Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Six Nations 2023: England v Scotland Discussion Post

England vs Scotland
pic © Scottish Rugby Blog

Give us your thoughts on the game while we beaver away at the post match report.

Please put your post-game discussion points on this post – bearing in mind our Comment Policy.

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

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.

122 Responses

  1. Annoying to go in behind. Seem to have let them back in when the pressure shpuld have been ramped up. Some magic, but some poor decisions/execution.

  2. Clear that Jones is rhe correct 13. Vdm…class. we need to hold the lead by keeping possession and wear them down, not play as though we’re behind when we get ahead. Feel that Russell needs to settle.

  3. Time for this Scotland side to show who they are. Shrug off the end of the first half, settle down and take this by the scruff. England are there for the taking, can they do it.

  4. Composed, just getting caught out wide a few times.

    Would like to see us be more aggressive around the breakdown.

    Class try for Duhan

  5. Not much in it …as scoreline suggests. Russell…didnt have a good 1st half..was taking too long to dispatch kicks and getting caught ..a clear tactic from England.

    Some sloppy execution at important moments let England back in.

    One of the best individual tries I’ve watched in Rugby from Duhan.

  6. We’ve had no territory and little possession yet should he ahead. Didn’t play championships well at all.

    Got 5 mins after half-time to do better. I think Scotland need to score next…we don’t seem like a team who’ll take the 3 when behind and we should do at times.

  7. YESSS get in, huge congratulations. Wonderful. Wonderful enough. A backline that can cut apart at will, forwards that more than competed for long enough, players that came on and made a difference. Take a bow Duhan. Heads down and on to… Gatland

    1. And the way Russell steadied himself and proved the difference. Class.
      P.s. Ritchie Gray

  8. Good attitude from the team, although sloppy at times. With this backline and a bit more speed and aggression from the forwards Scotland should do very well in this tournament.

  9. Think any other Scottish team would have lost that today….we’ve gone up that wee notch which was the difference.

    This is just the start…the next notch is put away a Welsh side and get two from two first time in 23 years….hugely important….

    Delighted in the fight and enough good decisions under pressure. Russell won it yet didn’t play that well.

    We have arrived as contenders which is the next step we crave…

    1. Oh I think they all did well. One thing I did notice about Russell is the amount of tackles he puts in . Not wee high kid on tackles, the real thing round the waist and legs. He gets no credit for it, well I am giving it now, great in defense, no fear.

      Ludlum put in a really late hit on Russell in the first half, clattered him after he kicked, they scored later in the play. I thought he would be off after that, but he is a resilient guy as well. I was disappointed the officials did not pick up on that.

      1. Spot on – Finn really does tackle. Poor by his high standards first half but he did take a couple of massive – illegal? – hits.
        Good to se a couple of nice late touches from Kinghorn – they all contributed.

      2. Couldn’t agree more on Russell. He had a very tough day today and you can bet that any opposition will have spent a lot of time discussing how to achieve that. It’s his ability to handle that these days which set him apart in my view – I hate using the word mature but his composure these days is ver very good.

    2. Really great day for Scottish Rugby. I think the other thing is , that it feels like we can do it again.

    3. Ref: ‘Up that we notch’ , I cannot work out what that means in real money. Unlike you, I dont mind ‘lazy language’ if I can get the sense of it. I suspect you mean our physicality, maturity, mental strength, resilience, finishing, closing out tactics, performances in the red zone, management of the referee are all so much better than shown in recent years. If you do, then I would have to agree with you. If you dont , give us a clue.

      1. Yeah think that somes it up…we have not allowed our errors to cost us the match and have used the opponents errors to our advantage…

        …I have referenced in 2019 the last 5 mins we made 5 errors to draw the match…I think we made one today…gave away a penalty but the pushing back of England’s maul and calm and wait for the isolation was very different for us.

        I think past Scotland teams would have lost it so we have improved in the finer points.

        We still made mistakes but we showed how to win and along with some brilliance.

  10. My ❤️ was going like a rabbits nose.

    Magnificent test match with Finn Russell at its centre………..

    VDMs 2 tries quite wonderful, kept the English guessing and see what happens when play centres who can play.

