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France v Scotland: Summer Nations Series 2023, Match Preview pt II – head to heads

Ali Price - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Sports
Ali Price - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Sports

There are 5 changes to the starting XV compared to Scotland’s Six Nations encounter with France in Paris earlier this year. Blair Kinghorn, Ali Price, WP Nel and Jack Dempsey step up from bench duties in February, replacing Stuart Hogg (retired), Ben White (injured), Zander Fagerson (suspended) and Matt Fagerson (rested?) respectively. Rory Darge is the only starter to come from outwith the Six Nations’ matchday 23 as he takes the number 7 shirt from Hamish Watson.

France also have 10 of the players who started in Paris in their XV for this game, although they have an entirely different bench, featuring 5 of the starting side who were edged out in last week’s warm-up fixture. The starting lineup changes in the backs see first choice players returning (Jonathan Danty and Gabin Villiere) while the alterations in the forwards skew more toward experimentation and covering for injuries (Dorian Aldegheri, Cameron Woki and Paul Boudehent).

6 Scotland changes from last Test (v France)

  • 14 – Steyn for Graham
  • 9 – Price for White
  • 2 – Turner for Ashman
  • 3 – Nel for Z. Fagerson
  • 6 – Ritchie for M. Fagerson
  • 7 – Darge for Watson


BACK 3 – ADVANTAGE FRANCE

Thomas Ramos
Damien Penaud
Gabin Villiere

15
14
11

Blair Kinghorn
Kyle Steyn
Duhan van der Merwe

36  Tries  36
92kg  Average weight  
101kg
79  Total caps  
85
5  RWC matches  2
27.5  Average age  28.1

1st time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other back 3 players in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
Darcy Graham – who is safely on the plane to return to France in a few weeks’ time!

This is a high quality group of players with every one of them boasting impressive strike rates. Who is statistically the best though? Well, here are the number of minutes on average between Test match tries plus the total tries scored for all six:

  1. Penaud – try every 116 minutes (26 tries in total)
  2. Steyn – 124 mins (6)
  3. van der Merwe – 133 mins (17)
  4. Villiere – 163 mins (6)
  5. Kinghorn – 192 mins (13)
  6. Ramos – 283 mins (4)

The missing Darcy Graham has notched 19 tries so far in his Scotland career at an average of one for every 122 minutes played.


CENTRES – EVEN

Gael Fickou
Jonathan Danty

13
12

Huw Jones
Sione Tuipulotu

17  Tries  18
103kg  Average weight  
102kg
99  Total caps  
54
5  RWC matches  0
30.1  Average age  28.1

7th time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other centres in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
Chris Harris, Cameron Redpath. It seems probable that four centres will travel to the RWC so Harris and Redpath should make it, although if 6/2 benches are to be the norm for the big games, only two midfielders will make the matchday 23s.

Huwipulotu gets a third shot this year at tackling France after a tear-up in Paris and a quieter outing last week at Murrayfield (although one that brought the wide players onto the ball on plenty of occasions). Jonathan Danty will be a step up on Yoram Moefana, who played at inside centre in those last two meetings, while Gael Fickou is all class. A good defensive test then for Sione and Huw plus the chance in attack to try and outsmart one of the best defenders of the outside centre channel in world rugby.


HALF BACKS – ADVANTAGE FRANCE

Romain Ntamack
Antoine Dupont (c)

10
9

Finn Russell
Ali Price

18  Tries  12
85kg  Average weight  
89kg
83  Total caps  
132
7  RWC matches  8
25.5  Average age  30.6

26th time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other half backs in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
Jamie Dobie, Ben Healy, Ben White. There will be no South African style 4 scrum halves selection so unless White’s injury is worse than is being admitted, Dobie will almost certainly return to Glasgow Warriors. That at least will give him a chance to embed himself in his club side before George Horne and Ali Price return. Healy has already seen off Adam Hastings and booked his slot in the final squad.

The younger pairing of Romain Ntamack and Antoint Dupont have also started 26 Test matches together in the half backs for their country. The French duo have a further 48 starts together at 9 and 10 for Toulouse while the Prussell bromance was broken up at club level after 22 starts in combination for Glasgow Warriors.

These pairings have only gone directly head to head twice before with Russell and Price coming out on top in 2021 in Paris while Ntamack and Dupont had their revenge with a comfortable win at Murrayfield in 2022. Best out of 3 and this one is the decider then?


