Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Six Nations 2024: Ireland v Scotland Discussion Post

© Scottish Rugby Blog


2024 Guinness Six NationsSat 16th Mar 2024Aviva Stadium, DublinKick-off: 4:45 pm (UK)17-13


Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU)| TV: ITV1/STV

Scotland play their final game of the tournament away in Dublin. Did Scotland manage to win a first Triple Crown since 1990? Where it all go wrong/right?

Give us your thoughts on the game.

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 Ireland game itself and not immediately posting your team for next year.

60 Responses

    1. 100% that. Just constantly pinging us for offenses that were only in his head. How did we not have a knock on advantage before Irelands 2nd half try? Thought we did well when it went to 16 v 14.

  1. that was a brave effort defensively, but didnt really offer enough in attack. We really showed some fight though

  2. Brave brave Scottish performance. Big turning point was after a fantastic touchline stand and breakout, you could feel the Irish nerves. Enter stage left Kinghorn, exactly the same as the last play last week when looking for a cool head,he throws the ball away,2 minutes later we have a man in the bin and Ireland have a try..

    1. Not sure on that how it wasn’t 1) knock on advantage, or 2) a penalty for offside from the knock on.

  3. The scoreline completely flattered us. Brave but utterly toothless. Im sure the try was the only time certainly in the second half we entered their 22. Game littered with mistakes again. Finn had a nightmare. Christie was outstanding but our glorious leader couldnt find a place for him previously in place of the utterly underwhelming Fagerson. Laughable. Can we please send that taxi which has been sitting at the rank for 4 and a half years for Townsend please.

    1. Spot on Tiger. SRU board are cowards and are ruining Scottish Rugby at all levels. Look at Ireland and New Zealand, countries of approx same population but far better schools and junior systems. To quote Will Carling ” the farts in blazers” are destroying Scottish rugby

      1. I heard we have less registered rugby players than Sri Lanka and Kenya, let alone Ireland, Wales or England. We do pretty well with what we have.
        Don’t think GT is the issue here – we just need more depth in tight 5.
        Let’s not forget all the year’s when we arm wrestled the wooden spoon….. that’s a Welsh pastime now :)

  4. Excellent effort today from the boys. Well done all round. Defence was outstanding – Steve Tandy take a bow. A lot of great individual performances – Christie, Stafford, Redpath, White, Cummings (a future vc) Kinghorn was good under high all, Dempsey, tbh we played as a team, and looked for maybe the first time like a really serious rugby side.
    The yellow finished us off (as it almost did Ireland…). Very fine margins, some frustrating errors, but it looked pretty slippy out there. Lot’s of ‘should have’s’ in this tournament (France, Italy, second half Wales) but overall I think the team look on the right track.
    Trophies will come…..
    Going forward – more depth in the tight five, a world class understudy at 10

    1. Need two good second rows with some skill and brains. Cummings and Gilchrist just don’t cut it for me

      1. Henderson, Samuel , Williamson….all look like having far higher ceilings as rugby players than Cummings or Gilchrist etc.

  5. When your captain finds it amusing to have kicked a restart straight into touch, with all the ramifications, it demonstrates the key problem for Scotland: a complete lack of leadership both on field from the captain(s) and overall from the clueless Clownsend.

  6. Blair Kinghorn needs to learn quickly you do not win tight test matches by trying 1 in 10 passes from a horizontal position. He cost us last week agsinst Italy in the final play and cost us again for Ireland’s second half try. His tackling is also suspect. He’s a great runner in open play but his game management is suspect. We do not need two Messis!!

  7. Honestly rubbish performance. Good defence but over all rubbish performance. Lucky to keep it to so little. We need a new coach, a new strategy to growing the game in Scotland. A new mentality from all involved, A loss should never be acceptable or commended. We also need a mental skills coach who actually lives in Scotland. We will be wooden spoon holders from now on unless things get fixed and soon.

  8. Can someone explain the knock-on law as Scotland were pulled up a few times today when, to me, the ball went backwards off the hand. Same thing in French game and ref called it that ball went backwards.

    1. I also thought there were a few times Ireland knocked on and a player in front of the knock on played the ball. I thought that was an offside penalty but didn’t seem the be reffed like that.

