Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Six Nations 2023: Scotland v Wales Discussion Post

Scotland vs Wales
pic © Scottish Rugby Blog

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

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 Wales 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? How did Toony vs Gatland play out? Let us know your thoughts.

125 Responses

  1. Half time Hogg off not looking good with a donkey on our bench. If Bennett was on the bench I’d feel more confident.

    1. Great to get the win. Some more excellent execution in attack, and sound defensively. But far too many unforced errors, especially in the first half. Poor at the re-starts. And again, not nearly enough possession, particularly in the first half, to give us a chance v France or Ireland, both of whom are vastly superior to Wales.

  2. Scotland need to stick to their systems and not get dragged into Wales nonsense. Driving Maul has been a real positive.

    We have been the better team for 30 minutes. Unlucky for Turner with that split second drop from North but still should do better.

    Get the ball into Duhans hands more.

    1. Agree, unlucky I thought. Can’t believe ref or TMO didn’t look at Adams shoulder barge on Steyn….

      1. Neil: It wont be the first time. Cymru have many problems just now. You need to be wary, maybe Gatland will be freed up just in time for Townsends departure. Who knows Gregor Townsend may yet get a job with the mighty Cymru.

        Horrace: That is extremely unpolite of you, not as gracious as your kinsmen.

  3. Really edgy first half – so satisfying we came out and bossed the second instead of getting dragged into a dogfight

    1. Absolutely! One team came to play, one team came to stifle and niggle and play turgid rugby. Glad the right team won and played some nice rugby in the second half.

  4. yep struggled in first half but Finn took control in the second. Great stuff – was getting a bit worried but we did dominate in end

    1. I wonder if Finn especially watches the video at half time and just sees his opportunities that are hard to see at ground level…he’s often much crisper second half

  5. As an exile living in North Wales…… What a result and I can’t wait until work on Monday.

    1. As an exile living in New Zealand, I hope to go to work one Monday morning with the same jubilation!

  6. Easy, Wales are useless and Gatland is a clown. Biggar a man you want to see lose every game.

    Look what happens when Finn has options: Finn, Tui, Jones, Duhan. Unbelievable combination. Not just in attack.

    Good on GT – has made all the right decisions and is giving off a confident more relaxed air.

    Dempsey coming on, change of the front row, Horne. This is a very good team.

    1. Add two of Steyn, Hogg, Kinghorn and (when fit) Darcy to that mix and we’ve got one hell of a back division.

      And then there’s Redpath, Smith, Hutchinson, Bennett…

  7. Crikey Scotland have gone up several levels in attack since Horne and Mooar came in as attack coaches….huge threat to any team in world rugby.
    Defense much more solid too…after a shaky period of matches…Tandy has got them playing much better.
    That said, France and Ireland are the next big steps for us… we can’t play as sloppy in the 1st halves as we have thus far…those teams will take advantage if we do.
    Anyway couldn’t think of a better way to stick it up Gatland than that performance…we even left some more points out there.

  8. Firstly absolutely magnificent to put Wales to the sword in such a manner.
    Kinghorn never to play 10 again, he’s brilliant as a 15.
    Russell 😉……
    1st half they messed us around and put us off our game but 2nd half enter Mr. Finn Russell, superb creation of tries……..Tuipulotu is absolutely crucial and we’re lucky to have him.

    1. Blair Kinghorn is the best 10 Edinburgh have had in a long time and playing 10 for Edinburgh has given him a new lease of life. That doesn’t mean he can’t play fullback or wing for Scotland, professional players can and should play multiple positions. Saying he should never play 10 again is old fashioned thinking, we need to leave it in the past

  9. Glad to see Scotland overcome the mental hurdle.

    In two weeks time we play away to France, the next challenge is to now show we can match up physically against the top 4, and it won’t get any harder than France

    If we play like we did in the first half, we will struggle.

    Hopefully that is the rust shaken off Fagerson now, i’d put him in for the Glasgow-Ulster game next week though, get a bit more match-fit so he stops giving away penalties.

    I thought Dempsey had a good impact on the forwards, I’d be tempted to find a spot for him in the starting backrow.

    Jones proved defensively (admittedly against an awful attack) that there is no need for Harris on the bench.

    6-2 Split? Or a more creative option.

    1. “Won’t get any harder than France”, erm, Ireland?

      Although I agree about the first halves.