FRONT ROW – EVEN

Cyril Baille
Julien Marchand
Dorian Aldegheri

1
2
3

Pierre Schoeman
George Turner
WP Nel

343kg  Total weight  342kg
4  Tries  8
81  Total caps  
113
4  RWC matches  10
29.4  Average age  32.5

2nd time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other front rows in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
Ewan Ashman, Jamie Bhatti, David Cherry, Zander Fagerson, Murphy Walker. Logic would seem to suggest 6 props and 3 hookers travelling (although some other nations’ selections have gone against this conventional wisdom). Missing out on the last two weeks of action indicates Murphy Walker is most likely to be omitted. Prior to the Summer Nations Series the hooker Depth Chart might have been considered to be Turner – Ashman – Cherry – McInally but the performances of the latter two in the warm-ups just might have pushed them up the rankings.

Pierre Schoeman has started 20 out of 24 Tests since his international debut, appearing as a replacement in 3 other games and only missing the 23 for the first warm-up match against Italy two weeks ago. He has started Scotland’s last 4 fixtures against France where he has come up against 4 different tighthead props (Dorian Aldegheri, Demba Bamba, Mohamed Haouas and Uini Atonio) in an area where France still seem to be trying to lock in a first choice.


LOCKS – ADVANTAGE SCOTLAND

Cameron Woki
Thibaud Flament

4
5

Richie Gray
Grant Gilchrist

219kg  Total weight  244kg
6  Tries  4
36  Total caps  
137
0  RWC matches  15
25.5  Average age  33.5

9th time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other locks in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
None – it all seemed to be pretty much done and dusted for the big men in the second row from the point that Jonny Gray’s injury was announced.

It’s definitely an over simplification but this battle looks like both sides would benefit from swapping for one of the other team’s second rows. Scotland have two veteran heavyweights who can comfortably anchor the scrum at tighthead lock. Their hosts have two (relatively) lightweight athletes who can be flung up at lineout time and will be great in the loose but who might move the pile a bit less at rucks and won’t provide the same level of support to their props in the scrum.

Looking ahead, France will be hoping to be able to recall either Paul Willemse or Romain Taofifenua after injury to balance out their pairing. Scotland have a big decision to make as to whether to stick with their giant duo to counter Springbok power or to bring in Scott Cummings or Sam Skinner and try and beat South Africa to the punch by playing at a higher tempo and away from the collisions.


BACK ROW – ADVANTAGE FRANCE

Paul Boudehent
Charles Ollivon
Gregory Alldritt

6
7
8

Jamie Ritchie (c)
Rory Darge
Jack Dempsey

336kg  Total weight  320kg
16  Tries  2
73  Total caps  
60
7  RWC matches  2
26.8  Average age  26.6

1st time this unit has started together for Scotland

Other back rows in the Scotland training squad not in this 23:
Luke Crosbie, Matt Fagerson, Hamish Watson. The presence of Josh Bayliss in this dry run of the 6 forwards, 2 backs split on the bench is maybe a hint that his flexibility to play across the back row, at lock and even in the backline might just win the race for the final back row slot. Crosbie would seem the most likely to drop out if that’s the case – the Edinburgh man would arguably be the unluckiest player of all involved in the training squad.

Rory Darge has never previously started a game in the same back row as Jamie Ritchie – and it is also the first time he’s started in the same Scotland back row as Jack Dempsey (although the Glasgow duo have 19 previous starts together at club level). It will be the fourth time Ritchie has started in the same back row as Dempsey.

This is the first Fagerson-less game for Scotland since the opening fixture of the 2019 World Cup. At least one of the brothers had been in the 23 for a run of 40 matches in a row up until this selection.


FORWARD REPLACEMENTS – EVEN

Pierre Bourgarit
Jean-Baptiste Gros
Uini Atonio
Florian Verhaeghe
Bastien Chalureau
Sekou Macalou

16
17
18

19
20
21

Stuart McInally
Rory Sutherland
Javan Sebastian

Scott Cummings
Sam Skinner
Josh Bayliss

117kg  Average weight  113kg
3  Tries  13
102  Total caps  
129
1  RWC matches  8
28.3  Average age  29.6

There are a few players – on both sides – who still have something to prove to seal their place in the final RWC squad. Stuart McInally, Javan Sebastian and Josh Bayliss in particular have seen their stock rise for Scotland over the last couple of weeks but still need strong performances on Saturday. Scott Cummings and Sam Skinner will have designs on a starting XV slot while Rory Sutherland needs to recover some of his pre-Lions’ form to to have any chance of moving ahead of Jamie Bhatti for the 17 shirt against South Africa.