    2. I felt that with the Skinner knock on that ended game last week…I’m confused

  9. at the end of the day, 2 wins out of 5 is below par – yes unlucky against France but nearly mucked up v Wales. We just dont seem to be able to get to that next level of really competing for the big prizes – we always seem to be in that plateau of being ok but not real winners

  10. Overview from on/behind the sofa on this 6N and also this blog.

    1 Complaints about Townsend on this blog are endlessly simplistic. We lose, it’s his fault, no gameplan, poor selection ie not “my favourites”. We win, it’s all about the players, nothing about how well they’re coached. These positions are counter-logical and self-defeating. Not one blog post complaining about Townsend has been posted these past four Calcutta Cups, nor, following a loss, has any abusive post about him ever suggested who actually should replace him and why, on what evidence. Give the guy a break, this isn’t football.

    2 Our nation’s lofty ambitions and sense of self-deserving placement are ill-founded. We’re a tiny country with miniature reserves battling way above our weight. Doing pretty well to be ranked 6th on WR table. With a similar population, Ireland show the way from the ground up. What could help make SRU learn?

    3 Things to hope for this year. (a) DVDM learns he’s not Dan Dare on Planet Ego and how to pass the ball to friends, (b) Someone gives George Turner a protractor and a slide rule before every line out, and (c) we hear a lot less about Russells’ mercurial talent and actually see some of it on the field.


    1. Do you think the win against England was down to how well we are coached? Or even how well we played?

      That was probably our worst performance of the tournament but, happily, England were even worse that day.

      Our tries came from two catastrophic England mistakes and a charged down Russell kick that bounced well for us (for once). We created virtually nothing else in that game.

      BTW, that was the conclusion I came to at the ground and, after watching it back on TV, I realised that I completely underestimated just how awful both teams were.

      Wins, however they come, generally make people happy though so lack of criticism is not inconsistent, it’s just human nature.

      You are entitled to believe that Townsend is a good coach but the (many and growing) criticisms of him here and elsewhere are not ‘simplistic’ they are considered and justified for the most part.

    2. In fact the only simplistic rationale is yours. In the first place the only opportunity people get to air their views is after a game however nobody is crying out for Townsends removal because of one bad game. For me personally i wanted him gone after the debacle that was Japan. Everything that was wrong was his responsibility and it was an absolute embarassment.Many people though have more patience and their discontent has grown over time with the continuing myriad of issues and inconsistent selections and performances. Notwithstanding all of that I am at a total loss to understand how people like you can still back him after 7 years of achieving nothing. What do you expect to magically change or dont you have any aspirations for success. Just happy to be at the big boys table. Arent you even the least bit curious to know if we could achieve more under a different coaching regime. I give you Italy as a case in point.

      1. Hear, hear….been banging the Townsend out drum for years for exactly this reason and how with the squad we’ve had during his time we haven’t pushed on at all or achieved anything.

        We are going to look back on this era as such a missed opportunity as my optimism going forwards is next to zero, looking at the U20’s results and how the game is not being developed or improved in any way for the future.

        At least when the Irish were going through their bad era they took a step back looked at the issues and dealt with them. The SRU have done neither, nor ever will.

        Depressing future ahead.

    3. With respect to yourself and Gregor Townsend, I’d just like to make the following point. When Gregor Townsend took over after Vern Cotter was ousted, the Scotland team had made real progress and were winning games consistently, despite having less depth and less ‘world class’ players. Scotland performed well at the world cup, beat the The Aussies in Australia and were a ball hair away from pulling off an incredible last minute win against the All Blacks (might have been Townsend in charge at this point but it was just after he took over). Since then we have witnessed some outstanding performances but ZERO, progress in terms of consistency. The team have the ability to play some really awesome rugby but lack discipline and tend to lose self belief and even basic skills in the face of the opposition finding some momentum. The second half drop off this campaign has been difficult to watch. They seem to do just enough in terms of performance to allow Townsend to continue

      1. Well they said they wanted to entertain us.They did didn’t they?Speedy Gonzales on one wing,Johnny Bravo on the other,all the characters were in place..Who can score the most?Thrillng wasn’t it?Everybody loved it.
        But it was light need for lies,twists or deception.That’s been our downfall..we become predictable.Since it’s a game were playing and stuff to win it wasn’t a sustainable game plan.
        We’re still blindly trying to get Johnny and Speedy(haste ye back)in the act.
        New director new script some jiggery-pokkery..there’s time yet.

      2. Cotter took us to within a Craig Joubert of an RWC semi-final, one that we would have had a very real chance of winning. By way of comparison, Townsend has taken us to successive group stage exits.

