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Scotland v Argentina: Discussion Post

Scotland vs Argentina - graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog
Scotland vs Argentina - graphic © Scottish Rugby Blog

This post is our hub for post-match discussion of the game while we formulate our thoughts.

Please put your post-game discussion points on this post.

Please keep it on topic for the discussion of the actual Argentina game itself and not immediately posting your team for the next game.

How did Scotland play? Did the selections work? Where it all go wrong/right? Did Finn save the day or is he to blame? Let us know your thoughts. Thanks for keeping the discussion civil this Autumn.

184 Responses

  1. Yes. Yes they managed to beat them by just a bit.
    Argentina got a red about 10 mins in but still, the attacking play was, at times, devastating.

    What a performance.

  2. We must be doing something well because England are copying our strategy of going 14 down against the All Blacks

  3. I don’t watch Gregor Townsend’s rugby team anymore, my mental health has improved so much. Townsend is so depressing, I feel sorry for the true talented players that are having their international careers destroyed by Townsend. What other top international team would hire Townsend????

    1. Your loss (nobody else’s). Glad your health is improving, but it may be best to not bother commenting on posting boards for games that you haven’t bothered to watch.

      1. SW90: There is some that have seen the game and their posts are just as baffling. I suggest the point was what damage Townsend is doing. Why was Russell omitted in favour of a Tailors shopwindow Mannequin called Blair Kinghorn? If you can explain that I will be enlightened. I bet you cannot! for one good reason, even Townsend can’t explain sensibly. This guy is the most talked of 10 in Scottish history , what is more he is a roaring success in France and we omit him .

      1. What ? I am sorry maybe it is me , but ‘doing the same’ as what? who? I mean my comments over the years are nothing to be proud of bit give us a hint please.

  4. Shame about the cards and that it got a bit scrappy but some of Scotland’s attacking play was fantastic. Finn was playing like someone with a point to prove.

    Always good to have a captain who is passionate and doesn’t take a step backwards but Richie will need to learn from this that he needs to be keeping things calm and not getting suckered into scrapping with the opposition.

    Some great carrying from the forwards as well.

    My one concern is our inability, again, to score from pick and goes on the line. That’s something the coaches need to work on.

    All in all, a good result.

    1. Really interesting seeing Russell stepping in during the first round of handbags to pull Ritchie back and not get involved in the chaos the Argies were trying to create.

  5. England are mince. We should expect to beat them at Twickenham next year. It’s the first of their games I’ve watched this autumn, but this place would be in total meltdown if Scotland played even one game as bad as what England are showing today.

    1. Well I jinxed that! Not sure what Barrett’s yellow was for, but I guess we should keep 15 on the pitch when we go down there.

      1. They utilised the yellow very well but not sure what else they did game.

        New Zealand give away so many stupid penalties last week and this…they just seem to dot them around the park enough that they don’t get yellows from it.

        England really are poor overall. Two average teams Wales and Scotland have beaten Argentina England didn’t.

        We should bear England next year if Russell plays.

        They seem worse than Scotland from a yard out most of that game and that’s saying something

  6. It’s always hard to properly get a feel for a performance when playing against 14, it invariably gets scrappy as indeed it did. Structure goes out the window which I feel suits us, that’s perhaps a damning indictment of the Toonie playbook but is what Finn Russell was born to do. Lowlights first, the way we handled the game against 12 players, shocking lack of composure, it should have been a turkey shoot but they got too excited and did silly things. As John Barclay said in commentary, all you need to do is play the game, go through the phases and there will be space, there has to be, you don’t need to force it.

    On the plus side, that’s the best backs play I have seen us play for a long time. I have to say, one of the highlights was the guy with the lowest profile, the out of position Tuipolotu, I thought he had an excellent game and definitely overshadowed Harris. Russell was magnificent and that’s all there is to say about it, think he had a hand in all the tries. Hogg rediscovered how to pass to his teammates and we reaped the benefits. We seemed to miss Ritchie Gray at lineout time though. Both second rows were a bit anonymous I thought, I havent seen any stats though so maybe Jonny was quietly racking up the stats unnoticed, actually I do remember him making a decent break late on.

    That mass brawl was comical, I would be amazed if there weren’t some punches thrown in there and some citations to follow. I would be very angry if I was Townsend though (and to be fair he didn’t look that impressed after the match) Argentina sucked us into that behavoir and we fell into it hook line and sinker. Quality banter from Montoya though.

    Overall, for me the autumn was overshadowed by the behind the scenes stuff with Russell I know he couldn’t have played Australia anyway but it makes you wonder what could have been. If we had won 3 games and had that decent game against the all blacks you would think the autumn has been a success. The quality of the performances against Australia and Fiji though just put a dampener on it for me. For the season as a whole I still look at that Wales game as a massive loss for us, Wales are absolute mince just now and England aren’t far behind them, despite that weird, how did they do that draw they just got with the all blacks. Someone needs to start trolling Wales, they are one of the ones who keep arguing for Georgia being in the 6N and relegating Italy or us, I’m sure that’ll quieten them down on that for a while.

  7. I really hope Wales don’t sack Pivac. We need him to be in charge for the 6N. If we don’t beat Wales in the 6N then Toonie should do us all a favour

    1. Wales will most likely beat us in the 6N because then having had a few POOP games, we’ll expect to beat Wales and won’t turn up and they’ll nick an undeserved win like they did in 2021.

    2. I totally agree, particularly the petulant Mr. Townsend.
      We saw a display yesterday from Finn, that was totally and utterly the best on the planet. His vision his speed of execution and his distribution is sensational. The fans want to see him, the players need him, but Mr. Townsend is not impressed. Unbelievable!!!

  8. Some incredible moments. A lot to be very positive about: Tuipuloto is firing at 12 and the overall attack has variety and energy to it. Lots of great individual performances and some notable mentions: Russell (excellent, serious, lean, and a maturity about him), Fagerson M (physical, fast, all over the park), Tuipuloto (solid, a couple of nice steps), Graham (what an athlete…!), Hogg (just so much better without the weight of Captaincy).
    Downsides:
    Lineout wobbled again…sigh. Forwards need coaching with scoring at 5 yards, technique needs work.
    But, biggest issue still that chaos seems to step in the minute things go our way, we still have this immature need to be underdogs mentality lurking in the subconscious. Hence our worst 10 minutes is playing 12 ….astonishing. And conversely our best rugby is often when we’re on the ropes. In the same way you can train resilience this can and needs to be trained, how to keep calm and not throw away a lead, and Captains need to grip this. Ritchie (I’m a big fan) seemed a bit green today, needs to step up.

  9. Today imo vindicates Toony. Attack excellent, selection correct. They need mental coaching and leadership training now so that each player has the tools to cope with the big pressure situations. That, and maintaining depth in the squad might just bring a few more scalps.

    1. You are easily pleased . A year of total mince and one victory against a 14 man pumas side later you think that vindicates Townsends position. Straight out of the Dodson play book.

    2. weeAl , I think you are weeDeluded. There is nothing to be taken from this match other than we struggled to deal with it tactically. I think we lacked edge against 14 and with a heavier pack, we really did nothing . Some very good fast ruck ball today. other than that , I think we were always going to win when the red was raised. The Aussie game was there for the taking, Townsend lost that one for us. No question.

  10. Feel like I watched a different match to some folks…but hey ho..its all opinions.

    My thoughts are that its was really hard to benchmark the performance because Argentina played most of the match with less players on the park.

    Until the sending off Argentina were looking the better side. I can’t help but feel Argentina lost the match from poor discipline. They look a much tougher side than previous years and with 15 on the park I’m not at all sure we win this match. They are good to watch also…and leave it all out there.

    I think a lot of the problems that restrict our progress are still there.

    We still look incapable of doing the ugly stuff to get across the line when we are close to the whitewash. If Argentina had kept their players on the park I can’t help but think we’d be thinking similarly to post NZ.
    The line out was back to being a shambles …and its obvious we need to wrap the aging Ritchie Gray in cotton wool until and through the RWC.
    J Gray and Gilchrist wouldn’t be anywhere near my selections if it was my call…they are just not good enough if we want progress at test level.
    Cummings, Skinner and R Gray in any order are the best we have.
    Price is not playing well at the moment …those aimless box kicks of his are frustrating.
    Our back 3 are playing exceptionally well the last 2 matches and are threatening every time they get the ball. Hogg look far better without the captaincy…though his tackling and general defense are still awful…he looks like he has remembered to pass to teammates…and concentrates on the openings that appear.
    Graham and VDM are up there with the best wingers in rugby. Graham has gone up a level the last year and looks fitter stronger and faster. VDM looks better every passing day he isnt playing English rugby.