BACK REPLACEMENTS – ADVANTAGE SCOTLAND

Maxime Lucu
Louis Bielle-Biarrey

22
23

George Horne
Ollie Smith

1  Tries  8
79kg  Average weight  
93kg
14  Total caps  
29
0  RWC matches  3
25.4  Average age  25.5

The supersub himself, George Horne, will no doubt relish any opportunity he gets but would probably have hoped for a start in one of Scotland’s warm-ups against a Tier 1 nation. He might need to be content with filling the 9 shirt against Georgia. If he does then that will be his first start at test level since the 2019 RWC pool match against Russia.


Miscellany

– This is the oldest starting XV (average age 29.7) named for any Scotland Test match during the Townsend era.

– Against France last time out, Scotland earned their 13th win against a side in the world’s top three since the official rankings were introduced in 2003. The Townsend era has provided 8 of these wins with Andy Robinson managing 3 and Frank Hadden 2.

– Gabin Villiere is nearly 3 years into his Test career but this will be the first time he has ever played against Scotland.

– Antoine Dupont started 26 times for France and Toulouse during the 2022/23 season, winning 24 of those games with his only defeats both coming in Dublin, against Ireland in the Six Nations and Leinster in the Champions Cup.


If you missed Part 1 of the preview – previous meetings, review of last week’s match and more – check it out here.

37 Responses

  1. These are always the best articles in any of the media before a game! Penaud’s scoring stats are insane.

    Guess it was always go hard or go home on this one. Personally think they should have adjusted to last week’s positive result, banked the win and left the first team at base camp. All the momentum needed is already there.

    But you can tell watching back the training videos and GT interviews, he was always thinking of this one as the dress rehearsal for the WC – environment, atmosphere and quality of opposition. Let’s hope Finn and RG don’t actually break a leg.

    The good news is this fits with being a rugby romantic, no such thing as a friendly etc. Maybe they chuck it about and stick it to the French in their own backyard! SCOOOTLAND

  2. Two very very good sides, if Graham was playing and Price found his form, Scotland might even have the edge.

    Maybe comes down to which team plays more fluently and imposes its game for longer. Half backs the key here? France are at home and have Dupont. Scotland have Russell, who is also at home…

  3. A fascinating match awaits, pretty much strongest Scotland team selected.
    Scotland shown they can match the very best but not for the full 80 mins, a good professional performance building towards the huge South Africa game is required.
    The squad announcement will be interesting too, I have long thought that Crosbie will be left at home

  4. Great article. Overall advantage France but I’m glad we’ve gone almost full team as it felt like we were a bit undercooked at the start of the last RWC leading to a poor performance and result against Ireland. Fingers crossed that everyone comes through unscathed. Really looking forward to this one as it could be a cracking match.

  5. England v Wales. Contender for the worst test match I’ve seen, certainly in a long time. Two terrible teams tractoring up and down the pitch. England down to 12 at one point. From a Scotland fan’s perspective it had everything you would want: (1) Farrell red-carded for a nasty shoulder charge to the head probable ban, and (2) Gatland back to his losing streak. Heady days indeed.

    1. Agreed – what a turgid game. England all bash, bluster and no creativity. Wales even worse.

  6. Happy enough with performance, despite the result.

    Key thing is you can’t take 5 minutes off.

    We need to come up with a solution to the line-out when Gray and Gilchrist go off. They lack height, can’t have that against SA and Ireland.

    Thought Nel showed up well.

    Team for WC as it stands.

    Kinghorn – Graham – Jones – Tuipolotu – Van Der Merwe – Russell – White – Dempsey – Darge – Ritchie – Gray – Gilchrist – Nel – Turner – Schoeman

    Steyn – Horne – Fagerson – Cummings – Skinner – Fagerson – Bhatti – McInally

    Redpath on Bench, With one of locks dropping if 5/3.

    1. Agree completely on needing that reliable solution once Gray is off, malfunctioned the moment he went. Useful lesson, seems it is still needed, that at the tightest moments at the end of a game when Gray is maybe not on the pitch, need to have the right simple answers.