    I’m as happy as a rat with a gold tooth

      1. A bit harsh/strange to highlight one player …..INCORRECTLY ….after such a magnificent positive experience

      2. Didn’t say he was bad. Just that he was quieter compared to his games at Edinburgh. Give him game time to come upto International speed

      3. Why didn’t the last 4 words of your post say something positive like” VDM had sensational game”? As a exiled scot (frequent visitor back) and a Mental Wellbeing professional absolutely fascinated by national variances

      4. Luke Crosbie made 20 tackles.

        He may not have stood out but he certainly proved he is international quality agains top opposition.

        Matt Fagerson was excellent with 27 tackles

  11. 1st off …what a great game of rugby.

    Thought Scotland would lose that one…. and I think previous sides would have…but that was a magnificent overall team performance against top opposition that I thought played really well also. All 23 played with the right desire…even though some didn’t play their best rugby. DVDM world class. IMO…we can play a bit better still…..hopefully we back up it up…we need to make that step.

  12. Going into the last 20 I was still thinking we will win this, such a change to all the years of having the life squeezed out of us. And 3 of the tries were well worked due to an exciting attacking structure and execution of skills under pressure. Not maverick skills plucking a try out of nothing. And VDMs was a thing of beauty

    1. That BP might prove to be crucial.. IF we get ourselves into a position to challenge for the 6N.

      1. If we just beat Gatland, I’ll be happy. He’s someone have very little love for – done more than anyone to trash Scottish rugby, without any class, over the years, hinder its development and wreck the Lions concept. Yet look at Wales now, have to take the opportunity to stomp them ruthlessly hard while down. The Welsh were always terrible winners under Gatland.

    2. It is, and the most points we have scored against England since 1986 (apart from the 38-38 game of course).

      1. We had a run of 4 wins over England in 1970, 2 in 1971 and 1972. This side have won three in three years now.

    3. You only have 2 wins to choose from Not Science but yes a big moment… without getting too far ahead (and if players think it’s guaranteed they’ll get their pants pulled) could we get a bonus point win on Sat we stand on 10 points… thats a huge haul from 2 tough matches and puts you in contention until the 4th round atleast…should teams beat each other (its likely in this edition of the tournament) we could very well be in it going into last round.

      That has to be the next step.

      2018 Calcutta win brought the belief for 2019… the last few years experience brought that home today…

      Today and backing up next week brings the belief we are contenders even if we don’t do it we believe we can rightly.

      We are making the right steps and the belief has come. Their wasn’t a huge celebration from the team today cos they know their is more to deliver…

  13. Points for me. Maturity. Players , and indeed , or especially toonie deserve huge credit. This team is showing it can go behind at a tough tough venue hold steady and win. In years gone by ? Also I firmly believe this group have learned and I think we will be up for wales. In this thing now !!!

    This tournament is open now. For me that England team will beat one of Ireland , or France. Can we dream?? Too right. Yesssssss

    1. I agree, England were a good side we were just better and they could do us a favour later in the tournament. They have had their bad game and it want that bad. They just met an amazing team today.

    2. I thought for a 1st game in charge Englands coaching team have got them playing much better rugby and as a unit. They will improve. Ireland and/or France will find that out with a defeat..I reckon.

  14. I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting that! In the first half it felt like we were going to be battered into submission by the white wave. And when we went behind at half time I thought it was all over. But what a display in the second half. Fantastic result.

  15. Our handling in the final quarter of the game, under pressure, tired bodies, at high speed, away from home was the best I can ever remember. Just hoping now that it stays dry for our remaining games.

    I remember 20 years ago when our backs couldn’t reliably pass the ball 5m and we were hoping it would rain against the English to keep the score down. Oh how things have changed.

  16. Blair Kinghorn has had a hard time in these pages of late. He showed a lot of flair and guts in his short time on the pitch. We must give credit where due, well done, he just stepped up and played for the jersey. Well played sir!

    1. Indeed, as I said in my own comment I never liked the 10 experiment but I think he is a better player from it. He was playing with a lot of confidence and his passing is streaks better than it was.

  17. What a great game that was. I thought England actually played reasonably well, few things they will be annoyed about but on the whole they weren’t bad. I thought there were a few key things for us.