      And on Fagerson looking rusty. Although I’m not sure what the ref was doing at the first couple of scrums.

      And on Dempsey making an impact. Although I’d be tempted to keep him on the bench for impact.

      Possibly start Kinghorn for Hogg.

    2. France have looked error prone and generally a bit scratchy…almost lost to Italy, and were never really in it vs Ireland…the way I see it they will need to improve to beat us.

      1. I agree…but with the way they play they’ll score tries…can we muck up a few in the red zone like we did Wales? They’ll provide mistakes for us to have chances and a high success rate as is becoming possible is important too. Duhan will cause huge issues against their wee men not sure Dupont as effective against his style

    3. Posted last night, among other views, along similar lines about how a sticky first half will cost us against France and Ireland.
      Used a swear word which I thought was well asterisked, then found out my post was in moderation.
      It’s not appeared yet. What did I do wrong? Asterisks in the wrong place?

      1. Ireland more so. France not as crucial…it’ll be an open game…we can afford to go behind. We have belief to come back….

        Our recent record against France is astoundingly good actually for what ppl say about both teams. A win makes it on par against Eng and ppl say we have them over a barrel.

        2018 Win
        2019 Loss
        2020 Win
        2021 Win
        2022 Loss

        We’ll need to turn up but I’d be very pls but not surprised with a Sco win. Losing to Ireland helps us in this fixture enormoysly

  10. About to watch the game but know the result which is always interesting after reading through the in-match forum postings to see if it reflects the real time thoughts…and roller coaster of emotions!

    France away is hard enough but on the back of a hammering it will be manic. Strong ref needed and calm heads…assuming they are still on our shoulders after 10 minutes.
    In some ways it’s a shot to nothing. Whatever happens we have a game for the triple crown at home against Ireland which in the context of the World Cup to come, might be the bigger deal.

  11. As others have said above, if we play a first half against France and Ireland like we played today then we’ll get punished by both and there will likely be no winning comeback.

    Gatland’s team today tried to reduce the game to the kind of slugfest that’s been our undoing against Wales over the past fifteen years or so.

    Toonie and his coaches must have administered a major half-time boll***ing and reminder to the players that they could play so much better than that. For instance, some of the loose passing and misdirected offloads in that first 40 kept Wales in the game.

    On a positive note, second half was a Finn-orchestrated demonstration of us at our best, against a Wales side that’s half in decline and half in rebuild.

    No penny for Gatland’s thoughts from me. He got stuffed by us, and it’s about time!

  12. Feels like we’re now seeing Racing 92 Finn playing for Scotland. Everybody around him is on his wavelength and every play doesn’t need to be a Hail Mary as he has confidence in his team mates to do their thing too.

    1. Maybe second half Finn, god knows what he has been on in the first half of games.Second half has been a different player, absolutely immense. The only thing is if he starts like that against France or Ireland then the game will be over by half time

      1. The 30 m cut out pass looks ‘obvious’ on tv but is much harder on the ground…I think it takes him a wee bit to figure out whats on and whats not. Compated to, say, Sexton he’s not working to a program.

  13. Wow, finally we managed to put Wales to the sword. Seeing a pissed off and rattled Dan Biggar fills my heart with joy! I was very very nervous at half time so I’m really pleased that we managed to come out in the second half and play our game rather continue to be sucked into Wales’ game.

    Stand outs for me, Richie Gray was immense again as was Duhan and Kyle Steyn. What has happened to Huw Jones, he’s gone from fast and prolific but has hands like coos tits and can’t tackle to an absolute machine in both attack and defence. Thought Ben White looked less assured than he did last weekend but George Horne was brilliant when he came on. Kinghorn was fantastic again, not sure about the him vs Hogg, Hoggy hasn’t been at his best but he handled the aerial ping pong pretty well in the first half. Thought Crosbie was a bit anonymous while he was on, Dempsey was much better. Having said that, I’m tempted to keep the bench the same to be honest, our bench have really added something the last couple of weeks and how often have we been able to say that?

    I would be making minimal changes. The team all seem to be on the same wavelength and are playing like a team that are greater than the sum of its parts, which is something we can rarely claim.

    Ireland scare me though…

      1. It’s brilliant, I never really picked up on how he does this until I watched Squidges review of the England game.

      2. It’s really genius why is it allowed? I don’t know my laws that well.

        It’s deliberate anticipation I wonder if others do it but haven’t noticed others…

        You don’t notice off the ball but next time I’m at a live game I’ll be watching Horne

  14. Well that’s a good feeling. Great 2nd half. Again, like last week we overcame a difficult patch within the game that’s the thing that is most impressive for me. As a group we are improving.