      Really should have won that one, might have done with Nel or Fagerson still on. Probably would have with Darcy from the start to tip the balance.

      What a team this is though, as good as anyone. If they get it right they beat any of that top 4. Hopefully DVM is not hurt. What a midfield we have these days. Horne again when on. What more is there to say about Russell.

      1. Agreed with keep it simple at the end. Win that line out and see what happens.

        The more important lesson is you can’t switch off against top teams. What a dreadful 5 minutes after half time.

    2. There’s a case for Fagerson at 6 over Ritchie, with either Ritchie or Darge at 7. I couldn’t pick that back row apart from Dempsey.

      You’ve got to think that having Darge or Ritchie trotting on with Horne is one hell of an impact change.

  7. A few thoughts on another cracking Test match.

    To play with such speed and intensity in that heat is impressive and is very much to the credit of the fitness and conditioning team.

    The scrum did well in the second half, particularly after the replacements came on.

    Rambo looked lively. I’d like to see him make the 33 over Ashman.

    Dempsey and Darge both had good games.

    We need to wrap Richie Gray in cotton wool.

    George Horne turned in another terrific performance off the bench. He’s got to be in the 23 v South Africa

    Ali Price will be in the 33 but I’d rate him below White and Horne in the pecking order.

    Blair Kinghorn showed once more why his best position is at FB. He’s a real threat in broken play.

    Jamie Ritchie has matured as captain. He’s learned from his series of march-backs in the 6N.

    Finn is now much more obvious as an on-field leader.

    We’ve got a very useful group of outside backs – those who featured today plus Darcy, Redpath, and Harris.

    Work remains to be done on getting clean exits from restarts and on reducing the number of unforced errors. That said, Scotland aren’t far away from being a very good side indeed.

    1. I like Kinghorn going forward but I’m not sure about his defence. He was in no mans land for all 3 of their tries and Smith made an immediate impact in defence when he came on taking man and ball to stop them getting a fourth try.

      I’m not sure Tuipulotu is in the form he was in during the six nations. Hopefully he finds his spark soon.

      Horne continues to dazzle of the bench. That certainly wasnt Price’s best game.

      Steyn continues to keep getting better. Not sure if vd Merwe picked up an injury but might be good to see Steyn and Graham get a run out together at some point.

      Russell had another very decent game. That vision and decision making that resulted in Darge’s try was excellent.

      1. Feel that Kinghorn can be a bit greedy in attack and his timing of passes not always the best. Fully agree about his defence …. not too good.

  8. Love the fact that we never know when we are beaten. The togetherness of the team, the handling that is excellent under pressure. Some things to improve on, but it is never dull following this team. I would love to see Horne on earlier, thought Price played pretty well. Richie was sharp today, great on the deck and helps so much in the line out.

  9. How Russell did not get player of the match is bewildering. The French were on him all game long but still he took poor ball and moved it on positively. Creating the turnover from Antonio was sheer brilliance.
    Fantastic team performance against what must arguably be the French first team.
    With a different ref. We should have won.
    Only negative for me is that the Huwipulotu axis seems to have been worked out by the other teams. I would have liked to see more of Redpath as the Hui and Tui have failed to break the line in midfield.

    1. I thought the Huwipulotu shape was sharp and functioning. Certainly Tui was stepping up as first receiver and giving it to Russell, and Jones carved through beautifully on more than one occasion, they both must have made a bunch of metres. I don’t think it is something that gets worked out because it is heads up, play the field, rugby. Agree with you Russell should have had the man of the match all day long. Good to hear him talking to ref firmly too even if little traction today.

  10. Was a great match to get in before facing SA.
    Some loose errors gave the French a sniff that they were struggling to get early second half.

    G Horne is our best 9 by a country mile…. this super sub thing doesnt do him justice.
    Ollie Smiths last ditch tackle to prevent France from scoring a critical try showed why he should be in the 33 imo.
    Ritchie and that Ref seem to always have a terrible on field relationship.
    For me Darge is the stick on player in our back row…just a superb all around rugby player. No way should Ritchie or Watson take his 7 spot. 6 and 8 toss up between Ritchie, Dempsey and Fagerson.
    Kyle Steyn at the very least should be in the 23 if not starting.

    Hope DVDM is not seriously injured…and fit for SA.