    Our back row still doesn’t look right to me. Dempsey hasn’t made the difference many expected he would. Maybe he needs more time to adjust to our style of play. Darge has been a big miss imo…he should be our 1st 7 when fit. Richie at 6 ….but still can’t say we have a great 8 that complements them. Christie in ahead of Crosbie still seems like a missed opportunity.

    Tui did have a better game…but still looked like a 13 playing 12…and Harris is setting us back. Redpath 12 Tui 13 hands down for me.
    I can’t decide whether being dropped rejuvenated Russell or its just that he has matured exponentially since the 6N. Either way….the last 2 matches he has shown himself to be the most uniquely talented 10 in rugby with no exceptions. Wonderful 10 when he plays with maturity. He looks far fitter than he did in the last 6N and with a more determined attitude.Though I do wonder if having a child will distract his next year or benefits it.
    We’ll need to be better than this Autumn series in the 6N and better again for RWC…and we need to be prepared to play at a high level for 80mins not 50 or whatever.

    1. I agree with a lot of this. Poor discipline doesn’t just happen, though – Argentina’s discipline has been pretty good this autumn, it went out of the window because we put them under pressure.

      On the row, it’s about combinations from me. Gilchrist and J.Gray don’t work, in the same way that Johnson and Harris don’t work for me in the centre – they’re good and bad at the same things. I’d have one of Richie and Cummings and one of Gilchrist and Jonny (Jonny of the two for me – much more secure and quick to present the ball in attack). Skinner seems to be able to do it all, maybe lacking a little heft in the scrum. I’d go Gray bros, Skinner on the bench.

      And I don’t think Redpath and Tui is a bad option, but please do just keep an eye on Harris in defence. Every phase, everyone on our team is looking at him to ensure they’ve got their position right. Redpath and Harris for me, Tui on the bench covering both.

      1. Hogg made a tackle yesterday , I saw it with my own eyes. It was not all Russell , there way we aligned to allow him to transfer at speed was well drilled.

      2. Yes … discipline is challenged by pressure…I agree with that. That said, I felt that our forward combinations aren’t working right partly through not having a defined and settled spine in our forwards selection.
        Fair enough injuries disrupted the 2nd row …again for me its between Skinner Cummings R Gray . Gilchrist and J gray I would not have any where near the side… their lack of mobility and physicality is not test standard. We consistantly have lame forward display when they are in the side. I’d select younger upcoming 2nd rows ahead of them.
        Ashman should be our 1st choice hooker…I have no idea why GT keeps chopping and changing that…its can’t be helping the lineout that he does.
        I haven’t seen anyone who has been outstanding as our 8.
        Harris should be a backup if the midfield is losing from a physicality battle.. and Redpath/Tui are not creating space…although I think for eg Stafford McDowell can be that player also…if he can stay injury free for once. Both Tui and Redpath are decent tacklers…not the biggest guys but they are fine. We’ve now got the 6N to sort this out…and not much else. If we can sort the spine out we’ll compete.

      3. Defence isn’t just tackling, it’s everybody being in the right place to make the tackle. Tui and Redpath are perfect competent defenders – so are Bennet, Johnson and Jones tbf – but when it comes to organising the defense, Harris is a one-off. This is why our win percentage with him playing since the last RWC is nearly twice as good as our win percentage without him.

        He really doesn’t help his Stans sometimes – Darcy’s brilliant finish saved him from a Hall of Fame butchered try yesterday – but he’s pivotal to the team, and he’s going nowhere before the world cup.

      4. I agreee the backs line defense positioning seems to be strongly influenced by Harris.
        What are we trying to do tho?….are we trying to just matchup to opposition strengths?..Im not convinced that’s what will take us forward to the successes that everyone seems to be frustrated that we are not achieving. I feel we are still underutilizing an exceptional back line pool of players. Im not saying Harris is the sole reason for that….but there is a strong argument for maximizing our distribution with the players we have available who can do that. Harris doesn’t have test level distribution ..its the weak spot in his game.
        Against the likes of SA and Ire instead of trying to match them I think we’d stand a better chance having a go in a manner that suits us which is the best change that I felt Cotter was imposing .
        I feel that GT has pulled back from that and its limiting us.
        Like you say tho….Harris wont be going anywhere with Mr Stubborn at the helm.

      5. You’re talking a lot of sense here. If we play Harris (and to be clear, I absolutely think we have to) we need a proper distributor at 12. For me, that’s Redpath. (Or kinghorn, but that’s a debate for another time).

        Maybe going full attack would be so overwhelming that we could just outscore teams, but we’ve tried that before and when it didn’t work, it got ugly in a hurry.

        To be fair though, Harris won’t be around for long. I hope he’s have long sessions with Tui, teaching him all he can. I feel like Redpath and Tui are our starting midfield at the next RWC, where we’ll hopefully be in a less insane group and have a chance of going deep into community.

        Take a lot of notes, Sooner, because when it comes to defence, Harris is one of the best.

    2. Some good points.

      Re Russell – I feel that he’s probably been maturing fast since learning he’s going to become a Dad – it’s an amazing thing that has concentrated the minds of many players in many sports over the years and could be the cure to his flighty nature which can cost us in games. What we saw yesterday (and previously with NZ, and for Racing) tells me that after a good break, knuckling down, getting fit, mind focused, more maturity – he could turn into the Russell we’ve always wanted. Knock on wood.

      If that is the case, then why on earth Toony insisted on leaving him out initially is beyond me. You can’t say he’s “responded” to being left out – all indications are that he was in this frame of mind and form before being dropped from the squad. Still feel that was a piece of left over petulance from Toony until his hand was forced.

      Hard to know what else to make of this game other than the fact we have some fantastic backs when we find space – which the card gave us, but again, can the forwards provide that in bigger games when the numbers are equal? That seems the key to our success.

    3. Hit the nail on the head, the minute Kremer was sent off that was the game for Argentina who were all over us.

      Also agree that we showed an abject lack of composure (especially against 12 men).

      Tui played better this week though, and short of getting 9 and 12 sorted out that’s our starting backs and the right bench blend as well (just a question whether White starts ahead of Price and Cam ahead of Tui).

      Forwards are a different question though, and we still need to find the right blend there.

  11. So I think we now have a two tier Six Nations but Scotland are top of the bottom.

    France
    Ireland
    Scotland
    England
    Italy
    Wales

    Yet I think we’re a fair bit clear in third…England don’t seem to have a clue…I’d be worried if we were playing Italy away this year.

    We should be targeting 3 wins how we beat the other two answers on a postcard

    1. I agree with that.

      Though England showed us how to nudge the ball over the whitewash….even if that’s all they have…which it is.

      Ireland are POOPY without Sexton and look like they have no one to step into his boots.

    2. I can only assume that some people on here switched off the England game at half-time, because Eng were terrific in the second half. And I can’t imagine that they – or any other Tier 1 nation – would have contrived to concede a try to a team that only had 12 players on the field.

      1. England were rubbish until the 71st minute…they had 6 points on the board no cutting edge and were more Scotland than Scotland from the dangerous 1 metre range. Against an ill disciplined yet dangerous New Zealand.

        Yes they would have dealt better with 12 against as proved with 14 against in the last 9 minutes.

        Don’t understand not doing what they just did 3 times again with time in the red…seemed crazy with all the momentum and the way they had charged up the field. Crazy.

        England are dodgy and really don’t seem to match up well against Scotland. We are a bogey team at last. They have 1 win in the last 5 meetings…that has to unprecedented between the teams.

      2. I was interested in this so I looked it up – oddly enough it’s happened a few times, the last of which was in the 80s. We go through these long periods of being shredded by them every year, and then these wee flurries of beating them. These flurries don’t even seem to be based on how good we are generally (England won 10 in a row in the 90s, then 2 out of 5 in the mid-200ss)

        We’re due a shellacking from them – our recent record is absolutely ridiculous given the relative resources. But the last couple of games, they’ve seemed so desperate to absolutely smash us that they forget to beat us first.

      3. Since England moved to expansive rugby and away from the rumble it up the jersey forwards , we have fared better. If they go back to forward domination, we will not beat England as we are not capable of beating them that way.

      4. Angerine….
        My recollection of the 2000’s were a few draws the odd win but England dominating and we winning by a penalty in the wet mud every now and again. Maybe that was the early 2010s too.

        I maybe wrong but going onto 2018 we had no confidence in winning. I remember that being a huge day. We could give up 7 points and still win as the clock went red.

        We haven’t had this dominance for a good 40 years. Even the no win at Twickenham since 1983 proves that partly surely. We are unbeaten at Twickenham now in 6 years…that is unprecedented too.