    Ben White and George Horne were awesome. That’s exactly the scrum half performance we have been clamouring for for years, sharp, snappy and accurate passing from the base. Finn Russell had a pretty meh first half but pulled himself out of the funk and didn’t loose control. It was a classic latter era Finn Russell game, his mad things didn’t quite come off and you would almost say he had a poor game but if you look at what he actually does, he had a hand in nearly every try and his flat passing and the timing of his passes made the tries. I think England were targeting him but the time he was taking on some of his kicks was giving me serious anxiety. Huipolotu was a resounding success. Kinghorn was brilliant when he came on too, I never liked him as a 10 and it was great to see him playing in his proper position again, I will say although I didn’t like the 10 experiment, I think it has improved him as a player. Richie Gray had a great game too, some lovely hands for Duhans second try. Duhan. Duhan again.

    Need to back it up though, we’ve been here before way to many times now.

  18. Firstly, that was a hugely entertaining game of rugby and hats of to both teams for throwing everything into the match. Obviously the best bit was we won which feels so much better than the “could have, should have, would have” moments we have experienced so often in the recent past.
    VDM quite rightly player of the match but how good was it to see Huw Jones back demonstrating that class is permanent. Hard to pick out a forward when they worked really well as a unit but mention in dispatches for Richie Gray who is surely in the form of his life and his lovely take and give for the winning score was a joy.
    Like a few others I didn’t think Finn had a great first half but was clearly targeted and was flattened late more than once and at one point I thought he was going to go off but he just smiles, dusts himself off and gets on with it. Despite a few things not coming off for him his performance in the second half was the key to victory.
    We absolutely have to back it up next week against Wales – there can be no repeat of last year’s demoralising performance where we forgot to turn up for the second half.

  19. White was brilliant today added that extra pace and sharpness we’ve been lacking in that position

    1. Is that the White who captained England U20s? At some stage the game will only allow foreign born players who qualify by residency and stop those whose granny was English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh etc. And yes it also applies to England.

      1. That isn’t on any agenda – recent changes to eligibility criteria have made it easier to qualify if you have a meaningful link via heritage by introducing the three year stand down rule. So you are talking gubbins.

  20. Thrilled by the win – 4 great tries which used to be a season’s worth! And dont think russell or hogg were at their best, which bodes well.

    1. Oh dear we are back to a team of 1 queen bee and 14 feeders again. 23 men won todays performance, each on worth the same as the next. That is how to win the game AS ONE .

  21. Simply have to back this up with a win next week. Wales will be nowhere near as vulnerable as they looked today so we will have to be sharp and precise.

    Lots of great performances but I was especially impressed with Steyn, who I did not think was quite up to test standard and would be a weak link. He was awesome in the air and dangerous counter-attacking. He’ll never be a Darcy but was more than capable of handling the pressure.

    1. Glad to see someone mention Steyn….who I thought looked every inch test level quality today. I thought he added physical balance to the side which sometimes is exposed when Darcy plays.
      Kinghorn looked good when he came on …he is a proper 15…who like others have said…the 10 experiment has maybe brought his FB game to a level it wouldn’t reach otherwise.

      Will be interesting what the next squad selection is…other than Zander returning nobody should be dropped from that side…imo

      Hats off to GT…he has had many head scratching moments as HC…but crikey he got this one spot on.

  22. Thought England game plan came with everything you need to beat Scotland at home – kick deep to pin them in, give Russel zero time or space, and then batter them senseless up front. Toony gets massive credit from me for overcoming all that with – picking players on form, right subs at the right time, staying in the fight with discipline before moving more towards a running game at just the right time. Very good work all round – really feels like we have ironed out weaknesses and very much play to our strengths.Those days of dreading a line out or receiving a restart after points are rapidly disappearing into rear view mirror. Pumped for Wales match.

  23. Still trying to work out how we won bud great to see a game where we took our chances; no white line fever with the pack going nowhere. As one pundit said, take away the tries from the highlights and you would guess England won. Really thought we had butchered the last try, Fagerson passed very early to VdM giving him a lot to do but what a finish from the monstrous winger! Thought Steyn had a great game too, thoroughly vindicated his selection with some great breaks that threw England into disarray. Turner did well in the pack and so did Dempsey when he came on. Good to see the set piece functioning well. Perhaps the new coaches had a big part to play in what looked like some new and thoughtful tactics. Just have to back it up the rest of the tournament. Wales and Italy have to be wins and fancy taking on Ireland at Murrayfield

    1. Yeah agree. To be fair VDM last try looked a clear forward pass. Very lucky it wasn’t looked at. Think England were the better team but a magical try by VDM made the difference.