    Our ability to find a way back into a game is becoming seriously impressive….and our backline is a huge threat to any team in world rugby…we have to fix some lineout and set piece issues still though so we aren’t just gifting momentum…just can’t do that against the top4 teams. At the very least we have shown we are the 5th best side out there. Fix some consistency issues and we’ll be a serious problem for SA and Ireland.

  11. You are right but the centre partnership created great clutter in the midfield to allow at times the wider channels to be threatened. An inside ball back in to the 12 channel to a winger or to Kinghorn would cause greater danger as the opposition are already expecting the ball to go wide. Sadly Duhan had a couple of mistakes. You can see how desperate he is but this soon turned in to over eagerness. His potential would be achieved by allowing his mind to re-focus and be patient as he is often given the opportunity to do damage.

  12. A thoroughly entertaining match, hard to be too disappointed about the result. You can’t switch off for 5 mins and ship two soft tries against a quality team and still expect to win so the fact we came within a couple of line out malfunctions of doing just that is testament to the resilience of the team.

    I think the match has actually made squad selection harder. Hopefully Sutherland is ok as I thought he had a decent showing. Rambo looked good, those two failed line outs in the last 5 mins blot his copy book but as ever it’s easy and often wrong to blame the hooker. I thought they were bad calls, why do we always go long on critical throws like that, the clocks red, just get the ball. The back row is a real conundrum, I thought Jamie Ritchie started the game really well but as he often does I thought he just annoyed the ref and that didn’t do us any favours. He’ll start though as he’s the captain. Jack Dempsey had another great game, Darge was great too. What do you do? It’s very harsh on Matt Fagerson who has himself been one of Scotlands best and most consistent performers since the last autumn. Do you bench Darge and have him coming on against tiring opposition? Either way I think it’s between those 4, as much as I love him I think Mish’s race is run so far as being in the 1st 15 / 23.

    Ali Price was looking sharper than he has done, unfortunate for the yellow card, it was a result of repeated team infringements and he got it. Horne looked good again, surely he has to start against Georgia? Russell was MOTM for me, wasn’t a vintage Russell performance but he was just very effective, and the defence and commitment he was putting in was incredible, a bit scary really.

    Huwipolotu was surely the find of the 6N, I didn’t think it really clicked last weekend and didn’t click for a lot of this match but there were glimmers, especially when we got on top in the second half. The wingers is an interesting one. Kyle Steyn I think has been one of Scotlands best performers over the last year, very consistent and rarely puts a foot wrong. If this was at any other time in Scotlands history he would be a shoe in for a starting slot, but he has Darcy Graham, currently one of the best wingers in the world, and Duhan to contend with so probably won’t start, mental. Didn’t think Kinghorn has his best game, not bad but a few poor decisions and mistakes, he’s still starting 15 for sure, Ollie Smith looked good though and that try saving tackle was a belter.

    Looked a very bruising encounter, certainly not a “friendly” so hopefully they have all came through relatively unscathed, including Ntamack, the World Cup needs him and DuPont lighting it up.

    1. Good observations there, 1.8.
      I agree that there’s plenty of work to do on the line-out after the first choice jumpers and throwers have been subbed.
      In what was reported to be very warm conditions, Scotland showed high levels of fitness and endurance and that was pleasing to watch.
      Four tries scored against a team that defends in a similar fashion to SA and Ireland also very encouraging.
      Clearly by no means a perfect performance but enough shown in the last two matches to give the Saffers and Ireland plenty to think about how they approach us in the group Tests.

      1. I think Steyn and Matt Fagerson and George Horne have been amongst Scotlands most consistent performers in the last year yet are likely to miss out on a start against South Africa.

  13. Think we can now do away with the Townsend hater comments for a while. Maybe realise that we actually have not a bad team who might do the unthinkable to them and get out of the world cups most difficult group ever
    Get behind your team ????

  14. Great game. Few takeaways:

    – Ritchie has to start with Darge; with a different ref we’re provided an invaluable amount of turnover ball. Given we can’t contain powerful teams forever in defence, we’re incredibly reliant on being able to win the breakdown. Toss up between Dempsey and Fagerson to start at 8. Would be very tough to drop Dempsey after recent performances but he provides more bench impact.

    – Ritchie’s maturing slowly into the captaincy but still veers too close to annoying the officials. People like AWJ were the same when made captain so hopefully it’s just a case of getting more experience in the role.