        Cotter did so without having the same calibre as players as Townsend – no Jones, Graham or Duhan, to name but three. Moreover, he’s also had the services of Finn and Hogg at their respective peaks. Cotter was not afforded that privilege.

        Townsend’s successes against England (which, not being a hypocrite, I’ll gladly admit to having enjoyed) are really all that he can boast of in terms of success. Aside from the RWC debacles, his Scotland XVs haven’t progressed beyond the dizzy heights of third place in the 6N table, his squad selections have often been the cause of much head-scratching, and we mustn’t forget Finngate and Boozegate. To cap it all, his oft-repeated mantra about ‘learning from this’ hasn’t been backed by results.

        Like everyone else who supports Scotland, I wanted Townsend to succeed. It’s been obvious for some years, however, that he’s not the man for the job. He’s had his chance and then some. It’s time for him – and Scotland – to move on.

  11. Irelands First try. Why throw to the back of a shortened line ? Defending your line , you go to the front or shorten and go well over to allow your defenders to take it. It is one of those things you learn early.

    Shoolboy howler in my opinion, and all tournament we have made similar errors of judgement WRT Line outs. Who is calling these plays !

    We are not great on execution , so why compound it with poor savvy.

  12. A lot of good rugby out there today – Jones , Christie, Dempsey, Stafford ,Steyn. It feels like we have learned much, but the table is a disapointment.

  13. Ultimately a real disappointment 4th 2 wins in poor and unacceptable.
    Difficult to really come to any overall conclusion pertaining to this 6N but…….
    In Wales a brilliant 1st ½ and a lamentable 2nd.
    A funny game v England- 3 highlight reel tries for big Duhan from 2 errors 1 lucky bounce- but pretty even game.
    The worst French team in a generation came to Edinburgh and left with a win, really really poor game management
    Italy was simply poor – selection tactics and performance.
    Ireland was our most disciplined performance, however a poor decision to go long at line-out at our line cost us dear
    GT has to go, simple as that, I’d like to see what a good coach could do with this team.
    Christie is a real find, looks sensational.
    Captain situation still not sorted. For me appoint Crosbie.
    We miss Tuipulotu badly.
    Desperately disappointing

  14. Overall a very poor and disappointing campaign.

    The comments from GT following yesterday’s match are the most disappointing aspect for me & highlight why we must change coach to have a chance of improving.

    The summer “test” schedule is, to be honest, a joke & has this easy set of matches been chosen to provide easy wins to ease the pressure on the SRU’s chosen son and allow for sound bites of progress, learning blah blah.

    Two very poor World Cup campaigns and multiple poor finishes in the 6 nations gazump the records that have been made during GT’s reign. It says it all that he repeatedly references those achievements as if to justify the failings but really to try to mask those failings with perceived progress when ultimately we have won nothing or even came close to finishing 2nd in the 6 nations.

    Outstanding individual players and moments are what’s given GT his opportunity for breaking these records, something previous coaches didn’t have the luxury of.

    He absolutely has got to be replaced, the vast majority of the fan base are sick of the present situation and are losing hope, interest & faith in the national team as we continue to tread water with a tidal wave of key player retrials just a couple of years away…

  15. In Ireland 2nd try did the Irish block/take out the Scottish defence after passing the ball backwards to Porter?

  16. That’s the thing though, it’s always the ref’s fault? Focus on some smaller detail where we may have had a marginal call go against us but neglect to mention the fortune we had when Furlong’s score was disallowed.

    I am extremely frustrated. We didn’t play to win yesterday, we played not to get thumped. It’s a damming indictment of where we are. If we had played with a whiff of attacking endeavour there is a good chance we win the game.

    The reality is, this is as good as it gets for Scottish rugby. I’d rather we at least tried to play to win the Triple Crown yesterday. 50-0 or a 4 point loss, it’s irrelevant really. We still lost.

    Hoping Warriors can save some face for Scottish rugby this season.

  17. First things first: Ireland are much better than us and deserved their victory. I thought we were in charge for around 30 mins, but couldn’t lay a glove on them after half time. Not for the first time this tournament, we proved we couldn’t play a decent second half.

    A couple of quick reflections on the game. We defended brilliantly but attacked poorly once again. Russell had his worst game in a long time and nothing really fired from there, despite Jones’ best efforts. Duran and Steyn were rarely seen in attack and Kinghorn looked like a guy just back from injury. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, but he’s had a poor couple of games. How important is Tuipulotu? Absolutely vital given how we look when he’s absent. We also got pushed around in the scrums and some characteristic shonkiness in the line out cost us dear.