      1. I would imagine it was looked at but it is clearly NOT a forward pass when you see the angle from outside Fagerson.

        The ball does go forward due to relative velocity of course but Fagerson’s pass technique is absolutely spot on; hands very obviously moving backwards when he releases the ball. Credit to Duhan there too for not over-running his man and leaving plenty of room for the ball to be put in front of him.

  24. Had a look at other comments and agree that while his kicking from hand wasn’t his best, Russell still orchestrated the back line brilliantly, some of his passing out wide to use our wingers was fantastic and they took full advantage. Think the tackle count was around 215, unbelievable. Huw Jones put to bed the notion that he can’t defend and the unsung grind got through by the forwards was impressive. Not sure how good England actually are at the moment and probably played below par today but still we didn’t buckle when the their big ball carriers charged at us, hopefully we keep that bit of dog and determination going forward. What are the chances Toonie’s still in charge for next 6N?

  25. Just back home and about to rewatch the match. A few things struck me watching it live in the stadium.
    By no means flawless, but a ferocious defensive performance by everyone, everywhere. Absolutely outstanding.
    Enterprise and determination in all phases, and self-belief even when eight points down that the team could still win it.
    England’s recycling of the ball in the second half was impressive, so much so that I thought we were going down. Defending against that was fantastic.
    Long throw-ins worked well and often took England by surprise.
    England are a better side under Borthwick than under Jones – yet we still beat them on their own patch. Brilliant.
    When the lads won that penalty at 79:30 or so, all of us there went mental, absolutely mental, knowing the Test was won.
    What a day to be there to watch it live!

  26. I had a hunch that England would snatch a converted try at the death to win by one point. The Ritchie turnover penalty at the end was colossal. Probably as valuable as one of Duhan’s tries.
    We now have to send Gatland back to Cardiff with his tail between his legs. If we can do that then this may not be yet another false dawn.

    1. Well said, traditionally we would have had a panic and given the try away.

      I see the papers full of comments about a forward pass for our last try. I am disappointed to read this. It is unlike England in recent years. They have just taken their 2nd place in silence and humility.

      I thought they played well , not well enough , but their front 5 were solid , couple of changes in the back row and they will do some damage.

  27. I never want to see Chris Harris on a Scotland team sheet again.
    Bennett would be a threat starting or coming off the bench.
    I hope Townsend has learned his lesson in that you don’t win rugby matches with defenders.

    1. I’ve got a great idea , why don’t we start with Chris Harris defending against Wales . That way we will keep at least one win against England.

    2. What an idiotic comment. Harris is a class centre that helps create a great defensive back line. Plus he can hit the gain line and find space. He doesn’t have the same running ability as Jones but an incredible talent in his own right. I assume you were pished when you wrote this and you can undo your wrong.

    3. Horses for courses. Chris Harris very much has his place in turgid attritional games as his defensive and understanding of defensive organisation is outstanding. Huw Jones however adds threat and balance to the entire back line and his distribution with the ball and his understanding with Tuipulotu is on another level. Don’t however dis Chris Harris, I for one was glad to see him on the park when we were under siege in the last 5 minutes.

      1. I wonder if Toony ,may decide he wants to defend against Wales. Find a place for Harris and who knows Kinghorn. England are an attacking side and they give us what we want, broken play, but wales are a niggly side, always looking for the penalty.

        Next week will be a horrible game and not at all about a free flowing spectacle. Wales just want and need to win. I am not sure I would object if Toony went out to hold them out and just pick off points when offered. All these sides need different talents , Wales with Gatland, cunning , tactical, just strangle our attack at all costs.

        All eyes on Italy today, they will feel they can get a win this 6N and Scotland,Wales and England will be their targets. They are a much improved side.

      2. Absolutely, I had the same thought. When we were defending from 10m in the last few mins I saw Harris was in the line and was very glad for it, I hadn’t actually noticed he had been subbed on until then.

      3. Yesh wouldn’t have an issue with Harris back in for Wales…although we still defended well with Jones in…

        Currently 51st min and Italy a point behind…and down to 14. Interesting

      4. How man times has a townsend sidebeaten Wales ? Once as I recall. No need for the attitude.

      5. Absolutely not, pls.

        This tournament is about momentum. Stick with the same fully firing, balanced, fluent backline and blow them off the park.