  12. Oh and I don’t want anyone injured but could you imagine the mess, chaos and lack of magic and 3 out of 4 losses with no momentum, no hope no nothing had Hastings not got that injury…

    …probably saved Scotland’s 2023. 2022 was gone already and has saved Townsends job and Russell’s Scotland career…

    Sliding Doors moment bigger than most.

  13. Backs were good, Just need a bit more cutting edge in the midfield so less focus is on our deadly back-three. Personally i hope Huw Jones has a really good run of form (offensively and more importantly defensively) at 13 over the next couple of months and forces Townsend to give him an opportunity.

    If Tuipolotu continues to be selected at 12 for country, he needs to be getting regularly picked at 12 for club, Townsend and Smith need to come to an agreement on this, as he showed he can be effective. (I’d still have Redpath)

    I think Harris can have his uses against the best attacking teams such as France or NZ but teams such as Ireland and South Africa i believe can be negated with a Bennett or Jones, and having a way to cut them open is more important.

    I hope Price steps up his game, i don’t want the team to keep being changed up as its too close the WC, but there are better 9’s out their right now, still having some post-lions hangover? He has not really had a break.

    For me, Richie Gray and Sam Skinner feels like the right blend in the 2nd row. Cummings off the bench, or Gilchrist… but please no more J.Gray.

    The most competitive position seems to be hooker, will Townsend be able to settle on a first choice?

  14. First off – we can only play against what is there, and how often do we see having 14 men galvanise a team? It’s not fair to downgrade our performance based on that as many are doing – using it as an excuse to negate some excellent rugby.

    Even before the red card, Russell looked very sharp and he had a superb game. Categorically Townsend not selecting him initially wasn’t a masterstroke that turned him around….. firstly it hinged on Hastings getting injured, secondly Russell has been performing for Racing 92 at that level way before not being selected. Not taking him on the summer tour was sensible as he needed a rest, but any narrative beyond that is nonsense.

    Backs as a whole were very good – back 3 are world class and Hogg (who had a good game last week) linked brilliantly with Russell and Graham particularly. Centres is still a bit of an issue – Tuipulotu played well, but for gods sake put him at 13 with Redpath at 12. Harris showed his deficiencies in attack I’m afraid – butchered a couple of easy tries (thankfully others stepped in and still scored), dropped a few balls and often just doesn’t look fluid running moves. Price is solid but not on his best form and White runs the ball too often when there is nothing on – still don’t know what Horne has to do to get selected as he is more dangerous than either of them.

    Forwards were a mixed bag – lineout missed R.Gray massively, back row unbalanced (due to injury) – Dempsey and Fagerson made some powerful runs but we don’t need both of them together and missed a second jackler. Darge or Watson (hopefully form will pick up although still doing the dirty work well) need to play when fit. Front row doing well – Ashman has been the best of the bunch for me.

    We played a bit loose and conceded a couple of soft tries, although this tends to happen when playing against 14, comfortably ahead and there is a tendency to get a bit too fancy so I’m not overly concerned.

    Also too many points left out on the field particularly within 5 yards – couple of times the ball should have gone wide sooner, get the feeling they have been told not to until we have a penalty, and need a bit more drive that close to the line. Imagine where we will be if we get more clinical in these areas – because otherwise we have looked a better team overall in all our games.

  15. Ponderings….

    Russell superb, I personally think that all his non selection / 4th best 10 has undermined GT and his judgement.
    Tuipulotu had a cracking game, needs to be at 13 to be most effective.
    Darcy Graham immense, best winger in the world just now.
    Hogg looks back to old self.
    Struggled in line-out – it shouldn’t be down to one guy. Turner really struggling. Lack of a back of the line option hamstringing us.
    Composure when Argentina down to 12 not good.
    Dempsey didn’t have the overall impact I thought he might.

  16. I thought Scotland did not deal clinically with the 14 men. Still have a problem with Captaincy, that needed leadership. A lot said of Russell but nothing to date about the fact his kicking was accurate. That allowed us to maximise the score and keep them at arms length.

    We let them in 24-22. Can you imagine if we had not got our kicks , they would have been ahead and we would have imploded in low self esteem.

  17. Townsend: Bar the injury to Hastings he would have continued to play Kinghorn who’s poor kicking lost us the Australian match. What we learned yesterday is we lack maturity as a side (Townsend’s Tombola to blame – there is no settled side). That Russell got the kicks to nail the points (Townsend’s forced recall of Russell).That players lack confidence (Townsend drops you at will) .

    The ARG played better rugby than us with only 12 men , why ? I just told you why. It could have been much harder yesterday had we been leaking points for lack of a kicker.

    1. Makes sense to me. I do not think Toony is all to blame for this. Russell’s celebrations off the pitch seem to undermine himself and give Toony the perfect reasons. Circumstances such as Injury help Toony mask the extent of his randomness.

      The Kinghorn situation has backfired and it is not for the first time Toony’s strange tactics have nosedived. It is just about time for a new coach anyway , he has lasted well all things considered , will we judge him as harshly when the day arrives? As I see it we are stuck with him till he does something that makes him an attractive acquisition. Right now his public Feud with Finn is simply prolonging any chance of him being given a nice wee job elsewhere.

  18. I still have major issues with Zander and hooker. Zander is not a great scrummager and is inept in open play – one step, two step and fall down. Look at other sides and their tight heads mobility. For hooker, that has been covered in other posts. No more needed to be said. Line outs a lottery at times yesterday. Need a strong capt who would have laid down the law when 3 players up.

  19. That was as good a display of attacking rugby I’ve seen from anybody in a while. Finn and Darcy magnificent. It seems like Hogg made more passes in that game than in his last 10 games combined and he is a much better player for it (maybe he felt he didn’t have to do everything himself), DVDM and Sione very good too.

    But I think we need some sober analysis about why we conceded nearly 30 points to a team which played most of the game with 14 men and long spells with 13 or even 12.

    According to one report I’ve seen, Scotland tackled with 92% success and had the bulk of territory and possession. That should not result in losing 29 points.

    My feeling at the game was that we were conceding tries very easily once Argentina got into a scoring position. Just like our attack close to the line, our defence close to the line seems to fall off.

    Our defensive shape and line look very, very good outside our 22 and it seems to me that (interceptions aside) the opposition only get into our 22 when we cough up a penalty that sets up a lineout or when we get caught trying to play too much rugby there from a kick.

    So, we need to stop infringing in midfield. Let the opposition have the ball if necessary and force them to earn the right to play in our 22. Chances are they will make a mistake themselves if we keep our shape. And if they do go multiple phases to score from their own half then fair play.

    I think we also we need to teach DVDM how to kick. At the moment he will try to run everything back which, although he is very good at it, makes him predictable and I sense that teams are starting to target that.

    Just kicking it back a couple of times a game could make life much easier for him when he does choose to run and will, hopefully, avoid the cases where he is caught before support gets to him.

    Hogg and Darcy also get caught occasionally when kicking might have been a better option (but in those cases it is not because they CAN’T kick). Ideally, you don’t want games descending into kick tennis but when championships are on the line, sometimes entertainment and risk need to be tempered slightly.

    1. Hogg definitely passes more when he is confident in the players around him. He overplays and tries to do it all himself when he isn’t.
      Shows the confidence having Russell and 2 good wingers brings.

  20. Good finish to the autumn series and its mainly due to the return and scintillating play from Finn Russell. He is such a talent and ticked all the boxes of what you’d want from a 10.

    I recon Russell ironically saved Townsend his job.

    Standouts: Richie Gray, Z. Fagerson (he was solid but for once not a penalty machine), Tuipulotu (growing into the 12 position), Redpath (great to have him back and give us a more attaching threat), VDM (frighteningly good), Graham (absolute pocket rocket), Hogg (far too many mistakes for his experience but got better and good to see him back as an attacking threat), and Russell of course. No longer the maverick, but a world class performer.

    1. Standout: Finn Russell’s kicking, so good compared to Blair Kinghorn. As an aside did anyone see Joe Marler kicking his conversion. I think Mr K should take note.

  21. I get a bit sick of people saying “the red card changed the game”, like it’s an act of god. Marcos Kremer changed the game. In the same way Finn changed the game with his play, Kremer changed the game with a stupid, dangerous action.

    I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last two times we’ve had a game-changing red card in big match, it’s been for a foul on Jamie Ritchie. He’s adjusting to captaincy (decision-making and ref management need work), but he’s just such a nightmare to play against.

    It seems very likely (basically only injuries could stop it imo), that right now we’re witnessing Scotland’s all-time top three try scorers playing together in the same back three. I’ve never seen anything like it when they get going.

