A feast of tries, a record win and a solid performance from Scotland saw disaster averted against Italy. Brodie Smithers sums up the match from Murrayfield.
“I’m really looking forward to this game – I think it’s going to be very close and hard to predict. Argentina have played well in both their first two games, and it was very pleasing to show against Romania that there’s more to our game than power and a strong set-piece. We will need to play well in all these areas against Scotland, because they are tough up front and have a number of good strike runners behind the scrum. It should be a very absorbing game.”
With rugby, as with all competitive sport, you see players have to deal with setbacks. Sometimes these setbacks can define a player’s career. Sometimes, just sometimes though, a player can define his career by using those setbacks as opportunities.
The key is setting goals and being realistic about what you can, and importantly, need to achieve.
Just when I thought I had figured out the Axis of Anticipated that is Robinson and Townsend they go and mix things up! Here is the Scotland team to face the Italians at Murrayfield on Saturday, 5pm:
15 Rory Lamont (Toulon) 24 caps
14 Max Evans (Castres) 19 caps
13 Nick De Luca (Edinburgh) 25 caps
12 Graeme Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 29 caps
11 Simon Danielli (Ulster) 27 caps
10 Dan Parks (Cardiff Blues) 61 caps
9 Mike Blair (Edinburgh) VICE-CAPTAIN 71 caps
1 Alasdair Dickinson (Sale Sharks) 20 caps
2 Scott Lawson (Gloucester) 27 caps
3 Moray Low (Glasgow Warriors) 14 caps
4 Nathan Hines (Clermont Ferrand) 72 caps
5 Alastair Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) CAPTAIN 33 caps
6 Kelly Brown (Saracens) 45 caps
8 Richie Vernon (Sale Sharks) 11 caps
7 John Barclay (Glasgow Warriors) 28 caps
16 Dougie Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 35 caps
17 Euan Murray (Newcastle Falcons) 38 caps
18 Richie Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 11 caps
19 Ross Rennie (Edinburgh) 7 caps
20 Chris Cusiter (Glasgow Warriors) 52 caps
21 Ruaridh Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 7 caps
22 Nikki Walker (Ospreys) 23 caps
Despite the Scottish cessation of activity at the weekend there was still plenty of rugby being played. We saw Australia show how antiquated South Africa’s rugby may have become in just a few short years. We saw Wales expose England’s lack of skills throughout an entire XV. We saw the French recline and accept gifts from Ireland.
Watching these games will be invaluable to Scotland because they framed some obtrusive issues that many in sport -particularly in England- have danced around. These issues give us cause, not only to look at our future opponents, but to assess ourselves as well.
I don’t think I would like to play cards with Andy Robinson.
Sure, when we see the glass box on TV, filled with what looks like all the shiny-headed men in Scottish rugby, it always appears like Robinson is losing the plot. Probably about a breakdown.
At the moment I am beset on all sides with the reality, the spin coming out of Murrayfield and probably some early onset moaning from supposed experts. I have purposely not read any newspapers this morning, but I have watched the game again, re-read some stuff that went out live during the game and have endeavoured to see most of the official comments. So let’s look at the coverage of Scotland 10-6 Ireland.