rory Hutchison was in the wider 6N squad and now Huw Jones has found some form. So considering Hogg is expected to be rested in the summer along with Harris, I’d be very surprised if both weren’t included on a four test tour to a relatively inaccessible region.

      2. FF: A good common sense approach , however I think Rob may be alluding to the fact Toony rarely sees the players , the way we do.

  5. Interesting to read about referees being added the backroom of France, Montpellier and soon Toulon. Maybe this is the sort of trend a forward thinking coach might spot and take advantage of before the rest of the world wakes up and prices rocket. Unless this has been done for a long time and just missed it.

  6. Assuming Townsend does pick a big tour squad filled with in-form players*, who is everyone most excited to see on the summer tour?

    For me, a Hutchinson-Bennett centre pairing looks very very exciting on paper. Combined with Huge Ones at full-back and Steyn/McLean/Graham on the wings, could see them properly cut loose.

    Also really want to see Ben Muncaster get a start. Has been in imperious form for Edinburgh and looks like Bradbury leaving won’t be felt at all.

    *also assumes all of our lions are left at home for a summer off

    1. I think Connor Boyle has took his chance very well. For me he even shades Rory Darge for his work over the ball. I’d love to see him get a bit squad experience, even if it doesn’t lead to a cap just yet. Cammie Hutchison, Ollie Smith and Ben Muncaster in the same boat for me.

    2. If i was naming a top 2 in each position i’d like to see more off excluding lions, it would be something along these lines.

      1. Pierre Schoeman/Oli Kebble
      2. George Turner/Jonny Matthews
      3. Simon Berghan/Angus Williams
      4. Scott Cummings/Jonny Gray
      5. Grant Gilchrist/Richie Gray
      6. Jamie Ritchie/Luke Crosbie
      7. Rory Darge/Connor Boyle
      8. Matt Fagerson/Ben Muncaster
      9. Ben Vellacott/Ben White
      10. Blair Kinghorn/Adam Hastings
      11. Rufus McLean/Kyle Steyn
      12. Cameron Redpath/Rory Hutchinson
      13. Mark Bennett/Sione Tuipolotu
      14. Darcy Graham/Kyle Rowe
      15. Huw Jones/Oli Smith

      For me the big issues are Inside Centre, and replacement depth at Tighthead and Full-back.

      Would love to see Cam Redpath finally get a string of games together, if a Hutchinson/Bennett works that would be great also and needs a runout (although for all the attacking creativity, i think we would have no crash ball option and defence might be questionable).

      Comparing Oli Smith this season to Stuart Hogg at the same age, there is a lot to be excited about him.

      A Jamie Ritchie/Rory Darge combo is also exciting.

      1. Neil, Cammy Hutchison has shades of Alex Dunbar so may be a shout for your problem 12 position (not to mention James Lang)

      2. I agree in some respects James Lang and Cammy Hutchinson provide this option… Sadly i fear in the long run Toony will stick with the Harris option at Outside centre, i don’t think a Lang/Harris or Cammy Hutchinson/Harris offers anything to worry top international teams.

      3. Some good picks, Neil.

        Agreed about tighthead. Haven’t seen Glasgow the past few weeks but Murphy Walker has been getting praises and may be worth bringing along. Slim pickings though.

        Inside centre has to be a playmaker if we are playing Harris. Harris is great at what he does but limited. He can run some good, hard lines but needs someone like Redpath or Hutchinson to put him into holes. If not, it’s too easy for the defence to read and we get frustrated Finn Russell performances like in the 6N.

        Back row depth is great at the moment. Also capped Andy Christie, Josh Bayliss and Dylan Richardson recently who look promising.

  7. Neil the cynical amongst us would say Harris and anyone won’t worry top international teams

  8. Think some of the comments above highlight a key irony now. Not that long ago, if you played midfield – or even wing – and were SQ, you were in the squad as a centre. We now have a far greater pool of talented players and I’m not sure Toonie knows how to get the most of this talent. He wants Harris at 13 to run the defensive line but who to play inside? Johnson has had the shirt but not as securely as CH, who I think would benefit from a stronger play-maker inside. But is that a fit Redpath, Hutchinson? And then what is the back up if Harris is crocked? Most successful teams have a high level of consistency in selection and know what the game plan is; for a variety of reasons, Including a bit of tombola, we just don’t seem to have a huge amount of consistency or a game plan that can utilize the talent we have got in relative depth these days. Huw Jones at FB might be a good call to get more use of this pool.