    – As others have said, the Huwipulotu axis has been quiet. I wonder if this is more to do with not wanting to run any particularly deceptive plays before the world cup? They seem to have just been operating the bare bones of the shape over the past couple of games.

    – If we’re doing a 6:2 bomb squad, surely it makes more sense to pair one of the younger dynamic locks (Cummings, Skinner) with an aging lineout guru (Gray, Gilchrist) ? The lineout losses at the end were troubling.

    – Smith validated a place on the bench. Looked busy and offered a useful boot which could be crucial if Duhan/Darcy/Blair aren’t getting their way ball in hand. I would have Horne, Redpath and him as 21/22/23 if we’re going for 3 back subs.

    1. Interesting point on Huwipilotu. Powder is definitely being kept dry there I’d say. The Huwipilotu shape is all about giving us more options that the defence can handle, and the last couple of games feel like they’ve been about highlighting the options we have in the outside backs.

      I thought Kinghorn’s running lines from full back were great, and a brilliant foil for our midfield moves once we put it all together. Hogg was (the past tense makes me sad) an equally devastating runner, but was all about stuttersteps and deception – he’d get past his man but there would be time for defenders inside to drift. Kinghorn just wants to go – you’ll get to him more often but he’ll carry you ten metres. So do you mark up Huwipilotu in the centre and leave space for Kinghorn to run into?

      I think ultimately we’ll be looking for space in the middle, but focussing on Kinghorn in the warm-ups (he’s carried more than any other back) gives the teams in our group a hell of a lot to think about.

      I also liked the variations on the Huwipilotu theme. The first try was a great example. The classic Huwipioltu shape is – straight from 9 to Tui, who can either crash it up, go out the back to Russell, or hit Jones on one of his magnificent lines. First try – maul near the line – is a perfect setup for this move. But instead, Tui goes out to the other side of the ruck – you can almost see the French defenders thinking “huh, this is new.” Price then goes direct to Jones, who then goes wide. Jones is the one in the midfield who never throws the wide pass (and given the state of the pass, you can see why) and France have just run out of defenders. They’ve cut out all the most likely options, but we have one more option than they can handle.

  15. I also think that Tui Jones were deliberately not showing all they could have … amongst a few others too. GT , I think , hinted at that post match saying there is much more to come from them. Which would be wise .. as why feed the analytics in advance if you don’t need to?!

  16. What a great game. Feared a drubbing after the 2 quick tries. Only a warm up for sure but well done lads. France were superb and so were we.
    That backline of ours is phenomenal.
    I still have trepidation in respect to the group we find ourselves in but am bolstered by the talent we have available. Couple of tweaks at SH and red zone line out calls we’ll be ready for it

    1. The whole 23 playing as a team has made such a difference. What has happened ? We just seem to be playing for each other and the self belief is evident.

  17. A few missed conversions was the difference. The French did not look happy at the end of the game. It is all looking very good and at the right time.

  18. Finally caught up after some expensive lagers at the Edinburgh Festival.

    It looks to me now that Scotland have evolved into a pretty formidable team, you have to give GT credit for this.

    Decision making can occasionally be suspect (like the lost line out into the 80th min – just go to 2 and build from there).
    R.Gray is absolutely crucial to our game.
    There is a comment above re BK being a better 15 after the BK10 project, this looks to be the case.
    Steyn is the new Maitland and should be used as 2nd choice 13 too, he’s simply excellent.
    Interesting conundrum in the back row, Dempsey Darge Ritchie Fagerson have all be top notch and whilst i really rate Crosbie , he hasn’t re-created his Edinburgh Excellence for Scotland (still think he needs 4 games to get his eye in) but 6ft 5 of hige physicality remains an option
    The world cup is simple, get parity in the forwards/nail the line outs scrum GET THE BALL TO FINN in a wee bit space.

  19. Also, Nel and Sebastian both did pretty well. If they’d started with Scotland earlier, it could have been a brilliant career.

  20. I see that OF has had his red card overturned (Telegraph today). WR have done their credibility no favours by his decision.

  21. What a surprise….. lol! Farrell’s red card has been overturned and he is free to play. Now, I didn’t expect that ????

  22. I don’t know what’s worse – Farrell’s tackling technique or the disciplinary panel’s decision.

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