        How could we possibly have such a clear exhibition of the benefit of giving Finn options: Tui, Jones, himself, Duhan, Hogg and then want to change that, at home!

        Stick with the exact same team, fitness permitting. Despite the immense contributions from Dempsey, Horne and Kinghorn. All of whom have a shout to start.

        Don’t see any reason to rush Fagerson back into the starting line up either. Unless Nel wants the rest.

      6. Everyone is making sense , but bear in mind you do not pick the side , that is down to Gregor Toonie and as we know , he is always unpredictable. You do not usually break up a winning combination , however this weeks game is very different to next weeks. I think the commenters are just stating that we should take nothing for granted. It is Gregor Toony for goodness sake. Actually you are all wanting Harris out, I understand the reasons , but on the face of it, he is a lion with Three test caps , which is more that some !!!!

    1. Horace, how many times has Townsend started against Wales with Harris ? While Steve Tandy is laughing with his colleagues back in Wales. You must be a Welsh supporter yourself Horrace , with your attitude Scotland will never keep the attacking consistency that they played with against England.

    2. SAS: Coming across a bit impatient and angry , no need. They are there because they have a role to play and are part of this combination. It takes a whole squad to make this work in my opinion.

      Why the rush ! Just like the match , you play the tournament minute by minute, one game at a time. Relax , enjoy the game , this is looking like a great season , if, if and I mean, if we get Wales out the way and they are going to be hard work for four reasons:

      1)They need a win
      2)They will adjust for this game , a different game to Ireland
      3)They Always cause us problems
      4)We know they do and they will be winding the likes of Hoggy up all week.

      Our track record against Wales , is nowhere near our success against England.

      I love to watch Wales getting crushed, I would like to make a a*s* of them with the showboat tries we got on Saturday. But I suspect it will be a whole different game.

  28. nuts and bolts of our game were great. Scrum, lineout, maul, re-starts all solid. physical defense, clinical attack, good discipline. I can’t remember a better Scotland performance. Particularly as this was England’s best 80 minute performance in a long time and with home advantage. We probably lost the kicking game but those nuts and bolts allowed our X-factor players to make the difference.
    Bring in Zander if fit otherwise same again.

  29. What a performance. It always amazes me how we can score incredible tries and hopefully we can find ways to banish our white line fever when 5m out. We’ll need to vs the likes of Ireland who will be a much more organised outfit.

    For just now just on cloud9 after yesterday. Well done to each player as they all performed and achieved a very good team performance will some individual brilliance added to the mix. Townsend and all involved hats off to you this morning and Duhan your tries were spectacular.

    Tomorrow we can all calm down and compose ourselves for a very important match vs Wales. We so need to back up on this!

  30. Richie Gray take a bow for the lovely soft hands in the lead up to the winning try.
    Watched it again this morning and superb entertainment, the forwards did a lot of work to stop the English from gaining a real physical advantage.
    All the backs being comfortable on the ball was a real highlight for me, the lead up and the winning try was almost ‘the pass’ re-visited.
    Hogg will be better next week, did fine but wee bit rust evident.
    Kinghorn looked refreshed (perhaps unburdened by playing in his proper position)
    Z.Fagerson C.Redpath H.Watson may come into the thinking for next Saturday

    1. Was Hogg hooked or did he have an injury? He was strapping up after he went off , however that may just be routine after an injury. His timing was a bit out of sync, which was just lack of game time. If he doesnt make it next week , we wont be stuck.

      1. Funny when everyone thought that any of Ollie Smith,Maitland or even Huw Jones would be next in line at FB yet BK even in 14 minutes made a huge contribution in a variety of ways so clearly he’d start if Hogg can’t make it on Saturday. Nice to see Blair finally get some praise on a variety of forums and newspapers after all the brickbats he’s had this season.

    2. Would be very surprised if Redpath comes in next week. Difficult to see Tuipuluto getting dropped any time soon without an injury. I like both Redpath and Johnson but we have some serious depth in the centres now.

      1. Only possible change for next week will surely be whether Z.Fagerson comes in (possibly bench rather than starting).No need for anything else barring injury surely.