    I thought Mike Blair was a bit cheeky talking about “Gregor’s got the best out of Finn”. But the fact remains – but for a spell against England, Finn wasn’t playing like this in the Six Nations. We’re just such a threatening team when he gets into his flow.

    Overall, we were within a kick of beating Australia (despite only being able to pick players from the 7th and 8th best teams in the URC last season), beat Fiji comfortably (without ever setting the world alight), lost a tight one to New Zealand (we’ve come closer to beating them, but we’ve never had an hour of dominance like we did last week against them), and shredded Argentina (although they’ll feel like they should have done better.

    We’ve played moments of great rugby in all the games, in both attack and defence. The main problems are still psychological for me – we don’t look comfortable defending leads, white line fever is still a huge issue, unforced errors at crunch moments. And that psychological, human stuff is Townsend’s weak spot. I think we’ve seen this autumn how far Townsend has taken us, and that he probably isn’t going to take us any further.

    (That doesn’t mean I want him gone now btw – he’s earned the right to another world cup, it’s a terrible time to recruit, and a coaching team of Scott Robertson, Shaun Edwards and Wayne Smith couldn’t get us out of that group. But post-RWC, I’d be looking around for a great man-manager to take us to the next level).

    1. Agree with all of this Angerine. Not the moment to lose Toony but definitely following the WC (assuming we don’t do a lot better than expected….). I think fans are sometimes unrealistic and a few bursts of brilliance should mean we’re winning Championships. We just haven’t earnt that yet, we don’t have the clinical edge, the consistency, the leadership, or emotional maturity to win Championships, but we are a country mile from where we were, we’re nailing a lot of the fundamentals, abrasive, physical, organised, and we are much much improved. We played some excellent rugby, the Argentine frustration was manufactured, that’s what SA do. We also shat the bed and gave them a try seemingly because we couldn’t handle the pressure of having a 3 man advantage!
      This winter the squad should be on leadership psychology training, meditation, whatever it takes to start properly believing in themselves. For maybe the first time, Russell looked like he’d made that step mentally and emotionally.

      1. *John Cleese voice* “alright, but apart from a first win in Wales for 18 years, a first win in Paris for 21 years, a first win England since the 80s, the most competitive Six Nations ever, most tries scored in a single six nations, fewest tries conceded in a single six nations, 50-point wins over three Tier 1 nations and the best overall record of any Scotland manager in the history of rugby, what has Townsend ever done for us?”

        He’s a deeply flawed manager, and if it ended now, I suspect he’d have nothing but regret. But to suggest we haven’t improved in his time as manager is just not backed up by reality.

      2. Point well made Angerine. I think Townsend has taken Scotland as far as he can and must be replaced post-RWC, but too many fans can’t separate his record from their view on Scottish factional politics. It’s very parochial, but there it is.

        Over the AIs Scotland probably achieved just below par IMO. There are still deep flaws in all our performances remaining. If we can go into the 6N with our keys players intact and Russell on form we might generate enough momentum to be competitive, but winning again at Twickenham on the first weekend is a big ask so I suspect we’ll be in a hiding to nothing. I desperately want to beat Wales.

        I hope the SRU is noising up Gatland who has said he wants to return North. He was able to get the best out of the talent Wales had at their disposal and he has a tough mentality that our players would benefit from. Hopefully we’ll have a couple of years of Russell and Hogg left and can make a decent stab at the championship.

        Personally, I couldn’t care less about the RWC before we’ve broken our 6N duck.

      3. We Al @What happened in the RWC? Did he just have an offday. Superfast rugby , fittest team in the tournament were home superfast.

      4. Yeah, you’ve articulated where I think we are really well FF. Six years of any manager, you probably start going through the motions.

        Ruckov – again, you’re taking a Scotland problem and turning it into a Townsend problem. The ugly truth is we’ve struggled to get out of our RWC group since professionalism. Twice we’ve failed, three times we’ve beaten the team in third by less than a score ( beat Fiji by 2 in 2003, Italy by 2 in 2007, Samoa by 3 in 2015). Sure, we were all gutted by the performance at the time, and Japan were better than anybody (especially Ireland) expected. But in historical context, it wasn’t an outlier.

      5. Angerine : I disagree ;Quote ‘again, you’re taking a Scotland problem and turning it into a Townsend problem.’ Of course I am , why would I not?

        If a Scotland problem is not a Townsend problem , then who owns the problem ? He is paid, paid to fix it, paid to win, paid to entertain the fans who pay substantive sums for a ticket plus the hidden costs of attending. Paid , paid, paid to pwn the problems.
        You cannot justify early exit from the RWC as being business as usual . By implication you are saying progression to the knockout round is just bonus.

        We are a Tier 1 top 8 side , currently number 6.

        I suspect it is taken as understood that our player pool has expanded in terms of depth and strength in recent years. We were the last union to embrace professionalism and spread ourselves too thin trying to run 3 pro sides and dumped the reivers quite righty as it failed and had no support. Since concentrating on 2 sides, putting an academy in place and not our semi pro super 6 , we have improved the feeder system dramatically. I would agree those early years were shametaurist, but we should not be looking back , that is behind us.

        Just cannot agree. You see for all the good, we still lose to Australia by a point, and make mistakes like having no quality kicker in the team. That is a howler.

      6. FF: When we beat England , I feel we have beaten a better side, when we lose to Wales, I always feel we have lost to a worse side than ourselves.

      7. Definitely last year Broono. Wales were mince, we couldn’t shake them off then we had our ritual collapse. That was even worse than the Cardiff 2018 debacle. Why do they always inspire our worst performances???

      8. You’re absolutely right Ruckov, Scotland did go to 6th in the World rankings today. Weird that this happened after such a disappointing year with such a godawful coach. Must be another clerical error from World Rugby.

        And as for the idea the Townsend should win because he gets paid – I had no idea that Galthie, Farrell, Jones and Pivac were working pro bono. Community service, is it?

        Sorry to be such a sarky git – I know we all want the same thing, and I’ve been just as gutted, angry and confused as anyone by moments this year. I just think that, by trying to pin everything that goes wrong on Townsend, while conveniently forgetting everything that goes right, you’re letting everyone else – the players, the SRU, and yes, the fans – off the hook. Some of these are deep structural and even psychological problems which were there long before Townsend, and will be there long after. Given that, his record is neither inspiring over-achievement, nor chronic under-achievement. It’s just where we are.

      9. @angerine : Well as a 6th in the rankings we can expect to progress this world cup, I am sure we can. Wales have just fallen to Georgia, Toony managed to get his win ratio bolstered by playing them loads and winning surely we are not being unreasonable expecting that Scotland can beat Wales. It was not the fans that omitted putting a competent kicker on the field against Australia ? In fact we protested.

        Even I live in the real world. Of course it is not all his fault.

        By the way our ascension is at the hands of others who have gone south as well, like Wales and Australia, how much better could it have been if we had kicked our penalty’s and beaten Australia. Wonder if we will be 6th this time next week.

        I am ready to get back to the URC and Premiership. I suppose we won the games we were meant to win, no more, no less. Think Finn Russell made the difference (good job he did).

  22. More ponderings (after rewatching the game)
    Need Richie Gray
    Redpath needs to play 12, his beautiful pass in the lead up to Hoggs try tells its own story.
    Harris – decent strong but should be nowhere near the squad, his “contribution” to Graham’s 1st try then his knock on after Hogg/Graham broke from their own line ample evidence.
    Back row interesting- I’m a big fan of Crosbie as a big aggressive ball carrier, however a few candidates – Darge, Watson not involved yesterday.
    Need to employ strategies that allows Russell wee bit time space. (maybe his best game for Scotland yesterday)
    Tuipulotu has made me think about “my” 13

  23. The only thing I could see Townsend do different in Australia match (bar kicking, Kinghorn had a very good game) was put Thomson on for the last ten. I’d have more confidence in him kicking the penalty i felt Kinghorn would miss.

    It may not have been design but for 2023 this has brought Russell to playing world class again for Scotland…he wasn’t good in six nations.

    I wouldn’t agree with the way it’s happened but I think it could be very useful for Scotland next year.

    Big test is Ireland at home. Will tell alot.

    1. Russell has been on fire all season at Racing. Kinghorn as been a donkey and Thomson is not getting enough airplay at Glasgow.

      1. Russell couldn’t play Australia…Thomson is a better kicker than Kinghorn and Kinghorn has not been a donkey he played well that day especially…not sure your points make sense fully

        Russell is in his rightful place now.

      2. Referendum : What, I never said he couldn’t play Australia, I never said that (he wasnt in the squad despite being on form all season is the point. )

        You think Kinghorn is not a donkey , I do and that is my opinion, I don’t mind you disagreeing with that. I believe he came on the pitch yesterday, I hardly noticed, did you !

      3. Leaving out Russell was not only a ridiculous call but his reasoning was farcical.

        In terms of Kinghorn many people whom I respect and know more than I say he’s a decent international 10…I think he has come a long way but he is nowhere near Russell in any aspect.

        His kicking is not up to scratch so if he is playing another should be doing place kicks.

        Sione has really stepped up since Russell came back in and Johnson and Russell have combined well over the years.

        But maybe the experiment should be Kinghorn at 12 however we’re way past that now.

        Perhaps Kinghorn having a few starts means that we have a back up should we need to “Break Glass” in an emergency.

      4. Ref: We are losing focus and trying to fit Kinghorn in. We are not looking at the bigger picture any more, it is all what to do with dearest Blair Kinghorn. Has this blog become a nice place, for nice people. We dont need to find Blair Kinghorn a place, he is now completely displaced. We have much better centers in reserve not to mention wingers : Steyn, Mclean, Bennett, Hutchinson, Redpath to name a few and Ollie Smith given time could be the next generation 15 and the player who has so much latent potential Huw Jones is still to return to fitness. I will add Huw Jones will not be a Toony selection, his loyalties lie elsewhere with Redpath for example but he does occasionally throw a bone to Hutchinson and Jones.

        Back to the point , Why are we trying to find a place for Kinghorn anywhere in the back line? He is a Scotland B starter year in year out and the recent experiences elsewhere will help him find a good side away from Edinburgh on which to build experience and a healthy income. I suggest he has had his leg up from Toony , it is up to him now. What is more he missed the kicks that lost Toony the USA and Australian matches. Come on Toony. I think this experiment is running out of steam. I sort of agree with a comment earlier, someone is messing with his career, but my view is he now has options he never had before. I suspect he will be a utility back in the 2023 Squads. We still do nit have a great deal of depth at Stand off.

      5. Bassrock completely agree…he has a lot of scope for multiple cover off the bench which could be said to be of use but anything else is sentiment not good for the best for the rugby nation.

        In every potential position we have multiple better options.

      1. Indeed he could have I think he had him on the bench and he was on the pitch for the kick. But unless ur chosen kicker is off he won’t change the kicker. A mess all round really

    2. @Referendum

      I think the other tactical / selection mistake for that game was not including James Lang at 12. Would have made sense to keep the Edinburgh axis together and it was very noticeable in that game how little ball made it’s way to the back 3. Tuipulotu wasn’t awful in that game but it was noticeable how much better he played with Russell (a different style of 10 and much better distributor that Kinghorn).

      But otherwise I agree. The reason we lost that game was more down to a bit of mental fragility from the players than due to coaching howlers.

      1. No doubt overall players decisions cost us it was just that in usual circumstances hanging on a bit you’d maybe try changing the 10 for something different with ten to go…and so with a clutch kick to win I’d say Thomson is a better place kicker than Kinghorn…

        …Kinghorn misses a higher percentage of kicks at this moment in his career he isn’t international class in that area

      2. And the biggest difference with Russell back was that he got DVM and Darcy on the ball which made the overall feel of attack night and day….no doubt not as simple as it seems but why can’t other 10s give them the ball??

  24. That Finn is now a place kicker of the very highest order is huge.

    Fix the line out, get RG back.

    Keep Dempsey at 8.

    And settle on that midfield – can it be Redpath and Tui?

    1. Harris will never be dropped and I think he does manage to keep stuff together we don’t see. He is crucial and in what we lose in attack we need in defence and organisation his workrate is mad.

      I think we can afford one defensive type in amongst 6 other attacking magicians

      1. We need a world class defence coach and then we can have 7 magicians that can defend. As a union I am sure we have the money, I wonder what is stopping it. It is obvious when you see what such coaches have done to Ireland and Wales. I wonder why ? Anyone got any ideas !

        Chris Harris is doing a good job for us, he is successful at Gloucester. but we really need good all rounders and competition in every position.Right now , no Harris , we lose his unique skill.

      2. Oh Rory , it is good to see you joining the fun and games however I think you may be referring to the Coach of the Lions series we just lost 2-1 in South Africa. We already have him, it was Shaun Edwards I had in mind. The coach of the 6N Champions and by this time next year, potentially the world champions.

      3. Quite right, we have had enough of second best , let’s get the organ grinder himself. We deserve Edwards. I always said so , it is well documented.

  25. Still feel we are missing power in the pack and the bench, especially to carry us over the line 5m out.

    Bring in Bradbury, Richie G (lineout), Skinner and Darge.

    Jack Dempsey – Rory Darge – Magnus Bradbury – Richie Gray – Sam Skinner – Zander Fagerson – Fraser Brown – Pierre Schoeman

    Jamie Ritchie- Scott Cummings – Murphy Walker – Rory Sutherland – Stuart McInally

    My only question on a Bradbury/Darge/Dempsey compared to the Usual Ritchie/Watson/Fagerson is would the work rate be high enough and where would the leadership come from.

    We would definitely have the power game at least.

    1. Maybe Bradbury 8,
      Darge 7 , Ritchie 6 is worth a go…Dempsey or Fagerson on the bench. Muncaster looks a promising 8 if he can get more game time off of Mata.

      Not much of a fan of the Ritchie/Watson/Fagerson combo …dont get me wrong all good players …but the combo just isnt enough of what we need..imo

      Anyhoo …not likely to happen as Bradbury seems to have fallen out of favor with GT..and we all know how that goes.

      1. Halfway through which campaign?

        Don’t think that matters much anyway for a player involved in many squad camps under GT. Made little difference to Russell.

        Anyhoo…was just putting a name out there as a possibility moving forward…and the lads been doing well in a good league.. we have such a dearth of 8 options.

      2. Ruggers : Dont feed them. He isnt here for your wisdom. Bradbury will get his day , his latest move will make him a better more resilient player and then his time will arrive. Very few of our players are around for long these days.

    2. I’d like to see Ritchie, Darge and Fagerson with Bradbury off the bench. Think the pace and energy of the first 3 is crucial and capitalising on that is our best chance of getting on top. Any time we try and go for power, we just end up looking like a discount version of Ireland / France / South Africa.

      Bradbury has always been hot-and-cold for Scotland but when he’s in the mood he is our best impact option. Having him, Cummings, Sutherland and Ashman coming on could really help the sag we’re starting to see in the last quarter (Argentina game excepted obviously).

      Not sold on Dempsey yet for Scotland. Didn’t have the impact we expected and was more reminiscent of his more anonymous games for Australia than his dominant ones for Glasgow. Would like to see him get another shot though.

      1. Yes …that sounds like a good option to try also.
        Ritchie/Darge/Fagerson
        Im not sure what GT sees in Christie that puts him ahead of Crosbie. He’s been playing really well for Edinburgh. He had a tough time for many years with injuries but seems to be in a better place. A good tough ball carrying player with attitude ..and would seem a good option for the back of the lineout where we are struggling.
        Ritchie is one of those players who often doesn’t look amazing …but you sure do miss him when he isnt playing.
        We have this plethora of natural 6s but not 8s.. imo.
        Fagerson…I think he is a good player who has shown he deserves to play test level..I just can’t decide what his position is…he can play all 6,7,8 with his style…but I just dont know if he offers enough of what we need to be the starter in any of them.
        If he is the 8 guy Im ok with it…he has played well at 8 in some recent games…but im not sold on it either.
        Dempsey could well be one of those guys that looks great at club level and meh at test level. I felt his gain line drives had far less impact at test level..he is up against the top players..in club rugby he plays against some top players and some significantly lesser players. His chances of carrying further obviously increase. I can see what Dave Rennie meant…and why Australia moved on from him. Then again maybe he will prove himself with a run.
        Bradbury has been hit and miss for Scotland…but maybe playing in a league where physicality is a must will be the making of him. He gave the impression he wasn’t maxing his potential in Scotland. He could be a really good 8…but whether he ever will be.. who knows.
        As others have said tho….nobody is looking a stick on …which is disappointing. Darge will be ,I think , if he gets fitness and then form back.

  26. The bottom line re the back row is that nobody has stood out in the autumn internationals . We have half a dozen guys who are much of a muchness and haven’t cemented their place despite having multiple opportunities and I would include Ritchie and fagerson in that group. I’d love to see Darge, Crosbie and Dempsey get a run out but that is unlikely to happen.

    1. Matt Fagerson has been terrific in every game IMO. He’s under appreciated because he is not a Vunipola or Vermeulan. It I can’t remember the last time we wasn’t excellent.

      1. Agree, he is everywhere. People think he’s not big or impactful, but he makes yards, and size isn’t everything, witness Savea.
        Fagerson is 15 kg heavier. In stats comparison he’s about the right weight, and makes as many tackles vs missed, yards made etc as anyone. Compare to say Savea or Vermeulen. Fans don’t seem to appreciate his work rate.

  27. It’s peculiar we are now 6th in the world after a 5/12 win ratio in 2022, its because others around us are in worse form.
    Fron the AI my conclusions are – still need some go forward ball from the back row, whoever is dropped is very unfortunate but Crosbie (and hopefully Darge) would be in my 23.
    Would Kinghorn be in the squad………… probably not IMO better 10 options (Hastings) Kinghorns average kicking probably deciding factor.
    Harris out of squad too, loads of talk about being the defensive leader but much better options for the 13 jersey whether you want muscle or flair.
    Ludicrous/ embarrassing situation surrounding Finn Russell.

    1. I think the reality is the top 10 or so in world rugby is more competitive than its ever been.

      Australia might be in ‘worse’ form but they lost to France and Ireland by 3pts or fewer away from home and those are the two best sides in the world. They’ve beaten the Boks this year.

      Argentina might be in ‘worse’ form but they’ve beaten NZ this year and England at Twickenham.

      So I don’t think we should downplay our position in the rankings. Really we should have put away Australia and would be even more comfortable.

      As always the 6N is the acid test.

  28. Reasons to be cheerful
    We scored 8 tries and when we create chances I expect us to score (Especially once Darcy has a sniff of space). It hasn’t been like that often in the 40 years that I have supported Scotland.
    Richie Gray sorted the line out and rolled back the years.
    We have a young captain learning his trade, who plays in the right position and looks to have the right stuff.
    Not compounding penalties which we were at the start of the AIs.
    Other options that could come in and improve key positions.
    Finn looks truly world class – involved in 8 tries, commanding the backs.
    Players looking committed to the cause and enjoying playing.
    Everyone, forwards and backs play better with Finn pulling the strings.
    Townsend drawing attention to Finn’s alround game including defending.

    1. Toony was not that positive about Finn 2 months ago, however I am pleased they are back in harmony. All is well that ends well.

  29. That was certainly an interesting game! Back 3 – had a great game and was thinking Graham deserved the MOTM for his big hits as well as his hattrick but there’s one issue that affects them all; their weaving runs frequently leave support trailing behind and we concede a number of turnover penalties when they get isolated. Good to watch the running but sometimes it leads to net loss in territory. Midfield a dilemma – Tuipulotu had a good game at 12 (though lifting the opponents leg in the yellow card was unnecessary and a bit daft), both running and passing. Still not convinced the best choice, would prefer Redpath or Hutchinson but maybe with more time there at club level, it could work. Our defence was at times wide open so is Harris the indispensable defensive marshal or could it have been even worse without him?
    Pack is much more of a concern. We desperately need to get the line out firing consistently at 90+% success and can’t rely on one aging giant to bale us out. Breakdown also an issue, too many turnovers conceded, got to get the basics right. I would like to see investment in coaching in these areas, definitely not within GT’s skill set. Also feel captaincy still an issue as while Ritchie seems the most likely candidate, is he a cert to start? Maybe 1 and 3 are nailed on within the pack but neither is captain material and really need captain there or at 9, possibly 10 but for differing reasons, please not Price or Russell. Second row suffered from absences but back row seems to underperform too often. Other teams often have one of them out wide on the wing successfully which we rarely achieve. If Ritchie now needs to be picked, I would give Ritchie/Crosbie/Fagerson a try with Dempsey or Bradbury on bench. GT needs to decide on 1st choice, so many like G Graham, Bayliss, Christie & others have been tried and then barely selected again. And yes, I’ve suggested yet another combo!!

  30. If news around Finn’s imminent signing for Bath are true then it would be great to see him and Redpath in a regular partnership in the Prem. Would probably do a lot to improve Redpath’s Scotland prospects, shame they won’t have time to gel at club level before RWC

    1. It would be good in some ways ..and in some ways not so much.

      Finn is at an age where, from a Scotland point of view, we need to wrap him in cotton wool so that we get the best out of him. like Ireland have done with Sexton.
      He won’t get that in England he’ll be played to the max and I’m not sure the english game is especially suited to his style of play.

      Its better than him heading off to Japan…where he’d probably never play for Scotland and we’d be forced to move on.

      Clubs here probably couldn’t compete for his salary requirements tho….so it just is what it is.

      Would be good for him to play with Redpath …good for both of them id imagine. Though again Id rather one of our clubs could get Redpath so he could be protected more.

      1. In terms of style of play, I think a lot of the English Premiership has been high scoring, leaky defences, daft comebacks and generally a world away from the old grind house forward orientated style, so Finn might enjoy it.

        Bath seem to be in a signing spree but they’ve still got a long road ahead to make themselves competitive. Local boy Orlando Bailey is also very highly rated and on England fringes, so doubt Russell will have the workload he does in France. Bath is also a proper rugby town. Not convinced it’s a great move for him but now he’s in mega bucks salary bracket there’s really few clubs outside of Japan that’ll be willing to recruit him despite his obvious quality.

      2. Bath are a sleeping giant if there is such a thing, with the owner to boot – he’d be the marquee signing to kick on the new era literally and figuratively and would only increase his, and Scottish rugby’s, standing being watched week in and out. It cooooould be a wonderful move… but still prefer him at La Rochelle or to stay at Racing given how he has developed in France.

  31. Back down the Matt Fagerson rabbit hole –
    Meters made for national team 2022 – 106 vs (Vunipola 68) (Conan 99) (Savea 243)
    Tackles made – 66 vs (Vunipola 27) (Conan 36) (Savea 76)
    Tackles missed – 1 vs (Vunipola 6) (Conan 6) (Savea 1)
    Defenders beaten – 5 vs (Vunipola 0) (Conan 1) (Savea 7)
    ok this doesn’t take into account game time, but still gives a sense of performance, also interesting that he and Savea both natural 7’s have similar strengths in terms of tackles and meters made.

  32. Pretty difficult to pin down where/how exactly Edinburgh failed to win this game.
    About 10 unforced errors, Pygros kicking everything away, not giving Savala enough ball, allowing Benneton to play their game.
    Very disappointing 😞

  33. Here’s a horrifying thought: 20 years from now, we’re looking forward to next season’s Seven Nations / World Cup contemplating the outstanding young French 10 about to line up against Scotland… Monsieur Charlie Russell.

  34. FF: You are slipping up or maybe still an ex-pat, but you can now, from the age of 16, self identify your gender in Scotland. Three months later Charlie is your uncle.

  35. Can someone explain to me the hype about Kinghorn. He ambles around, his passing is poor and he is rarely talking to the backline as Finn does. I personally would no select him

    1. Kinghorn is a very good player but not a 10, his poor kicking a real disadvantage, he retained the kicking duties even after VDW came on (far better kicker IMO) . Munster do what Ireland do to Scotland pressure on scrum/line-outs/10 – high box kicks bringing dangerous back 3 into traffic.
      No kicking for position, no 50-22 attempted, line out a disaster. Losing Graham and Dean a real body blow. The Crosbie break for 1st try lovely…….
      Chastening defeat

    2. Blair Kinghorn is brilliant when he breaks the line he is brilliant, when he takes the ball with him, he is even better, fly hacking the ball from deck into a savannah of space, So skillful, soon to be filled with red counter attackers and none of his own guys, his kick passing like Finn is impeccable , it is the slow of thinking on the end that cannot get down to it that is the problem, his long overhead passes , amazing, when no one is there to take them, not his problem, they cannot read the game, and his style , OMG , what style a master of sleight of hand not to mention cloth of ears, Kicking , gust of wind at the wrong time loses us points, nothing to do with his long accurate boot, the elements robbed us tonight.

      It is funny, you all moan just because we lose. Funny that, isnt it. Come on BLAIR. I am a fan , Toony is a fan, ignore them all.

      1. Bog off, good try but I do like your idea, it is everyone around him that is dross. The clue is in the name is it , The King horn . You must be Toony, pick a player for his hidden qualities, so well hidden only he can see them, and change everything round about him to compensate for the skills gap.

  36. Embarrassing from Edinburgh, a few injuries shook them. Forwards lost their nerve and the 10 could not change the style of attacking play when it became clear 50 minutes in that Munster had figure out how to defend ‘just throw it wide’.

    Going to be a long week away to Saracens next week if they play like that again.

    1. Just back from that.Edinburgh were awful.I like BK but sorry to say he really was very poor and his skills totally deserted him once Munster put on the pressure.Very chastening night.