    I believe we can get something in Paris I really do. Ireland are immense but let’s see.

    Would think mish might come back In. Would like to see redpath in 23 Otherwise looking good

    1. I can see Crosbie dropping out the 23 in favour of Mish, but it’ll most likely be Dempsey who starts against France.

      Like you, I’d like to see Redpath in the 23 but I suspect Toony will favour Harris. Mind you, if he goes for a 6-2 split and Hogg starts, Harris will be the one to drop out of the 23.

  15. Think we may well look back at the World Cup or beyond and say Townsend is a genius giving Kinghorn a run at 10. Whether he planned it for the long haul or not he has developed hugely with that period of time at 10 for club and Country.

    He had tough games to figure out stuff and we now have three key distributors when he plays with Russell and Tui and himself…

    …..must be a nightmare to defend with not knowing who is coming when….

    So it was fore thought that didn’t cost us too much with a bit of frustration and pain. Even if we don’t get out of group at world cup….(toughest two teams anyone has had in top teir I’d suggest) we can certainly say we’re not far off top four in world.

    But French game will say how we’re really doing but so much of both weeks show we don’t give teams easy points we force mistakes in the 5 metre line too often to be a fluke.

    1. Yes I think so too. Whether that was considered the potential benefit of Kinghorn learning 10 ..who knows…but he looks like he can be an exceptional 15…Id start him at 15 next match. Hogg hasn’t been terrible but he also hasn’t looked his best either..Kinghorn looks like he is on the point of making FB his own. He looked extremely dangerous in a variety of moments.

      1. Did you see the moment after the final whistle where Hogg had Kinghorn’s heads in his hands like a proud Father telling his son how well he had done and proud he was???

        This team enjoys it’s individual moments of glory but the teammates enjoy them too and celebrate with even if its costs them. That injury could cost Hogg his starting place (bearing in mind he has only ever been sub once in his first cap for his whole Scotland career) and yet he is for the team rather than himself.

        We’re not the best in the world but we have the mindset, togetherness, skill, never say die that many of the top teams have had in their DNA

      2. Yes I noticed that too. I thought that was great…very gracious and mature of Hogg and indicates a good team spirit which hasn’t always been evident the last few years. It makes a difference to fans and the team.

      3. Agreed! Lets have BK start at 15 (honestly never thought I’d be saying that up to the last few months) given the respective form of him and Hogg. Hogg needs to play his way back in I reckon, has been the weak link in the back line last few weeks (but without doing much wrong – just hasn’t done much to shout about either).

        The moment with Kinghorn was great – and hopefully will put an end to the unnecessary and undeserved recent Hogg-bashing that seemed to have taken root with some of our posters.

        Great win, still worried that our forwards didn’t dominate as much as I thought they might (Wales are not France or Ireland, so that is still a worry to come) but when we get at least parity, we have a strong defence and an awesome attack.

        Shout to Kyle Steyn – very different option, and not quite in the same class as Darcy, but a great player who has taken to test rugby really well. Great we have him as an option also.

      4. Referendum : Kinghorn already has a father . Kinghorn starts against France IMO. Either way , he has a father and doesn’t need another one.

  16. Wales have turned us over many times when we’ve been fancied to win so maybe that explains some caginess in the 1st half.

    What I like about this Scotland team is that they look more dangerous as the game goes on and space opens up.

    Great performance.
    Nothing to fear in France now.

  17. Hats off the strength and conditioning teams for Scotland and the Pro Teams. I think we looked fitter than both England and Wales in the last 20 minutes of the two games. Our ability to execute attack skills at the end of the game is exceptional.

  18. I know it’s not likely the case…but I sometimes feel Ireland are peaking too early and that sustaining their form through the RWC might be a bridge too far for them. Are they pushing too hard too early? They are beginning to pick up a lot of soft tissue injuries …possibly from over training.

    I think they will win the 6N…but beat France and that’s a helluva match v them.

  19. The back line was fantastic today, Duhan takes so many to stop – or not! – that he creates space for others if he doesn’t score. Steyn had another great game, solid under the high ball, secure in his finishing. Tui and Huw great in defence and passing is so much more precise in the backs than even just a couple of years ago. Matt Fagerson is a rock, enormous game and thoroughly deserving of his try. Thought Crosbie did a lot of unsung tackling when on – would love to see the stats. Big shifts from Turner and Gray Snr too. First half definitely a bit scrappy but perhaps those first 40 minutes were what really sucked the life out of Wales. They had around 70% possession but was soaked up and had few clear chances, less than 1 point per visit to the 22. That shows a real ability to nullify Wales creating anything and someone like Crosbie chopping down Welshmen everywhere was a massive part of that. I would leave the back row well alone for France. And brilliant to see Biggar humbled; his reaction to his fellow inexperienced teammate Dyer shows why he is the one we love to hate.

    1. Nope … no patronizing posting from him today ….I guess the ‘dark arts’ ..or.. cheating and gamesmanship as normal folk call it didn’t work out for his ‘Cymru’.

  20. As good as Kinghorn has been, Hogg, if fit, would stay first choice 15. Let’s not forget how good he is, and more particularly what a massive defensive boot he has. Defending territory with Hogg, Russell and Duhan on hand means we can compete with the very very best teams.

    On another note: when is the next time Scotland are going to have, at the same time: one of the best 10s in the world; one of the best 15s in world; a captain with real presence; a Lomu-esque winger; a dynamite ball-playing balanced midfield; two number 8s; and a 6’10 lock; along with the usual talented sprinkling of backrows and scrum halves. And, lastly, a more relaxed bedded-in coach finally picking the right combinations (and seemingly a man transformed both in choices and demeanour). Need to enjoy this while it lasts, one of Bill McLaren’s feasts.

    Yet in terms of expectations, frankly, anything that comes out the rest of this year is a bonus. It’s a free hit against everyone other than Italy, Tonga and Romania.

  21. For me this was a match we’d have lost in previous seasons. That we didn’t shows that we are improving. It was too easy to defend against Scotland before, nullify Finn and Hoggy and that was it. Now, that’s not the case with Tui, Huw, Kinghorn and vdM all proving either outlets or attacking fulcrums.

    Yes we can improve, but we have also racked up BP scores against a good English and Welsh side.

    I felt we were a more balanced side with BK at 15, but I certainly won’t complain if Hoggy comes back in and starts using his boot for 50-22 kicks.

    Was it just me or was White deliberating a bit too much at times over the ball compared to England, we improved our speed of attack with Horne as well which poses a selection dilemma at both 9 and 15.

    1. Reading your “Tui, huw, Kinghorn” comment makes me think someone needs to come up with a chant for this team based on the Trumpton theme tune. Something along the lines of “Hue, Tui, the giant prop Schoe, Kinghorn, Russell, gray”.

  22. Upon watching again the cuddle that Ritchie gave Kathy Weir upon receiving the Doddie Weir Cup would bring tears to a glass eye.
    It’s all a matter of getting Finn R space and front foot ball.
    Tuipulotu is getting better everytime I see him, the soft hands in the lead up to Kinghorns try were lovely.
    Now Russell has the whole backline to aim at, on here we’ve been crying out for a creative 13 to exploit the ball that Finn generates, Tuipulotus presence makes that much easier.
    R.Gray gives a reassuring feel to the line outs.
    The 2 x 50-22s were a thing of beauty, much be a real body blow to the opposing team.
    Turners ‘tackle’ can’t have been that far from a red, the more I see it the more I reckon we may have got away with one there.
    With Darge Watson Cummings Graham to return its about as positive a position we’ve been in for a wee while.

    1. North slipped and thus presented a much lower target for Turner, who was already committed to the tackle.

      In the circumstances, I’d argue that it wasn’t a yellow let alone a red.

  23. Well done , it had to happen eventually, we didn’t show up . See you all next year.

    Cymru am Byth

    1. Oh there you are…yeah of course…your team didn’t show up.Thats why you lost. Not because Scotland are now a far better team than Scotland sides you have faced in recent memory and outplayed yer boys. They showed up with the level they are at.
      As ungracious as your miserable coach.

      1. 6N Cymru have 4 grand Slams, 6 outright winners, 5 triple crowns. You have 4 wooden spoons. You have a bit of cayching up to do young jock , but you are making a very good start.

        Do not be a bad winner Ruggers B. That is something Cymru can outshine you at as well.

        Cymru am Byth

      2. Cymru fans definitely outshine absolutely no-one win or lose.
        You are the one on an opposition fans site spouting pretentious & patronizing pre-knowledge of the game.
        Like someone else posted…Blowhard.

  24. If Scotland end up lower to Ireland by a single point I will be fuming. An appalling decision by all the officials re the Lowe “non-try” – not even a 50-50 call, so obviously a foot in touch and clearly visible on at least 2 angles available to the ref/TMO. Can’t believe it wasn’t scrutinized more given that it was bound to be a very tight call. Ireland push/subtly break the boundaries so often (and admittedly very astutely), they really don’t need blatant duff decisions to help them. Motivation to make their trip to Murrayfield a great day for Scottish rugby.

    1. Tui had a forward pass which led us to getting our first three points….had it gone to a try it would have been looked at and we’d be defending a scrum a 0-0 15 mins in.

      We all get stuff for and against and it won’t even out but not sure you can say it costs the title.

  25. Loving Huw Jones atm. Become a much better player over the past few years and was impressed by his defence yesterday (although Wales attack wasn’t really up to much). When the ball goes wide towards him and Duhan there’s genuine excitement every time.

    Actually loving all the redemption arcs. Kinghorn and George Horne are two players that have had a difficult last couple of years as well but have been flourishing in their roles off the bench. Richie Gray has somehow become undroppable after years in the wilderness. Kyle Steyn had a tough start in the 6N last year but has become Maitland-level solid. Brown and Nel were supposed to be finished at international level but both enjoying an indian summer as the stable bench options. Goes on and on.

    I wouldn’t make any changes again for France. If Watson has a good game next weekend for Edinburgh then maybe look at bringing him in at 7 but do think we should be giving Crosbie more experience as he’s looked solid (if unspectacular) so far.

    1. Do you think there is a need for Harris on the bench atm? He has only gotten 10 minutes the last two games

      1. Maybe not. I quite like the balance of Horne, Kinghorn and Harris on the bench though. Feels like we’re covered whether we need an injection of pace or stability.

        I’d maybe look at bringing in Redpath for him. If Redpath is going to go the WC as the 4th centre then he really does need a bit more gametime as he only has 4 caps so far. He’s quite a stable player as well so doesn’t feel like it would alter the balance too much.

    2. Yeah to be fair Jones looks a far better player on both sides of the ball now…and so maybe GT had a point with selecting Harris ahead of him for a sustained period.
      Im sure I’ll get pelters for this one…but I don’t think we are as effective and balanced a back row with Watson.
      If and only if Crosbie is injured Id rather Dempsey comes in at 8 ..Ritchie 7…Fagerson 6 and Bayliss gets a bench spot…both Dempsey and Bayliss have also played regular club rugby recently and are far more versatile. Bayliss covers 6,7,8 and has looked the part when he has been given a shot in the past. Watson hasn’t played well enough for a long while imo…as good as Hamish has played a few years back we often looked lightweight in the back row combo with him.
      Id put Kinghorn in at 15 ..not a diss on Hogg who does kick better…but I felt we looked far more dangerous and fluid when Kinghorn came on.

      For me Healy gets a bench spot as back up to Russell. Its inevitable with Russell’s frame he’ll get creamed some day.

  26. Anyone else baffled by George North being allowed back on the park, despite being clearly concussed by the Turner tackle? WRU have a history of this, and undoing all the progress made around head injuries/tackles etc

    1. Gatland played dumb in post match interview.

      Then looked to me that GT alluded to it in talking about 12 day return to play protocols for players with history of prior HIAs “…as we all know”.

  27. It’s been the bench for me that’s different this year, and it’s really interesting how we’ve ended up in that situation. Feels like everything about Scotland that we’ve hated in the last couple of years about Scotland have now put us in this position.

    In this form, Finn plays the full 80 in every important game. So if you’re toonie, do you waste a bench spot on another ten? Or do you take the talented all rounder, and train him up as a stand off. I thought he was trying to find a replacement for Finn, but now it’s clear he was blooding an exceptional bench option. And on reflection, that was obvious. He was given the full summer tour, and then straight to the bench (none of the other tens could play the first autumn test, so he did that too, but that’s it)

    With kinghorn covering back 3 and 10, it means we can also have a specialist centre on the bench. And so Harris can come in later on and just came stuff down. Our defence just gets better as the game goes on – we’ve conceded zero points in the last 15 minutes of the first two games.

    It’s taken a long time and a lot of flak from everyone to get these pieces into place. But now we’re in a situation where we’re starting with our absolute best team, and yet our attack and defence both get better as the game goes on. W3 L2 is still the most likely outcome, but god it’s a promising start to a tough year.

    1. I’m not so sure Kinghorn is simply an excellent multi-position bench option.
      I think he has improved a lot from his experiences such that he is competing hard for a 15 spot.
      As much as I reckon he expanded his game playing as a 10….he isn’t a 10. He is 100% a FB.
      It’s great we have such depth of talent at that spot though…with the experience of Hogg and young Smith coming through also. If only we had that depth at TH…
      It’s virtually impossible in such a full contact sport to continually select the same 23. It also needs tweaked on what the opposition and tactics are…
      If Kinghorn gets his chance at FB …he’s earned it…and if he plays better than Hogg has lately he deserves to keep it.
      Pick players based on their form imo…I think it’s good for squad progression and harmony.

      There’s a long way to go for us….we haven’t played the 2 best teams in the 6N yet…and we’ll have to go up a level or 2 still to have a chance of winning either of those matches.
      I can’t see past Ireland winning the 6N …but you never know…we can play better …so who knows.

      1. I’m absolutely here for Kinghorn getting a run at fullback, although I think Hogg’s kicking intelligence early on in the game would be missed. The principal thing is he can cover if Finn goes down. Not having to put a specialist 10 on the bench – who we’re not going to use unless Finn’s injured – opens up so many possibilities for us.

        Yeah, France have played badly and won and played well and lost so far. If it was at Murrayfield this year, I’d fancy it. Ireland look on another level.

  28. The results of the first two rounds of this year’s 6 Nations, show up the seeding for the next Rugby World Cup, as nothing more than unadulterated tripe.

    1. Agree…absolute nonsense to nail down the seedings for the biggest comp in international rugby that early. Id say the same no matter Scotlands seed…Soo much can change in that period of time between comps.

  29. Side note: I did not hear any 8th minute applause for Siobhan this time around, has the public stopped caring as much? Will Dodson escape?

    1. The applause was there, i heard it , it was drowned out though by the welsh bleating on about bread from Lidl

      1. The campaign has worked in so much they’ll be an appropriate tribute (as to be suggested by her family) at the Ireland game

  30. Much as I like Kinghorn and agree he’s been superb in both matches I think he can make a better impact off the bench.Slightly less pressure and he does provide natural cover for so many positions.If he starts the whole bench make up needs to be altered.Actually he is arguably the busiest guy all week as he has to learn the fly half plays Finn case in goes down and yet also be attuned to cover anywhere in the back three,so a huge workload mentally for him in match week.He’s done brilliantly but for the pressure cooker of Paris on balance I wouldn’t alter it if Hogg gets through his HIA protocols.
    (And funny to think that less than a fortnight a go many on this and other rugby sites were advocating for Ollie Smith to start at FB! We are spoilt for choice nowas I’m sure he’d go well given the chance.)

  31. My Team for France

    Hogg – Steyn – Jones – Tuipolotu – Van Der Merwe – Russell – Horne – Fagerson – Ritchie – Dempsey – R Gray – Gilchrist – Fagerson – Turner – Schoeman

    Graham – Kinghorn – White – Watson – Skinner – Nel – Brown – Bhatti

    Looked like Crosbie picked up an injury against Wales, but also think we need more a stronger ball carrier in the backrow against France.

    1. Crosbie is a very strong ball carrier, given time we will see that in a Scotland shirt the same way we see it for Edinburgh every week.

    2. An in-form Mish could force himself onto the bench but not sure he’s quite shown he’s back to his best yet. Also wondering if Crosbie is being tasked with a more defensive role; his tackle stats have been impressive (not withstanding Matt Fagerson’s machine like performance) and assuming he’s fit for Paris, I don’t think he’s been so off par he deserves dropping.
      Hornito has played well off the bench and offers more impact than White so would be tempted to start with White but swap at half time if more pace is required against a more tired French pack.

      1. Yeah Crosbie is quite quick around the park and I think may have been tasked with a bit more of a clean-out role as we give a lot of the heavy carrying to Schoeman, Turner and Zander with Matt Fagerson and Ritchie tending to be placed out wide (squidge rugby 1-3-3-1 and all that).

        I like Dempsey off the bench so would go with the same 23 if Crosbie is fit and bring Watson or Christie in if not.

  32. Delighted with the last two games but wary about how quickly the narrative around Scotland has changed…before we play the best two sides in the world. Most fans expected nothing from this years tournament but Russell is revived, our pack has rebuilt its set piece on the foundations of Richie Gray’s bridge shoulders and our attack is suddenly purring.

    I wonder how much is down to AB Zondagh being jettisoned and Mooar and Horne coming on board? Will they be going the Scotland set up for the RWC?

    If we beat Italy and one other of France and Ireland we’ve taken a decent step forward. Does that make Townsend more likely to be offered a contract extension? Is that a good thing?

    All in all, loving the good vibes at the moment but chances to win a championship don’t come round Scotland’s way too often – we simply must give our best performance in Paris and see where that takes us.

    1. Think we have earned the right to be confident and talk up our chances….

      ….yes it could all fall apart but if to can’t dream and believe now when can you?

      Enjoy the moment….dream the possible…. and worry not of what is yet to happen….🙂

      1. There is a huge gap between England and Wales than France and Ireland.

        I suspect we are somewhere in the middle at the moment, and a few fans will be shocked just how physical and quick the French are. You don’t go a whole year unbeaten, including wins against the All blacks and South Africa without being a level up.

        I’ll get excited if we somehow show against France we are as good as the top4.. until then though i’ll be happy with 3/5 wins

      2. I think the Ireland game will have taken a lot of emotional energy for France to peak for and whether they want to or not, they won’t see us as much of a threat. So if we get a scratchy performance from them like their opener we could have the chance of an upset. Until the Ireland match France had put in a few performances nowhere near their best.

        Uini Atonio has been cited so they could be without him.

      3. Thats fair Neil however Italy should have beaten them and id argue any of the other 4 teams would have closed that match out against France. Italy certainly should have.

        Against France…restarts, and kick chases will be key…we can’t chase without discipline and allow counter attack tries.

        And I’d imagine a card would cost us alot.. however it’s possible they’ll get one.

        I don’t even think going behind is a huge issue against France…Ireland yes.

        Ritchie is good at knowing when to take points and go for the corner…he’s done both in the 2 matches and it’s been the right call…I fear we’ve been a team who are too scared to take 3 when we’re behind (mentality being when will we get back in this position we better gamble) rather than make the smart call.

        Not any more do I see this…that is huge.

  33. the next 2 games will be a stern test of where we are. Both teams have outpowered/outmuscled us in the past and Ireland in particular tend to stifle us. Think France tend to tire as game goes on, so hanging in there provides an opportunity to fill our boots. For me against Ireland the penalty count is crucial as they are the masters of scoring from 5 yards out . They have an effective, pragmatic way of playing which undoubtedly works for them

    1. To state the obvious, keep the scoreboard ticking in both games, take points on offer through the first half. See where we are by the 70th. The flashy dangerous play, generating regular scoring chances, lets Scotland be very pragmatic. The first 6 points against Wales could have been 14 but def all the right decisions made. There’s going to be more than one opportunity for a try, so as long as stay in touching distance, no drama.

  34. Looking at the schedule it has given us the best chance given our start.

    2 bonus point wins set us up with confidence…we have Italy at home last up with 4 wins before you’d always want them last. Reason you don’t is to stifle a bad run or get some confidence. They are now the only game without a week’s break beforehand.

    So we have a rest going into France…very beneficial. If to choose given results you’d want France away and Ireland home rather than vice versa.

    You’d want France first and going off a loss rather than a 14 match winning streak.

    Ireland at home going for a triple crown for first time in how long? I don’t think we’ve had 2 of the 3 to give us the chance in 6 nations history.

    Thry can’t win triple crown on the day…given the results this is their hardest fixture and we’ll need to win the battle a few times…

    If we beat France you’d want Ireland 4th. Eng is no gimme so it’s not their last match it’s one leading to it…not having a win to secure grand slam means less pressure on us.

    Should we go there 3 from 3 then we have gone further than we ever have and it’s a shot and a chance ..Ireland haven’t gone to Scotland with us being realistic challengers before..

    As Kronk says…

    “It’s all coming together!!”

    We can dream the players cannot….

    1. Hate to do this, especially given your justifiable hope, but the last time we played for the triple crown was 2017, and we lost 61-21 at Twickenham.