      2. We only had 30% possession, so i’d look at increasing the aggressiveness of our forwards.

        Would not change much but would go 6-2 Split, tell our forwards to give everything first 40/50 minutes.

        Hogg – Steyn – Jones – Tuipolotu – VDM – Russell – White – Fagerson – Crosbie – Ritchie – R Gray – Gilchrist – Nel – Turner – Schoeman

        Kinghorn – Horne – Dempsey – Watson – Skinner – Fagerson – Brown – Bhatti

        Worst case scenario as i see it is an injury at 12, although Tuipolotu is pretty resilient, today showed that we don’t need Harris (despite him being a good player). We will need more physicality against Ireland and France.

      3. I think Nell emptied the tank and therefore Fagerson is likely to start the next one with fresher legs.

    1. Agreed – the coaches deserve lots of credit for our tactics and game plan yesterday. Under lots of pressure for a lot of the game but we made the most of the good ball we had – excepting one or two handling errors. Kicked when we needed to, played when it was on. All this talk of moving on from Townsend is nonsense in my view. He’s one of the best coaches around – and he’s Scottish!!

  31. A big shout out to Blair Kinghorn, he produced two utterly superb pieces of defence when a try looked on. Pleased for him because the 10 experiment has left him open to criticism (myself included) but in those two moment was worth his weight in gold. well done Sir.

  32. I think the minister will understand their absence at kirk this morning.Putting the kettle on must hurt.

  33. Loved the end with Richie jackling and Horne screeming at the referee to give the penalty. That last couple of minutes of defending was pretty special, not to forget the sacking of the English maul, when on another day they would have just rumbled over and taken the win.

    We worked well with the referee and our penalty count was much better than of late so that was very pleasing to see.

  34. Great game, great performance by Scotland.

    All concerned – players and coaches – richly deserve the tsunami of praise that’s come their way.

  35. For the first time in an age, I thought Scotland got the better of the restarts. It is such an overlooked part of the game but each can make 50yds difference in territory in the blink of an eye. Ultimately, our ability to exit from England’s restarts and our contesting of our own arguably gave us a net +200 yards of territory across the game.

    No failures in that team. Russell took a wee while to adapt to the pressure he was under but was masterful with the ball in hand thereafter. Hogg was a little sub-par for me but Kinghorn looked the part when he came on – which says a lot for his mental resilience as I feel he has been mucked out about shamelessly by his coaches for nearly two season now. Blair, you are a 15 and a bloody good one at times. Focus on that and be the player you can be.

    And, for me, all this talk of a wounded Wales looking for redemption misses the point. Under Gatland, Wales rely on the momentum and belief of winning more than anything. We just have to ensure we don’t give Wales any cause for believing they can win once the game gets underway.

    Be ruthless, be disciplined and the reward of victory will surely come and set us up for the France and Ireland matches which, regardless of what happens between now and then, we will enter as underdogs.

    1. I think that’s one area where Stijn adds a lot to Scotland. He was usually there or thereabouts at the restarts and if he doesn’t get the ball he’s going to hit the catcher pretty hard and give us a chance of a turnover. I thought he had a good game and on another day could have had a try or two.

    2. I think England had identified Russell as one of our main threats as it seemed to be like they were targeting him by closing him down quickly and putting in hits as he kicked. He did seem shaky in the first half but recovered well in the second. What a potent backline we have. Ben White has the opportunity to nail down the 9 shirt if he carries on like that. Hornito also did well off the bench. Kinghorn was superb when he came on and I wouldn’t be too nervous if he started against Wales if Hogg doesn’t make it (I noticed he had an ice pack on his knee after he went off).

  36. Pretty interesting watching Italy v France…..Italy look abysmal…France slightly better….both a huge quality drop from the matches yesterday.

    1. Italy not looking too bad in the second half, not sure we can afford to take anything for granted in that game. And France are always a bit ropey in the first game.

      1. Italy are decent – today let down by their rubbish half backs. Garbisi will be back by the time we may them – not sure if they have anyone coming through to replace the hapless Varney.

        Give it a few years and they could be really quality. It has to be said though, France looked very lethargic.

        Wales in Italy will be very interesting

  37. Just watched the game again. Russell had a better game than I initially thought. England were targeting him massively and gave him minimal time on the ball and not always legally. Ultimately it was to their own detriment a lot of the time. For the first try it was Farrell flying up at Russell for his trademark cheap shot push that gave Tui the time and space for Hui’s break that ultimately led to his try a couple of phases.