  9. Given we are going to lose to both SA and Ireland anyway – could we just go out guns blazing pls (and fundamentally play the most talented players).

    Schoeman, McInally, Fagerson
    Gray, Cummings
    Darge, Ritchie, Dempsey
    Price, Russell
    VDM, Redpath, Jones, Darcy, Hogg

    Sutherland, Turner, Nel, Watson/Fagerson/Skinner, Hastings, Bennett, McLean, Maitland

  10. Agree not science, I’d have Crosbie in the starting line up, Scotland need boys like like to get right in amongst the brutish Irish / Saffers. (Out Lightweight back row simply doesn’t work re those teams). Also IMO J.Gray whilst an excellent tackler offer nothing going forward.

  11. Scotland tests announced for autumn: Australia; Fiji; New Zealand; Argentina.

    I guess the Australia game is outside the release window so we’ll be playing a Scottish-based side?

    Exciting line up with return of Vern Cotter to Murrayfield and return of NZ after 5 year gap. Is it too much to ask that the team plays with more intent and cohesion that that last 6N?

  12. Also interesting that London Scottish rejected offer to join Super 8 and immediately announced partnership with Harlequins which involved some sharing of facilities and loaning players to the championship club. Looks like the final death blow to any attempts to get a Scottish base in England.

  13. What on earth is going on with Glasgow? Every game sees them collapse in the second half. Need to replace Wilson urgently, they’re going nowhere except mid-table mediocrity.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. Wilson doesn’t seem to be able to push Glasgow on.

      His pre bulls match comment of “mathematically not needing the win” sounded defeatist. When the coach doesn’t believe he can win how can the players….

      1. Now we get ‘Glasgow will be stronger’ after the 2 South Africa defeats. What b******t

  14. So frustrating to watch Edinburgh. Soft when it mattered. Ulster just wanted it more….

  15. always a good test of where we are when we come up against the Irish sides when both sides close to full strength – alas these days we tend to come up well short

  16. disappointing exits from both Edinburgh and Glasgow – both had leads but couldnt close game down

    1. The adage ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ doesn’t seem to apply to them.

  17. realistically the injury list at both pro clubs means it will be a big ask for either to win. both teams full of wider squad players, its going to be a big ask to win against top teams. I thought the performaces were decent from both. Its also worth mentioning that the officials in the Edinburgh game were a disgrace.

    1. Those are fair points but fact remains that both pro-teams have faced a string of make or break games in URC and challenge cup and lost them all, despite holding winning positions for significant lengths of all those games (QFs, v Ulster, v Bulls).

      Blair is in his first season so I think gets a pass as Edinburgh look to be improving. Wilson looks like to me like he’s not the man to take Glasgow forward. I want to see the SRU act decisively and bring someone in with a bit more pedigree.

  18. Finn Russell through to EPC semis in style. Shame about the rest of Scottish rugby. Didn’t realise Pendergast has taken the Munster job.

    1. Caught the second half live, and watched first half highlights.

      Racing struggled to get front foot ball, but were the better side, without a question in the backs. Out muscled up front. Aldritt was MoM.

      Finn played well from what I saw, created some clear chances that would have been taken on another day and no errors. Was less involved than usual as two French sides reverted to type.

      Nonetheless kicked well and controlled territory to the extent possible. Racing should have won really – they were on top in both halves.

      In particular, late second half, Finn put Teddy Thomas onto a gilt-edged two on one, which he butchered and would have won it. Lions-esque.

      That was annoying, but being honest it was really the young 9, Le Garrec, who cost Racing the game: missed two very kickable penalties when the pressure was on to win. Looked like Finn offered to take them too. Being harsher still, he also just didn’t get the ball out the mayhem enough.

      Le Garrec and Finn were replaced together – for Machenaud and Gibert late on. At that point they had stayed and were still within 2 points (despite being down to 13 men) and having three clear chances to win it (to none at the other end), which should have been taken.

      The change took away the danger man and didn’t prevent the problems they had in the forwards, and can’t remember another chance they created. [ahhh sounds like an injury which makes more sense]

      The late late La Rochelle try would not have featured, if Racing had taken any of those three chances to win the game.

      Bottom line it was won by the La Rochelle forwards, and both sides were tense throughout – but that criticism doesn’t apply to Finn who was composed and one of the better performers on the day. Another day Thomas would have passed and Le Garrec would have slotted one of the kicks in the championship minutes. Russell gave media interviews after.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion