Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Podcast: Episode 244 – Lubricated Tractors

Cammy is joined by Iain, Jonny, Rory and Craig to discuss Mike Blair’s sudden departure from Edinburgh and to review Scotland’s loss to France in the latest round of the Six Nations.

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

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52 Responses

  1. What a joy it was to listen to a podcast which talked purely about the rugby and the positives.

    Thought Rory done a good job hosting, once things went south with Blacks connection.

  2. I think there were many difficulties for Huw Jones on his first trip to Glasgow. They knew how good he was, Curry Cup winner, MOM , being that good is not always welcomed by everyone. Once his confidence was dented , it is a bad thing to lose.

  3. Running the All Blacks so close in November. Demolishing Argentina a week later, even allowing for their red and yellow cards.
    Beating England for the first time in front of a Twickenham crowd since 1983.
    Stuffing Wales for the first time in a long time.
    Getting near to turning it round from 19-0 down in Stade de France.
    All good signs of the best Scotland side I’ve seen since 1999.
    Who knows what this means for our RWC group prospects this year?
    I don’t, but I know Ireland and the Saffers won’t be seeing us as a little
    bump in the road.
    12 March Murrayfield will be more than just about one Test. It will be about how both sides are shaping up for October in Paris.

    1. I couldn’t give a toss about the RWC to be honest. We can still win the championship. Even if we don’t any kind of win against Ireland will be massive. The RWC just isn’t important whilst we are still trying to become contenders in the 6N. At best it’s irrelevant at worst it is a massive distraction.

      1. The RWC a distraction? Are you serious? It’s the pinnacle of world rugby competition. By dismally failing to qualify from our group in 2019, compounded by ridiculously premature seedings for this coming one, we’re in the toughest group in the whole tournament.
        Win or lose to Ireland in the 6N next weekend, why wouldn’t we want to send Ireland (and the Saffers) by way of our performance a message that they’ve got serious competition from an allegedly third tier RWC rival in the Autumn?

      2. Totally serious. We have no realistic chance of winning the RWC. And if we get to a QF or by some miracle a SF, so what?

        Our bread and butter is the 6N, a tournament we’ve never won. We’ve only won a handful of grand slams in our history. Our obsessive focus should be on winning the 6N. Putting everything through a RWC-cycle prism is counter-productive.

        What do you think Wales fans prize more from Gatland’s tenure? The semi-final losses or the grandslams and championships?

        Until we are good enough to win the 6N the RWC just shouldn’t be our priority.

      3. A unnecessarily Superior attitude from FF but attitude aside I get the point and agree with it . Sorry to read you got such a scolding John.

        The 6 nations is the pinnacle of Northern Hemisphere rugby, in its various forms it goes back to 1883. It is annually the greatest sports championship and whether you are a rugby fan or not , you watch it , men , women and kids, it is engrained in the culture of the UK.

        The world cup is the Southern Hemisphere’s show , it is not our’s. Their pathetic attempt at pulling the world of rugby together . I think it is worth a bigger debate. I myself can be arrogant and given how we have been treated in the last 2 world cups, I think it is a matter for debate. Why , on earth, should we step up for it ? It is about advancing World Rugby’s Ambitions and we play little or no part in them.

        I really want to see us back as a side that realistically contends for the 6 nations. I doubt our our senior players would step back from the RWC , but I would be tempted to use it as a place to break in new players and bring on those re-emerging to compete in the 6 Nations.

      4. It’s not a scolding, Ruckov. It’s just a difference of opinion between two interlocutors on a blog!

      5. Completely agree that the 6N is our bread and butter and should take priority over the RWC. World Rugby have shown themselves to be totally incompetent by locking in seedings so early we now have the top 5 nations in the same half of the draw. They clearly have their own agenda to generate more income in countries like Japan. They also have their preferred nations and we are not one of them given their eagerness to cancel our game with Japan at the last RWC. In which other elite sports do games just get cancelled due to bad weather with one team missing out on a valuable win? If they can make the draw so far ahead of the comp then surely they should have better contingency planning to ensure that all games are played.

        At least 6N organisers can plan a tournament with a sufficient degree of competence and fairness.

      6. Frankly,I’m only thinking of the Irish 9 and how to stop the little F*** from playing his game.

      7. I could not agree more. I’ve been banging this drum for years. I’ll enjoy it for what it is…a glorified autumn international series where I hope we put on some good displays and yes it would be lovely to beat Ireland or SA. However we ain’t winning it, or coming close, so why don’t we put all our eggs in the 6N basket every year and stop pivoting and planning around a RWC.

        Don’t get me wrong I would love to see us win it but lets be honest with ourselves and become consistent challengers for a 6N first.

    2. All we have shown so far is that we are better side than last 6N…..we’ve won nothing yet. The result and performance v Ireland will show if we have improved significantly or in baby steps.

      1. Agree Ruggers I can’t help but feel each time we fail to beat Ireland next time it gets tougher…and its 6 years since 2017 which really was a gutsy win turning the tide when we needed it and hanging in….might rewatch it for some inspiration actually.

        However although its 6 years it’ll be nearly double figures losses in a row now I reckon with multiple playing of them in recent years.

        This is a huge chance and really pretty imperative for our belief for the next few years…we have just about taken any other mental block away over last 3 years…

        We can’t really afford a bad start I don’t think and we need to be mindful that we do get back into the red zone so we can afford to choose 3 points instead of corner…not everytime but choose the right time unlike again France…

        A crafty line out from 5 out would help too.

        I’m more than hopeful

      2. Yes I think so to…it worries me that these losses start to build a mental wall and , stating the obvious, really to have any real chance of seriously challenging for trophies you have to beat the best teams..and Ireland certainly are the team to beat in the 6N.
        It’s especially tough because our players keep experiencing defeats to Leinster who are virtually unstoppable at club level….Ireland are basically Leinster with a scattering of provincials. All their test players are wrapped in cotton wool …whereas some of ours are and some are not. I think their continuity is making them the team they are…not so much the quality of their rugby, which doesn’t seem that remarkable to me. They have become excellent at what they do….they strangle the difference makers out of the game and grind the opposition down.
        I don’t fancy our chances…I want to ..but just don’t. Imo…there isn’t much evidence that we have found a way around and/or through the play style and tactics of an Ireland or SA.
        It’ll take a performance level combined with mental agility not seen yet by Scotland to win that one…I don’t think just a good performance is enough…the psychology of winning is far greater.
        I hope we do something special…

      3. I was lucky enough to be there in 2017. Murrayfield absolutely packed with Ireland fans fully expecting us to be the first leg of their presumptuously awaited Grand Slam.
        Cracking Test match. IIRC the late turning point was, at 21-22 down, Barclay stole a ball from an Ireland attacking 5m line-out. From there we went back up the pitch and battered them for the last ten minutes.
        Ireland and their fans won’t be underestimating us this time round.

  4. Edinburgh have 3 games left for a total of 15 points to collect.

    Drop off between 1st and 2nd choice players is huge, having everyone back will make a big difference.

    Boffelli – Graham – Bennett – Lang – Van Der Merwe – Savala – Vellacott – Mata – Crosbie – Ritchie – Gilchrist – Skinner – Nel – McInally – Schoeman

    Immelman – Kinghorn – Pyrgos – Watson – Sykes – De Bruin – Cherry – Venter

    Competition and their fixtures for top 7/8

    Sharks (7th/41): Scarlets (A), Benetton (H), Munster (H)
    Connacht(8th/39):Edinburgh (H), Cardiff (H), Glasgow (A)
    Benetton (9th/38): Lions (H), Sharks (A), Stormers (A).
    Cardiff (10th/34): Zebre (A), Connacht (A), Ospreys (A)
    Lions (11th/33): Benetton (A), Leinster (H), Zebre (H)
    Edinburgh(12th/32): Connacht (A), Ospreys (H), Ulster (A)
    Ospreys (13th/30): Dragons(H), Edinburgh (A), Cardiff (H)
    Scarlets (14th/29): Sharks (H), Glasgow (A), Dragons (A)

    Predicting finishes.

    Sharks: 41 6 = 47 (7th)
    Connacht: 39 4 = 43 (9th)
    Benetton: 38 5 = 43 (10th)
    Cardiff: 34 7 = 41 (11th)
    Lions:33 6 = 39 (12th)
    Edinburgh: 32 14 = 46 (8th)
    Ospreys: 30 9 = (14th)
    Scarlets: 29 10 = 39 (13th)

    Clearly a bit of bias but Edinburgh have a decent chance.

    1. I hope you’re right Neil but I’m afraid my prediction would be for three straight losses to finish the URC campaign.

      Other than the wingers, we had what you would describe as our first choice backline last night and Leinster were almost walking through it to score tries at will. Where on earth does your optimism come from?

      I see no possibility of winning the Ulster game and a pretty slim chance away to Connacht.

      Ospreys at home does offer a chance but, of late, they have been improving and we have been deteriorating.

      But, should you be right, we’d be away at Leinster in the playoff QF. That’ll be fun for someone I suppose.

  5. Looks like Russell may have been injured for Racing last night. Played whole game but kicking went erratic towards end after leg got heavy strapping. Apparently Racing boss gave interview post game saying he has had a hamstring tear. Nervous wait for injury update now.

    In one fell swoop we may have lost our triple crown chance, the 6N the tie of the weekend and there marketing dept the most box office player in the championship.

    For the love of god, why can’t the ‘rest’ weeks be designated release dates for INT???

    1. Crikey!….well that’s a wrap then if accurate.

      Combined with Rugby board deciding to disclose the Gilchrist hearing outcome now when it was held last Tuesday. The French players ban announced almost immediately.

      For me Id keep Kinghorn on bench and play Healy next up. Lack of experience at test level sure…but a natural 10 and quality kicker. Kinghorn covers more.

      1. Ireland wrap all their top players in cotton wool …arguably our best fly half in several generations risks severe injury playing club footy in the middle of our most relevant tournament. Sigh!

    2. ‘all unions are equal but some are more equal than others’. France England Ireland can afford to protect their home players while we cannot. Its unlikely they would give up this competitive advantage.

      1. I think you’ll find that England are getting into a similar position. The reduced salary cap in the Premiership means more of their players will be tempted to play in France.
        We protect/manage our players who play in Scotland. Obviously that’s not everyone but it’s a fair few. We’re still in a better state than Wales (or Italy).

      2. Merlot…indeed interesting how the fallout of Saracens cheatings seems to have impacted all of England rugby. Tighter belts all round.

  6. The Offside Line have Darge and Cummings added to the squad with Russell rumoured to have been fully involved in training. Fingers crossed he is ok!

    1. Yeah hopefully it’s nothing restricting. We’ll need him 100% to have a chance.
      Glad to see Cummings Darge and McDowell back in….they could all offer something fresh to the 23.
      Not sure if Darge is quite ready for this one …but Cummings and McDowell are in good form.

      1. McDowall has never been capped…bit of a jump to put him for this one with Harris and others around

    2. Darge, Cummings, Berghan and McDowall have been added to the squad – Gilchrist and Bayliss have been released to their clubs. So Finn is in and Neil is talking…

  7. I’d assume Darge, Berghan and McDowall won’t make the 23, Cummings could well start or at least be in the 23 (if GT goes 6-2 split on bench)

  8. For me, Finn starts if 100% or does not feature at all…Irish tackles do somehow seem to cause leg injuries to our better players. Looks like Italy will not be a walk over either. It might be best to keep the powder dry.

    1. If Italy can get a win against Wales, highly possible given the mess, they will come to Murrayfield on the back of a win, with optimism. It would be better if Scotland entered that game with the momentum of a win over Ireland. I am not saying we will lose, but Italy will take their chances, they are getting better as the tournament goes on. If it gets niggly with no chance to get into our stride, could be squeaky bum time.

      1. We shouldn’t underestimate Italy I agree, but not sure if they’re really getting better. They’ve been fairly dangerous at home and we’re very poor away at Twickenham. Think they’ll be strong in Rome against Wales again but we should be able to beat them at Murrayfield without too much drama (I hope).

        Ange Capuozzo is a big loss for them as he is their star player really. Though having Garbisi back should elevate their decision making and execution from Allan, who just isn’t good enough to play the game they want to.

  9. For me Cummings starts with R Gray …he has looked a much improved lock this last year…and has proven he is over his injury and in good form.Cummings is about the only dynamic 2nd row we have. J Gray OR Skinner on the bench…crikey Id rather Henderson gets a debut bench spot over J Gray… but obviously not likely.
    Harris, as experienced as he is, has dropped off a bit this year…I think McDowell is a fair bench shout considering how he is playing ,captaining Glasgow…and can play 12 or 13
    It’ll be interesting if we continue a 6-2 split ..or revert back to 5-3.
    Just for goodness sake Horne ahead of Price please!

    Whoever gets into the 23 ….we need a far, far better performance than last year…to have a chance of winning the match. I hope we finally have realized that we can’t just play ‘nice’ rugby against Ireland or SA we really have to mix it with them and have our own tricks up the sleeve to be in it.

    1. Jonny Gray was good off the bench against France. He’s not dynamic but he puts in grunt and that was invaluable with 14 men.
      I’d keep him as a replacement and bring in Cummings to start. Cummings and Richie play with Turner at club level and have a nice balance. Ireland (and particularly POM) are menaces at the lineout so will have to on their A-game.

      McDowall – I’d rather Redpath gets the bench spot. It’s looking likely he’ll be going to the World Cup as 2nd choice 12 (if fit) so needs as much international experience as possible. Toonie does love chopping and changing centres though so who knows.

      “Horne ahead of Price” (2). Not much more needs to be said. Surely this is the logical choice?

      Other than those 3, the only other change I’d make would be Cherry for Brown. Need a safe fallback option if Turner has a howler at the lineout and Brown ain’t the guy to provide that.

      1. Yeah id like to see Redpath play more…but every time I see him…I think he needs to bulk up..hes playing Rugby not football. McDowell looks more ready for test level physicality than Redpath to me …but he could use a bit more muscle too considering his frame. At any rate …Im not sure we need another centre with Steyn able to play there if needed. What we do need is a quality kicker on the bench if Russell goes down.

        I agree …Cherry in Brown out..he is an underrated player Cherry imo. Brown ..I just never know what he is going to do …throw a bad lineout..give away a needless penalty …hes a liability at times ..Cherry seems more solid all round to me.

      2. Tryhard: Ali Price deserves yet another chance , a last , last, last but one chance. He should be picked.

        Price has scored 4 tries in 59 caps, George Horne has only scored 6 tries in his 20 caps, but he gets on after Ali has softened their ribs. Ali’s kicks are straight into the opposition bread basket, 100% accuracy. What more do you want! We dont have a forward who can follow up and crush the catcher , that is not Ali’s fault.

        I think you are missing the obvious. Ireland are the world number one side. Price is the only 9 who will get Murray shaking in his boots.

        C’mon Scotland.

      3. Gray brothers to start, either Cummings or Skinner on bench, probably tempted to pick Cummings as generally more dynamic. I’d also prefer an alternative to Brown, Cherry is most likely but don’t understand why Ashman isn’t been given more opportunity. Looked good on his international debut and playing regularly for Sale near the top of the English Premiership, maybe his face just doesn’t fit.
        McDowall has been playing well and has a good boot and a number of other great qualities but one hell of a gamble to chuck him in vs Ireland. Redpath has a bit more experience so for me, just gets the nod. Harris is looking more and more like 4th/5th choice centre. Assuming of course that we have a 5-3 bench split. For Ireland, I can see the logic of 6-2 to keep the pack as fresh as possible and Kinghorn gives us the flexibility to do this.

      4. WS: I would not underestimate McDowall’s experience , he is leading Glasgow with a calm head , he has always looked comfortable since he first arrived and is used to playing Irish sides in the URC. I would be happy to See Stafford McDowall step up , If he gets a game , I can see him fitting in well , like he had always been there. Redpath does not have more experience IMO.

        Like you, I would be disappointed if Fraser Brown gets the bench place, there are alternatives.

        As an general comment when I watch the European competitions I am seeing many URC sides fronting up and beathing Premiership sides. I am no longer seeing such a difference.

        When will the side be announced ?

    2. I think (hope!) a lot of these decisions will be decided by the weather. It looks properly manky, which may suit Price better, and may also push us to a 6:2 split.

      One of Toonie’s biggest ever errors was the only game he ever lost to England in 2020, where he didn’t take the weather into account in his selection and then complained after the game about the rain. Hopefully someone’s installed the BBC weather app on his phone since then.

      1. Is wondering why the rain suits Price better ? If you read the nonsense about price in this blog, the only place for him is out of the rain in front of the telly. He should be the ‘spare’ 9 IMO.

      2. With weather possibly slowing the game down…you could also argue that Horne is a better option because of his pace and allusiveness as forwards struggle with mobility. Ive never been a fan of packing a team full of slow players just because the weather goes pear shaped….imo it is a waste of any inherent pace in the side. There is a plethora of footwear options to deal with conditions these days for pro players. If we slow our play down too much …we might as well just concede the match now. I think that would be in Irelands interest to slow it down considering their style of play. Our play style is not suited to just an arm wrestle.

      3. Irelands approach this year has very much been to keep ball in play time high and to move the ball rapidly from breakdowns.

        They are relentless but certainly not the grinding team under Schmidt.

      4. Yes I agree they play at a higher tempo than under Schmitt and they are dogged for the 80 mins. Still don’t watch them and think they are an especially creative side…but they play their kicking systems consistently accurately. Their club continuity is what shows through imo. They are the most consistent side around at the moment though and a tough side to come out with the W against.

  10. I can’t work out why Liam Williams hasn’t been sighted and suspended, for kicking George Horne in the head in Murrayfield.
    The commentator said it was by one of his own team but the replay clearly shows Williams kicking Horne in the head.

  11. Steve Diamond appointed Edinburgh Head coach. can’t say it gets the pulse racing. 8 years at Sale during which time their consistency in mediocrity was the only thing of note. and talk of bringing Ashman in. A great player but we have four hookers and greater need elsewhere.

    1. I suspect he will do well enough, they are heading for a dull year , he can only improve it. He does have availability going for him , probably his best ability at this time . He will want to improve his credibility and has a lot of experience to learn from. Give him a chance.

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