    1. Well I think Russell and GT can expect Finn targeting the whole 6N and World Cup. Taking time away from the most talented link player is an obvious ploy by any coach.
      Russell took an eternity to get some of his kicks away…but I also wonder if that is a tactic to get the opposition to rush up?

      1. I suspect that the delayed kicks were part of a rope-a-dope. If so, it worked – Smith and Farrell were so intent on targeting Finn that they left the door open for our other backs, none of whom needed a second invitation.

  38. Is anyone else concerned with ‘football like’ play acting creaping into rugby? Please WRO start removing that asap!

  39. Having just watched the second half, I need to offer my apologies to the subs. Before the match I felt they’d be a massive drop-off from the starters and England’s better bench would carry them to the win.

    Absolutely none of that. The subs came on and lifted the team with an increase to the already fast tempo. Absolutely fantastic performance from the bench.

  40. Scotland rapier got the better of the English bludgeon. The backs were excellent and will make the other teams rethink their defensive assumptions. The forwards contained but did not dominate the English pack, and there will be no easy rides from the other opposition packs. Against both Wales and Ireland, Scotland should aim to exhaust them by playing a really fast high intensity match.

    1. My worry is Gatland will play a rush defence out wide cutting off Finn’s wide passes and we struggle to make breaks as a result (or worse give interceptions like Cardiff a few years back). Hopefully there’s more to come from the coaches (and Finn’s) box of tricks!

      1. The difference to that this time around is the centers we have and the form they are in combined with Hogg are all well capable of finding ways through the middle if Wales leave any gaps there. Scotlands entire back line proved a real problem for England …because we weren’t as dependent on Russell as they bargained for.

      2. It is a worry but White and Sione seem to have much calmer styles….I think Sione seems to make runs that when ball is given is safe and gives himself time those aspects help us alot…

      3. VDM through the middle is not a bad option.

        Or Finn specialty dink over to Tui / Jones.

      4. Less of an issue for me as said below. Before teams could rush Finn and we suffered, now it can be White sniping, Sione popping a grubber behind the rush defence and vdM coming in from his wing or Jones coming through. The only real concern is whether Finn gets concussed with the treatment he’s getting. Too many late tackles on him that went unpunished.

  41. I re-watched the game and was struck by what a good overall game this was. Almost no unforced handling errors on either side, when mistakes were made it was generally the result of direct pressure from opposition. No high shots in the game, very good tackle technique on both sides. reasonably low penalty count from both sides. No cards. High ruck speeds from both sides, ball in play time seemed high. Scrums weren’t too bad. Just an all round high quality game from both teams. i’ll be very interested to see what Kevin Millar made of it.

  42. Good summing up Sam. Few random thoughts from me ..

    1 . That Line-out for Jones try…Ritchie came from middle of Line-out and caught the ball over his shoulder…that is precision timing, and throwing which I think was lost on most. Incredibly hard to do and executed brilliantly…another great routine for the archives from Townsend.

    2. Off the 9 pens how many were offside? I think there may have been one during kicking exchange but after ruck, in the line were we ever pinged in the 80 mins? That is incredible discipline and knowledge of how much to test the refs.

    3. Some very knowledgeable people saying how well Russell played and looking back they were correct. Some obvious errors but the nuts and bolts from him really kept the machine going…the less flash stuff superb.

    4. I’m getting a little less confident for the Wales match and a bit more for French match. Italy had France….Allan missed a pen by a whisker to make it a penalty game and Italy surely would have nailed one of those pens in the last few mins. Italy made some errors but stayed in the game…France looked less solid and brilliant….someone will beat them I reckon. As for Wales they didn’t stay in game nor take their chances…I fear Garland may have a few things changed and up their game …it’s going to be very tough next week.

    5. RICHIE GRAY’S VELVET HANDS…that is all.

  43. In the past we’d have to rely on a wee bit of luck or bad play by our opposition not on Saturday.
    Hogg will be better v Wales, both centres are comfortable in attack and defence, Finn is entering his golden period where his immaturity is mostly behind him and the understanding of the game is excellent.
    Wales will be hurting, no talisman AWJ, Biggar looks slow, few very callow young fellows will be playing…………………..absolutely fascinating

  44. Referendum : What on earth does this mean. I can not understand a word. If you are sating he is spacially aware and thinks about how he can give himself a bit of extra microseconds over the average, I understand that. You may be right. Basically I think defenders understand he will run through them and hold back .