      Love your last line though. The players have to focus, but we have two weeks before the next game and why shouldn’t we get the chance to dream?

      France looked way better against Ireland, but they will have had a real emotional hit in the Ireland game and they have been known to switch off when that happens. They got away with one from the ref, and teams are often under more scrutiny when that happens. Our record against them is decent, better than any other 6N team in Toonie’s time. It’s a home game for Finn. You never know.

      And if, if, if we were to escape Paris with a win, we’d have two home games for a grand slam. Offer that to any team in this competition, they’d bite your hand off. Ireland could easily still put 20 or more on us, they look impossibly good right now. But they have underperformed in this competition under Farrell, and all the pressure would be on them.

      A grand slam in the six nations has been mathematically impossible at this stage, every year since Italy joined. It’s not going to happen. It’s absolutely, definitely not going to happen. The players cannot dream. But we can.

      1. Thanks for clarification but if I remember 2017 was a great win against Wales great performance last cap for Visser and Ireland was a hang in there…solid nothing too flash…but the comp was up and down..if I remember rightly we chased a kick out in France terribly and they scored which threw away our chance then….

        …this is a more mature team all round even if we do lose….both.

        But win one either one the championship is still alive going into last week with the two bonus points we have.

  35. Forgive me for the off topic but I spat out my morning coffee reading this on Rob Dewey’s wiki page (don’t ask why).

    “He maintains a comprehensive collection of fingerless rugby gloves as well as a selection of signed impressionist self-portraits by Dan Parks.”


    1. They do look like they are going into meltdown. A strike will mean some broadcast money is withheld, not to mention the lost revenue from a home test, and double down on the financial challenges being faced. I can’t imagine it will actually happen but we are in uncharted territory.

      For all the SRU remain unloved, they have steered Scottish rugby much more responsibly than the WRU who have squandered a culture that embraces the game at community level and a deep well of talent.

      I think it’s very likely a player exodus will mean the regions deteriorate further and Wales are stunted at test level. It could easily take a 5-10 years to sort out the structure and financing of welsh rugby.

      I honestly don’t think anyone who loves rugby can take any pleasure in the situation.

  36. Whilst it very much looks like the players (and this means all those playing for the Welsh clubs and not just internationalists) have been treated extremely shoddily by taking so long to put new contract offers on the table I think we all know very well that there is zero chance that the Wales/England game won’t go ahead.
    Like it or not rugby does (eventually) need a strong Wales set up.

    1. Perhaps Georgia could step in at short notice to play England. The welsh fans were quick enough to suggest replacing Scotland when we were in the doldrums, it’ll be interesting to see how they feel about relegated on the Six Nations now!

  37. This is why we should be thankful we have a ruthless bastard in Dodson at the top. He may be an ass but he has changed Scottish Rugby for the better financially, and ultimately money is what matters to keep the game going. We would be a lot worse off without him.

    1. I reluctantly agree with that. Loads of things you can rightly criticise SRU of getting wrong but financially, we don’t seem to be in the same mess as WRU and arguably parts of the English game too. I guess having just 2 pro teams helps and though it would be great to have more, that’s a decision that has to be based on financial sustainability and right now, that means no. SRU had a huge debt mountain after the redevelopment of Murrayfield and that’s been managed down thankfully. We are punching massively above the weight our limited player pool suggests and hopefully, that success brings more interest and revenue to enable future growth. If that means the current regime has to stay, that’s a pill we might need to swallow, though a bit of sugar-coating in the form of better communication with and involvement of grass roots clubs would be very welcome.

    1. What do you think ? I am sure you can form an opinion.
      I say there will be 23 Frenchmen facing Scotland. OK.

    2. Undoubtedly a good thing for us.

      He’s the 2nd most experienced player in their whole six nations squad and has been a big part of the way they try and dominate physically.

      Replacement is likely to be Falatea (who has under 10 caps) and Mohammad Haouas on the bench (who I think we all remember).

  38. Scotland Side For France

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

    Kinghorn – White – Dempsey – Skinner – J Gray – Nel – Brown – Bhatti

    1. I think keep White at 9 and Harris on the bench.

      We’re going to be up against a much better attack than what the English and Welsh put out so a last 15 safety net of Harris feels right. White has been good so far and Horne has livened things up off the bench so no need to disrupt the team by swapping them round imo.

      Only change I would potentially make would be Rory Sutherland in for Bhatti on the bench.

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