    On the tournament as a whole. Two captains is nonsense. It’s Russell’s team now and he should be given the job full time. I know there’s a lot of fans that see captains only as heroic back row spartans or ogres from the second row, but I can’t think of many guaranteed a starting spot. It took too long to bring in Andy Christie. Fagerson has been good for us in the past but we have to reward form. The second row is a problem. We somehow have neither the grunt, nor the work rate, nor the line out expertise of other countries. Our front row can be up or down depending on the ref (and throwing accuracy), but certainly lacks depth. We lack athleticism and dynamism in the carry, our attack lacks shape and coherence and we remain a disciplinary liability – whether overall or in critical momentum shifting moments.

    Overall, can’t help but feel our trajectory is downwards. A refereeing error against France will paper over the cracks, because we haven’t played well beyond a few 20-30 minute periods. The coach has to take the blame for many of these failings. Yes, we’ve punched above our weight for a few years but something needs to be done to arrest the slump. Or we’re heading to the bad old days again and an arm wrestle with Wales for the wooden spoon.

  18. in my opinion Scotland never actually lost a game it was more like they threw the games away with the amount of penalties they occured . i would not expect a teamof professionals to incur as many penalties

  19. The problem is bigger than Toonie; bigger than the current squad. It goes right to the heart of Scottish Rugby.
    I reckon that 7 of the starting 15 players and 11 of the 23 man squad for Saturday’s match v Ireland did not learn to play rugby in Scotland.
    Scotland have benefitted massively from the Springboks quota system which has encouraged players like Kyle Steyn, Huw Jones, Duhan Van Der Merwe, Pierre Schoeman to research their ancestory and discover that they have a Scots grandparent. We have two Australians, an Englishman who qualifies for Wales as well as Scotland. Others were born in England, Wales Ireland, and France, but qualify for Scotland through parents or grandparents.
    Where would Scotland Rugby be without them? Permanent wooden spoon contenders?
    Scotland Rugby needs a better grass roots system, where talent is recognised at school level and nourished, and developed in conjuction with schoolwork, like the Irish now do.

    1. For the record , Huw Jones was born in Scotland. I am not saying you dont have a point, you do but just saying ,he is actually a scot by birth. To add to your comment , If this team could do something that inspired youngsters to get into the game it might make a difference.

    2. Steyn’s Mum is Scottish. Huw Jones was born in Edinburgh. DVDM and Schoeman are both qualified for Scotland on residency grounds. Development is a big issue but you need to get your facts straight otherwise you lose credibility immediately. Ireland’s POTM on Saturday is Irish qualified through residency.

  20. All these complaints that Scotland haven’t won anything under Townsend applies to every Scottish coach for the past 25 years. We haven’t won any tournament since the final Five Nations in 1999, no Grand Slam since David Sole walked the team out in 1990, and before that go back 40 years to 1984. Before that? Go sixty years to 1964, when we shared the 5N with Wales. Before that? 1938.

    Are you suggesting Townsend is the reason for a sudden interruption in a stream of national success?

    It speaks of a perverted notion of entitlement and self-aggrandisement to imagine that Scotland are anything other than a minor rugby nation. It also speaks of our native predisposition to complain without offering a single articulated alternative to the current coaching status quo.

    We lose matches because we’re a wee nation with a smug rugby infrastructure that fails to sow and nurture talent from the ground up. Just look at the U20 6N Table this year. Five losses, one pathetic bonus point. Fifth-placed Wales with all their troubles managed 10 points to our one. Is that down to coaching too?

    We lose matches on the pitch. Yes, when TMO Brian MacNeice reverses his courage, like Joubert lost his and scurried like a rat. But it’s the players out there who lose games. I love Schoeman, but he lost us the BP try with his idiotic taking a man out. I love DVDM but he’s got Dan Dare in his hair and his head and never passes when he needs to. I love Russell, but yesterday again he booted possession away endlessly when what was needed was possession to start an attack. Mercurial? It’s a media fantasy. He’s hovered on average this whole 6N. I have no idea why Turner is selected, his lineout work has been rubbish for years. These guys are seasoned professionals and are just not good enough. They don’t need “coaching”, they need hands-on skills improvement or replacement.

    Bear-baiting Townsend gains nothing. He’s SRU’s sherbet fountain. We can only hope he talks tougher in the training rooms beyond the mealy clichés he, like every other coach on the planet apart from Rassie, feeds the media.

  21. Yet another frustrating 6N campaign for us long-suffering Scotland fans. The annual would’ve, should’ve and could’ve combinations.
    Should’ve got a try bonus point win against a poor Wales team.
    Would’ve beaten France but for poor game management when in command pretty much throughout, leaving aside the try that wasn’t given.
    Actually could’ve beaten Ireland if we’d carried that first half into the second half.
    Simply don’t understand why as 6th/7th rated in World Rugby rankings we’re going to the Americas for a summer tour. Great for the hosts, but it does nothing for us.

    1. I am less bothererd who they play, they just need to work as a team. Yes, it would be better if the tour faced some tier 1’s , for example the Pumas , but it does not !

      We have just been beaten by Italy, it will do us no harm to respect the opposition. We have lost to the USA before.

      This 6N we showed up against teams higher than us in the rankings but blew it against Wales and Italy.

      However it is pointless , IMO , if we ‘rest’ players in the summer. For me we have experimented enough , let them work as a team without the pressure of big tests. I can see that logic.

  22. Roll on 12months and we will have the same problems as this year. The other nations will all progress by looking at their game tactics / performance and carry out corrrective actions.

    At times yesterday we had opportunities to put pressure on Ireland but selected the wrong option , when you are playing the first class sides you need to take the right option and every player needs to know what is required.

    I worry how we can progress with GT at the helm , especially when new tactics are adopted by other teams.

  23. Well it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.

    Phenomenal effort put in across the squad, but, that level of effort and the sheer number of tackles required is unsustainable, eventually something will give and it did. Don’t forget Ireland actually got over the line another twice but good fortune and some deft skill resulted in them being held up.

    We cant keep losing penalty counts so heavily and expect to win games, 13 – 4 I think it was, can say what you like about the ref but we have done it too often through the tournament, just this period of the game where we repeatedly infringe and thats where the game gets lost.

    Andy Christie, take a bow, what a machine, 28 tackles in a game and supposedly only 1 missed is properly mental.

    We have often been blown away by the power of teams like Ireland and South Africa, it didn’t really happen at the weekend, only for that period around Irelands second try we were going backwards at a fair rate of knots, I’m sure that was entirely down fatigue at that point (see point 1). Then we perked up a bit for the last 10, not sure if it was just Ireland taking their foot off a bit or just that we actually chose to / managed to keep the ball for any appreciable length of time. The rest of the time I think the breakdowns were fairly well contested, we weren’t committing too many players but were successfully slowing down their ball and managing to get fairly quick ball ourselves. Maybe it was straying into illegal and thats where all the penalties came from, I don’t know, we seem to have this awful habit of giving away a shed load of penalties in the second half, panicking, and giving away even more.

    Wasn’t Finn Russell’s finest game, kicking and passing were a bit off. There was a clear game plan and they stuck to it, I don’t think it was necessarily a bad plan, at least we had one this time whereas in recent years against Ireland we have just looked clueless, but as I said at the start, we can’t physically cope with the defensive demand that that puts on the team, its too sapping, I don’t think its a conditioning thing, any team would be the same.

    Thought Kinghorn had a better game, was generally good under the high ball. I think the conclusion from this 6N is Tuipolotu is a very key element in how our attack works and we suffered without him. That’s not to say Redpath and McDowall aren’t as good because they are good players but they are just different.

    All in all, a real lost opportunity this 6N (how many times have we said that). Everyone beating everyone means a GS isn’t required to win, it was really the bottling it against Italy that disappoints me. Is a bit odd though, by my calculations (which are quite possibly wrong) even if we did officially beat France and beat Italy, we would still have had to beat Ireland to win the tournament

  24. I assume the summer tour schedule is because SA, NZ, Oz don’t want us; Scotland don’t draw big enough crowds and matches against Ire, Eng, Fr, even Wales are more attractive to the TV companies.