  37. Just back from that.Edinburgh were awful.I like BK but sorry to say he really was very poor and his skills totally deserted him once Munster put on the pressure.Very chastening night.

    1. I feel the GT & M Blair experiment with Kinghorn will just not end well …with Kinghorn losing what confidence he had as a player. He’s a 15 , a back up winger and an emergency 10 at best. It just needs to stop imo. Too much time wasted on trying to build a skill set that are weak parts of his game….instead of focusing on what he is good at.

  38. always depresses me how Scottish teams tend to capitulate against Irish ones – just dont seem to be able to counter their game, which I always think is somewhat limited, albeit invariably too good for us

    1. Yep…just like their coach said to them at half time…they are a bunch of fairies ..just start doing the dirty stuff well ..run straight and hard …use the maul to bludgeon to their line….and hey ho ..job done.

      We’ll never beat Ireland until we start figuring out how to deal with their style at club rugby…I can’t tell the difference between Leinster and Munster …they both play much the same…and we never look like beating them.

      1. Exactly sir, it was like in the last RWC where it appeared that there was no thought or contingency given to the Ireland game. “The fastest game in the world” was deemed enough (ignominy was the result)
        Last night when we had the ball in space we looked good and could’ve been 20 points to the good but as RuggersB said we played precisely into their hands and were leathered. The line imploded, scrum struggled and Munster won as they pleased.
        50-22 is an excellent attacking thing but it’s starting to get my goat that we seem to ignore it.
        Kinghorn is a good player but not a 10.

      2. We didnt exactly help ourselves. The hookers darts were dreadful, Tom Cruise came on when the mission was impossible (Boom Boom)

      3. Yeah unfortunately Tom appeared at a time when there was a need for speed…unfortunately we had already lost that loving feeling…it had gone, gone, gone.

  39. Scrappy old game Rob, 2 Matthews tries sealed it at the end. Horne turning into a very capable kicker. Steyn and R.Gray did well.
    Zebre pretty poor

    1. The evolution of Horne in to apparently an international standard kicker is an interesting development although the national coaches dont seem to fancy him. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s off to France shortly as they seem to appreciate that kind of talent. That’s probably been hastened by the suggestion that John Cooney fancies his chances with Scotland.

      1. I don’t get this focus in the media and SRU on John Cooney We’ll play the same 4 matches and out ..in the RWC …with or without a reputable Irish SH.
        The lack of seriously competitive and tough forwards is our problem …not our attacking options, which are currently as good as any of the top nations. Our hookers can’t throw the ball…our second rows are total powderpuff…our back row looks unbalanced and doesn’t dominate.

      2. Our Forwards are not too bad, just against the best in the world (Ireland, SA and France) we come undone.

        I would like to see Hunter-Hill (Avg.Carry = 4.5 meter gain this season, starting in an unbeaten Saracens side) added to the squad. And Hopefully have Skinner and Bradbury fit. We need those type of guys to combat the most physical teams.

        A 6/2 split might not be the worst idea either considering the current way results in us constantly getting beating up front against those teams the past 5 years.

      3. I don’t get the Cooney thing either. At 32, he’s only ever going to be a stop gap measure which probably isn’t needed with the likes of Horne, White, Vellacott, Price, Dobie & Shiel around.
        And yes, we could do with a few brutish forwards to gain some more yards – would also like to see Hunter-Hill in the squad. – but also feel there’s a big coaching issue around the break down to be fixed. We need fast clean ball to create the broken field situation are backs can exploit but too often we look a bit isolated in contact or the support is hall a second too slow in arriving or protecting possession. We need that support player right on the carrier’s shoulder but sometimes I’m amazed we don’t lose more possession as the support looks too casual. Some more grunt would be good but with more structure and game plan, our current pack could probably achieve a lot more.

      4. WarksScot – totally agree. Ireland in particular are exceptional in contact and at breakdown. Think SA and France rely a bit more on sheer physical power, but we probably have raw ingredients more or less to compete but too often we are sloppy at breakdown.

        Cooney – yes he’d be a stopgap but at his best he was a game changer. I guess we’ll take 3 SHs, Price, White and one more. Horne hasn’t really kicked on from his early promise. Understand he is a fan favourite but he just isn’t that good on a consistent basis. The others are not yet test standard, some of them may never be, Dobie should be but it is a bit early IMO.

  40. Re the forwards we need to play guys who can compete with the physical and streetwise Irish and the Saffers, Hunter-Hill, Crosbie, Skinner, Haining all have the beef and that wee big of dog….but where do we fit them all in??????
    Peter O’Mahoney is a perfect example – on Friday their was an angle for one of the Munster tries where he has a hold of at least 2 Edinburgh players in the lead up/execution.

    1. I think we’ve been saying this for years about the Irish and O’Mahoney in particular for years! And we still aren’t any better at competing with them. How to fit in the guys you suggested? Ok how about a back five of Skinner, R Gray,Ritchie,Haining andCrosbie with CHH and Fagerson on the bench. Perfectly possible.

      1. Haining??? He’s had his moments but just isn’t that good. I’d much rather have Darge and build a Scotland backrow around him.

      2. The good old back row conundrum, further complicated by Ritchie being captain, presumably for 6N & RWC, when I wouldn’t say he’s a definite first pick. I’d quite like Darge, Crosbie, Fagerson with Dempsey or an in-form Bradbury on the bench but that leaves out the skipper. One of our problems is that we don’t have many nailed on starters, apart from perhaps the back 3, who are also captain material (and I would suggest that none of the back 3 are and not a good position from which to captain a side). Having a totemic captain along the lines of Martin Johnson or Paul O Connell could well galvanise the team but we just don’t seem to have one.

      3. Imo…Skinner.. if given a run would be a good captain and is arguably the best all round 2nd row we have.
        Ritchie at 7 against the top sides allows for a more powerful back row to be selected….I often think Ritchie performs better in that role….though Darge is arguably a technically better open side.

        Haining? no thanks….not test level fitness or ability…and spends more time injured than available.

  41. Gatland close to replacing Pivac apparently on a two year deal with a break clause after a year. So it seems that we’ll get at least one last shot at finally beating Wales with him in charge.

    1. Rumours that England have fired Jones and are recruiting Borthwick to replace him. Given they have to prise him from a long term contract at Leicester I can’t imagine this is for a contract less than to the 2027 World Cup.

      So…Wales and England locked in with new coaches, Schmidt huge favourite to succeed Foster if he goes, France coaching team locked into long term deals, Farrell secure in Ireland…the chances of Scotland securing Scott Robertson post-RWC have surely jumped from pipe dream to pretty good???

      1. Leinster seem to be doing well as always, i do wonder if Leo Cullen has international Aspirations.

        Another Wild-card, bring in Johnny Sexton post WC as a skills/kicking/mentality assistant coach.

      2. Yeah….I think the Scott Robertson rumors starting to look a legit opportunity. Whether he would be interested in the role …who knows. Difficult to think of a more respected coach that we could go in for.

      3. I think Australia are the only other tier 1 side very likely to be looking for a coach at the same time. Perhaps more likely we end up with Rennie.

        But yes, we should try to break the bank for the best we can get seeing as the competition might be much less fierce than expected. Wonder if Jamie Joseph will be staying out in Japan?

      4. Excuse me, This is a Scottish rugby blog , not tittle tattle and dreams and lets be clear , Gregor Townsend is out most successful coach ever, he stays, he is going nowhere, no one can afford him anyway, why would we change our coach? How do we expect to succeed in the 6 nations with these kind of comments. Come on get behind Scotland.

  42. Tam Tm, isn’t this Blog “exactly for” tittle tattle, dreams (and opinions, feelings)????
    For whatever rationale a good few of posters on here (including me) would have another head coach in place, isn’t this the very place to have a wee chat?

      1. I dream of Eddie Jones at EH12. I do have a few other dreams , however I assure you , you will not want to hear them, they are every bit as perverse.

    1. I am surprised that England have not made a move for Toony. Maybe the RFU are not keen on the way he has outsmarted them in recent years. Someone will make a move for him, he is too good to let go.

      1. Not quite far enough away. How about outer Mongolia (that always sounded remote and cut off to me)

        My work will soon be over . Only the likes of Tam are still calling for Toony , I think that says it all.

  43. Team for England 2023, Going with Experience and consistency mostly with an impact bench.

    Stuart Hogg – Darcy Graham – Chris Harris – Sione Tuipolotu – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Rory Darge – Jamie Ritchie (C) – Richie Gray – Grant Gilchrist – Zander Fagerson – Fraser Brown – Rory Sutherland

    Cameron Redpath – Blair Kinghorn – Ben White – Jack Dempsey – Sam Skinner – WP Nel – Pierre Schoeman – George Turner

    Imaginary Scotland A vs England A around the same week.