  45. First off, that was a game we would’ve lost in the past. That we didn’t showed that we are arriving at the right team selection. Finn was targeted mercilessly and it didn’t work, Farrell spent too much time trying to get Finn and it contributed two at least two of our scores.

    There are some question marks on our defence but the squad balance is right for me. Redpath on the bench rather than Harris for Wales, France and Italy with Harris coming in for Ireland. Question is what do we do with Watson now, Crosbie is a very good option to cover the back row.

    White now has the 9 shirt for me, with maybe Price coming back on the bench, all depends if we wish to maintain the tempo (then Horne) or see the game out (Price).

    Also hats off to the bench in total, Kinghorn deserves a special mention as he could easily have let his head drop after the BlairSwitch project but he’s better than ever.

    Either way, see the next game out and we have the chance for momentum going into the French match. But, will Gatland stick with the rear guard or go for youth – interesting to hear Warburton talk about that as he thinks we’re going to win.

    Argh, we’re Scottish we’re supposed to be dour but there’s positives with Graham, Darge and others coming back later on in the championship – #ItsTheHopeThatKillsYou

  46. My main concern is past history repeating itself …. Scotland play brilliantly then next game is dire. Seen this a few times, including last 6N. How do we get over this issue and have the players mentally tuned/focused so not to let it happen yet again!

    1. Rob it is clearly a concern…Garland has the mind game over us at present…winning Saturday is another huge blow to another block in our six nations history.

      However look back last year…we didn’t play well in first match….we played the last 15 England dominated the rest…

      …and many forget how well we started against Wales last year…look back at the first 25 mins…I remember thinking we score again we’ll take them to the cleaners….never felt like that before….we didn’t score the tide turned and the rest of the match was very poor.

      Perception and reality is decided on result often not what is seen.

      England played and dominated territory and possession yesterday but we were solid and mostly comfortable and took our chances….very different from the smash and grab of last year…prob similar to the control of 2021.

      I think we’re moving towards belief because we have done the thing before. Beating Wales is the next one to do and we can because we’ve done others before.

      Can we score a try when we’re hammering at the line like Ireland did 3 times yesterday?

      If we finish one of them off on Sat we win the game.

  47. Watched it again! Other thoughts, Kyle Steyn was really good, bit of an unsung hero. He doesn’t do mad Darcy things but was very solid and assured and as much as we all know Darcy loves a ruck and a jackle, Steyn is a different prospect physically for the opposition. He was unlucky not to be on the score sheet himself, if that kick from Russell or pass from Hogg had been slightly more accurate he would have been in. Being Glasgow captain now he probably brings a bit of much needed leadership to the team too.

    Other than Zander coming back in if he’s fit I wouldn’t make any unenforced changes to the side. WP Nel held on quite well I thought although, and I haven’t checked the stats, it didn’t feel like there were that many scrums and certainly no energy sapping re-set after re-sets which will have helped.

    That last try was magical, a real team try, we stretched England one way with some fast hands and Steyn’s break down the right then rapidly all the way back over to the left where there was a gaping hole. Everyone knew what were doing and it was executed perfectly. I can’t decide it Matt Fagerson nearly butchered it by passing to Duhan so early or if it was giving that pass early that scored the try. I think if Fagerson had run himself for a few more yards, he’s quite quick for an 8, but it would have given the England defence a split second more to get over and line up Duhan. Whether they would have actually managed to dump him into touch is a different question and he still had a lot to do either way but on balance I’ll say is was genius by Fagerson.

  48. Your team looked sharp, focussed and there were few of the usual handling errors or white-line panic of old. The performance was both professional and committed and maybe is a reflection of improved quality in the coaching with a sprinkle of individual brilliance from your man on the wing.
    Entertaining game to watch and Scotland undoubtably deserved the win. Congratulations.
    England stagger on ‘looking to learn the lessons’ but the reality is that they have been nothing more than a mediocre team for several years – despite the media hype or vast (wasted) expense.

    1. Honest commentary….I think I’ll fear England next year after more work from this coaching team…

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