  25. Scotland aren’t one of the top tier one teams, and never will be. We are a team that punches well above it’s weight on occasion and manages to get some good wins.
    Had we not been denied the four points against France we would have ended up second. Would we still be decrying all and sundry, I doubt it, because it would have been our best ever finish.
    However, that still doesn’t mean we played well, because we didn’t. Good teams would have finished Wales and Italy off, we didn’t and it has been an issue for Scottish teams for a wee while now.
    More worrying is why have Scotland started kicking the ball away to the opposition? We used to be renowned for our counter attacking capabilities, now we play kick tennis or we kick aimlessly.
    Keep the ball in hand, kick for territory and chase up the Garry Owens, that is what we are relatively good at.
    I agree with a comment above about Blair Kinghorn, I have sent many a letter to the SRU asking what they see that I don’t. If you can get him in open field and kicking on, then and only then is he of any use. He hides in big games, and has never learnt that his miracle off loads cost us dearly. Let’s get Ollie and Harry revved up and in at full back at least they want to have a go.
    Lastly, this continual moaning about where some of the Scots players are born is a nonsense. For example if you have a piglet born in a stye, it’s a piglet. If you have a piglet born in a stable it doesn’t suddenly become a horse, therefore to me it’s more important about your families heritage than it is about where the mother’s gave birth to them.
    Really lastly, I feel like what seems to be what the majority of others think in regards to GT. He has had his opportunity to show what he can do with a really good crop of Scottish players, let’s scour the world and find the messiah (not Messi), and see what a different classy coach can do with them. if we get the right one, this team will produce the goods and soon.

  26. Agree 100% Stripe,

    1 further point Cotter took over a struggling Scotland previously managed by Hadden
    Townsend took over a resurgent Scotland

  27. I worry about next year. I would go as far as to say glad we have Wales and Italy at home, not that either, specifically Italy, are whipping boys.

    Interesting observations from Warburton, personally i do not believe he is inherently anti -Scottish, echoed to a degree by Monya. The narrative is building around this team.

    Players are grown adults and it is certainly not all down to Townsend, but what a lack of respect and disregard for simple standards.

    I honestly believe the set up is far too cosy. I wonder what someone like the Italian manager would achieve with this group. At the very, very, least help with discipline and behaviour and this might transfer to the decisions on the pitch!

    1. That comment from SW said it was after Scotland had beaten a “reasonable Welsh team” which suggests it was more likely the previous win…

  28. Interesting comment by Tommy Bowe, I do think we look to Finn to produce magic far too much.
    That’s why i advocated a proper kicking option at 15

    Former Ireland winger Tommy Bowe, perhaps playing devil’s advocate, suggested a more pragmatic 10 might be the answer.

    “I am a massive fan of Russell,” he said “He’s a maverick, he’s exciting, he gets the crowd on their feet, but is he what Scotland need at the minute?

    “You think of Ben Healy, who’s come over from Munster – he hasn’t got many opportunities, but he’s a player who will put the ball in behind the opposition.

    “He’s not going to pull a rabbit out of a hat like Russell does, but Russell has had so many chances in so many Six Nations and it hasn’t quite worked.

    “We shouldn’t be putting Scotland’s results just on the 10, but that’s the key playmaker in every team.

    “You think of Dan Bigger with Wales, Johnny Sexton with Ireland, Owen Farrell with England – these guys aren’t mavericks, they don’t play on the line like Russell does, but they win championships.

    “Maybe having someone who plays the percentages might be the difference to this team. Your job as a 10 is to make those around you look good.”

  29. Know it isn’t correct section but just heard the WP Nel is to retire this summer. Thanks WP for your time in a Scotland shirt

  30. The biggest problem is our tendency to give away stupid penalties, exasperatingly sometimes two or three in a row. That’s not a coaching problem – or if it is, it’s not something Gregor can sort out. And it’s not refereeing. These things tend to even out over the championship if not over a game.
    I can count at least a handful of times where a sub has come on and almost immediately give away a penalty (it was Skinner vs Ireland). Obviously coming off the bench you want to make an immediate impact, but these are professionals and shouldn’t need telling “keep calm, get the basics right, give yourself a minute to get into the game”.
    Our discipline cost us a 2nd place and, arguably, a triple crown.

    On another point we don’t have strength in depth. Missing Tuipolotu, Gray (arguably both of them), Graham means we are missing leaders, experience and x-factor. I’m not saying Redpath, Cummings, Gilchrist, Steyn and are not decent replacements, but it does mean our bench is sometimes missing international class players.

    Both points seem to give GT a get-out clause, but it’s his responsibility to ensure a) an ethos of discipline; b) subs are ready when they go on and c) replacements are adequately experienced and “in the system”. Despite having no idea who would replace him (Smith?) surely this Summer tour would be the perfect time for whoever to start.

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