    Oli Smith – Kyle Rowe – Mark Bennett – Sam Johnson – Kyle Steyn – Adam Hastings – George Horne – Magnus Bradbury – Hamish Watson (C) – Luke Crosbie – Jonny Gray – Scott Cummings – Murphy Walker – Ewan Ashman – Jamie Bhatti

    Huw Jones – Jaco Van Der Valt – Ben Vellacott – Andy Christie – Callum Hunter Hill – Javan Sebastian – Oli Kebble – Stuart McInally

  44. Loose head is Schoeman. false loyalties to Rory Sutherland . You know that as well. I don’t get this loyalty.

    1. I think Schoemans a better player in terms of workrate and ball carrying, dominant tackles and driving Maul.

      Breakdown, Scrum and discipline is where Sutherland edges him for me. Schoeman can offer a lot more impact off the bench than ‘consistent’ Sutherland can, and we have a notoriously weak bench which keeps resulting in our downfall, its about balance throughout the 80 minutes.

      Lets not forget it was only a little over a year ago, Sutherland was tearing it up in the 2021 Six Nations and earned a B&I lions spot, including game-time in the test matches. He has had a few momentum stopping injuries since then but he just needs a run a games which he will get at Ulster.

      1. Neil: He isn’t tearing it up now, is he? What is more, he didnt tear it up in South Africa, did he! We have to face it, he may never be back at his best, so let’s stick with what we know , Schoeman. I am with Warmer. I might change mind , when I see it, but my guess is, we wont, he has had it tough, but , that is the way it is.

        PS: Where is McInally these day, has anyone seen him or did he just fly off into the Bermuda Triangle.

  45. Darcy Graham now out “till February” with the suggestion he will likely miss the first two 6N matches.Awful!
    Struggling to think of a suitable replacement.Rowe long term injury.Maclean-never regained the form pf over a year ago. Steyn-possibly? Hoyland-stop gap but step down tbh. Maitland-a bridge too far now?
    We really do rely on such a small player pool.Anyone else in mind?

    1. McLean or Ollie Smith will do. With Kinghorn at 10 the ball won’t get out there anyway. So Harris would do, free up room for all those midfield pairing s we DREAM about.

    1. Hmm,I had forgotten about him as an option.It might be helpful though if Edinburgh gave him a run out or two in that position over the next few weeks.Easily done with Savala or VDW as good alternatives.

    2. What : KINGHORN the standoff , fullback. He is bang average. I think you will by now have picked up my point. I just could not disagree more.There are numerous better options than kinghorn.

    1. My thoughts exactly, ok he’s getting on a bit now and is by no means the future but he was cast aside a bit harshly in my opinion, still playing well, solid under high ball and a good defender if now lacking a bit in pace.

  46. think Kinghorn might be best bet – shame as Darcy is a player who is up there amongst the best in world and is in form of his life (also a great watch)

    1. Massive blow to both Edinburgh and Scotland, he’s been on fire this season and probably Scotland’s best player across the whole autumn series. Given Scotland’s midfield instability and the lack of cutting edge in the forwards, the back 3 were our best chance of points. BK has played on the wing internationally before and could possibly be a good position for him, though always question marks over his defence. Steyn is back playing mainly 13 and probably vying for 2nd choice back up with Hoyland.
      Main concern is that Graham makes a full recovery and can regain this season’s form after a fairly long lay-off, rather not have him rushed back to playing when not fit

  47. With all these injuries to key players …the 6N is slipping away before it even starts. A re-energised England and Wales….an improving Italy….the excellent French..and Leinster/Munster United..whose second teams we struggle against at club level….

    1. > all these injuries to key players

      Only Graham and Watson are injured unless I’m missing anyone? Sutherland and Darge as well but both are likely bench at best.
      Would say only 14 is where we don’t have a similar standard replacement.

      > a re-energised England and Wales

      Each are in crisis mode and have fired their coach this week because of their terrible results. In England’s case without even having a replacement lined up. Nothing suggests they will be re-energised.

      > an improving Italy

      Yes, but they still lost to Georgia this year.

      I’m Scottish so trust me I’m aware how naturally the pessimism comes but come on.

      1. Cummings fully fit and firing would be in the reckoning to start, possibly with Skinner who is also out atm, Zander is also injured, no detail on extent of time out. TH is not an area of established depth. There will always be injuries but that is half our pack if we say the 7 is either Watson or Darge.

      2. Injured at this moment in time that would be considered a part of the 23 potentially for England:

        Sutherland, Fagerson, Skinner, Cummings, Darge, Watson, Dempsey, Bradbury, Hastings, Johnson, Rowe, Graham

        A team not injured right-now.

        Stuart Hogg – Kyle Steyn – Huw Jones – Sione Tuipolotu – Duhan Van Der Merwe – Finn Russell – Ali Price – Matt Fagerson – Jamie Ritchie – Andy Christie – Richie Gray – Grant Gilchrist – Murphy Walker – Fraser Brown – Pierre Schoeman

        Cameron Redpath – Blair Kinghorn – George Horne – Luke Crosbie – Jonny Gray – WP Nel – Jamie Bhatti – Stuart McInally

      3. Well…the injury list doesn’t just pertain to Graham and Watson.

        Darge (Is Darge bench at best? He was playing better rugby than Watson prior to injury.), Cummings, Z Fagerson, Skinner …they are all uncertain to be available for the 6N…and are all important to our chances.

        Our record v Gatland Wales is pathetic.
        Englands 1st 6N with a new manager against us at Twiks …absolute stick on they will be renergised..and probably better organized in defense…imo
        Italy are simply a much better side than they have been…inconsistant at times sure ..but far better than previous 6N Id say.
        Im being realist not a pessimist…If we don’t hit the ground running it’ll be a rough 6N imo…and key injuries are not a good start.

      4. I’d missed Zander’s injury – that’s big.

        Point I was taking issue with was ‘key players’. Taking that to mean first choice, I don’t think missing 4 starters is enough to write off the entire 6 nations before it’s even started.

        The uninjured team that Neil’s picked shows that our depth, while not amazing, is better than it has been in the past. Some of the players listed should be back before the 6 nations as well.

        Our record versus Gatland is terrible for sure but his own record recently has been poor too. Wales are very much in transition atm as all of the stalwarts of the Warrenball era are now aging and a lot of the new players have come through in a disjointed and often losing team. They will be a different proposition with Gatland but I think at home we have all the tools to beat them.

        Again, we don’t even know who England’s coach will be yet so don’t see how you can assume they’ll be any better.

        The injuries aren’t ideal but hardly cause for giving up already.

      1. Hmm we haven’t come last since 2015 under Cotter and have only come 5th once since then, in 2019 when we ended up with a draw and a win.

        Since 2016 our ‘usual’ finishing position is 4th really. That’s about average over that period.

  48. dont think we have actually seriously challenged for the title since it became 6 nations – just seem to fight for the scraps of 3rd place downwards. In fact we term 3rd place a good year

    1. You’d think an in form Jones would be our 1st choice 13….but nope not in GTs world.

      not Bennet…not Hutchinson….not Tui as more likely 12

      Harris it’ll be….we have an array of international test class attacking 13s and GT will ignore them all.

      1. I’d love to see a more attacking minded 13 than Harris but Jones was injured in the summer and that was his first game back. Before then he’d been playing 15 for Glasgow then Harlequins until he got an injury break and moved back to his preferred position for the second half of last season. I’m not really sure when Toonie was supposed to be picking him as he was either out of form or injured. He needs to play more and play well.

        Bennet has been underwhelming for Scotland IMO but he is getting chances. If he was nailing them he’d have the shirt but he has been ok, sometimes quite good, but that’s about it.

        I’d like to see Redpath and Tuipolotu at 13 line up outside Russell. I agree Hutchison should get more of a chance but it probably doesn’t help playing for the premiership’s leakiest defence. I also think Deans deserves an audition.

        I think we have a lot of choices at centre but no one yet making themselves undroppable- Harris has a bit of credit in the bank but was fairly poor in the autumn.

  49. Deans? I immediately thought of Colin but of course you mean Chris Dean.
    Anyway (and apologies for being pedantic) your post was the second time this weekend-similar thoughts after yesterday’s Glasgow match. I thought what a pity we no longer have the post New Year international trial (if you’re under about 45 ask your Dad what those were!). Imagine Harris and Johnson directly opposite Redpath and Bennett (or Tuipolotu and Jones…or Deans and Hiutchison..!)
    At least then perhaps we wouldn’t gripe so much if Townsend didn’t pick our perceived “favourite” rather than his own.

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