Johnnie Beattie

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Post by Imperialbigdave on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 12:35 pm

http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby/top-rugby-stories/rugby-interview-johnnie-beattie-1-2682451

By IAIN MORRISON
Published on Sunday 9 December 2012 00:00

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button told the story of a man who lived his life backwards, being born an old man before dying many years later as a newborn baby. Johnnie Beattie is doing something similar with his rugby career.

The explosive No.8 was capped for Scotland by Frank Hadden at the tender age of 20, almost before he’d played for Glasgow, dropped from the national squad at 25, when most breakaways are making their breakthrough, and now, just turned 27, he is making a name for himself in the club ranks with Montpellier. Perhaps when he peaks in a couple of years time, Glasgow Accies will give him a call.

Coaches spin the line that players turn professional and start improving until, eventually, their bodies give up and they retire. The reality is a lot more muddy, with a hundred and one issues pushing and pulling performance one way or the other. Just two and a half years ago, Beattie was the brightest star in Scottish rugby after a performance against Ireland in Dublin that comprehensively outshone the Lions No.8 Jamie Heaslip, capped by an explosive 30-metre try.

That remains the high tide mark of his career, at least to date. In the summer that followed, Beattie helped Scotland to a series win in Argentina but, later in the year, a second operation on a troublesome shoulder sidelined him for six months. He missed the start of the 2011 Six Nations then made a rushed return against Ireland but looked plum ordinary.

Beattie missed out on Andy Robinson’s World Cup squad before also finding himself frozen out at Glasgow. So it is little wonder that his relationship with Warriors coach Sean Lineen was best described as “frosty”.

Ryan Wilson, John Barclay, Old Mrs Miggins and pretty much anyone and everyone else were preferred to him in the middle of the back row.

So who does he blame?

“I don’t blame anyone,” says Beattie from his new home in the south of France. “I chose to come back too early after my shoulder operation, it’s my fault. It’s just the nature of the beast. Ask any player who has been lifting weights for five or six months in the gym and all they want to do is play.

“I was expected to come back straightaway at the exact same level that I had been playing at before my injury and that was tough. I was frozen out at Glasgow and only now, for the first time in years, have I managed to string five or six games together on the trot. I’m playing pretty well and I’m happy again.”

Beattie is following a precedent, although not a particularly happy one. Another back rower, Ally Hogg, was capped almost before he boasted stubble and he was un-droppable for much of his 48-cap career before becoming equally un-pickable almost as fast. He hasn’t had a look in since February of 2009, despite being the right side of 30.

Hogg is classy, intelligent and aware, with the soft hands of a natural ball player, but one theory is that the sheer, breakneck physicality of the game left him behind and there were plenty who said something similar about Beattie. They might have had a point, except that Beattie is flourishing in France.

The French Top 14 is the highest-paying, hardest-playing, most physically demanding league in world rugby and yet the Scot has established himself in the starting XV for one of the title contenders against some serious opposition.

Montpellier sit fifth in the league and the giant Georgian Malmuke Gorgodze is being nudged into the second row to accommodate all the club’s breakaways.

Beattie set up a try against Sale in the Heineken Cup, scored himself against Bayonne last weekend and he has picked up two man-of-the-match awards in the last six weeks. So, has anyone from the Scotland set-up been down to run the rule over the self-imposed exile?

“No. I don’t think so. I don’t know to be honest. I haven’t been in touch with anyone recently. I spoke to Robbo [ex-coach Robinson] before the autumn Tests and he said it was good to see me playing regularly again but that the autumn Tests had come a little too early for me.”

No hard feelings about missing out on the World Cup?

“I think he had little reason to take me,” comes the response. “I had hardly played any rugby. I owe Robbo a lot because 2010 was the most enjoyable rugby of my career. I sent him a thank you message when I heard that he’d resigned from the Scotland job.”

If he is at peace with Robinson, the same cannot be said for his old Glasgow coach.

Asked if he would welcome Lineen getting the Scotland job, even on an interim basis, the player pleads the fifth. Instead he asks about Robinson’s assistant Scott Johnson and offers his thoughts on Scotland’s recent performances.


“I was in Murrayfield doing some hospitality at the Springboks game but I watched all three [autumn Tests],” says Beattie. “I know the boys and I know how good they are and it just looked to me like they didn’t know each other at all, that was the scary thing. It was very disheartening. I keep in touch with John Barclay and Al Kellock and I know they were devastated.

“They trained hard and they played hard and they were incredibly disappointed.”

For now, Beattie’s mind is focused on Montpellier’s Heineken Cup showdown against the Cardiff Blues today, although he admits, with a hint of embarrassment, that it isn’t the club’s main focus. Their head coach Fabien Galthie does not hide the fact that he is targeting the Top 14 rather than European glory and several French players who were involved in the autumn internationals have been given the weekend off. That is just one of many differences between Beattie’s old and new clubs. No one at Glasgow keeps their pet snake in the changing room as Beattie insists full-back Benjamin Thiery does!

“The coaching style is totally different,” he says. “It’s more of a dictatorship than the false friendship that you get in Scotland. They may scream at you but there is less cowpat. You have a job to do and you either do it or get out. I’m there to carry ball and go forward and I think I am doing that. We play in front of sell out crowds [16,000] in maybe ten of the 13 home games.

“It’s a multi-national environment. There are Georgians, English, South Africans and about six Argentinians. We start at 8.30am on the dot and we have to be off the field by 1.30pm. I love it. I’d like to finish my career here but we’ll see.”

He couldn’t be tempted back to Glasgow by the new coaching set up under Gregor Townsend? “No. They have good young Scottish qualified guys like Ryan Wilson and I think this is the way forward for Scottish rugby. When guys like me move on and play elsewhere, then young Scots get a chance. Argentina have almost all their players abroad and look how well they did in the Championship and beating Wales.”

What about an international comeback?

“If I was to retire when I’m 32 or 33 and I had just 16 caps I think I would be a bit disappointed but it’s not up to me. Maybe I will give Scott Johnson a call…”

Maybe he should. Scottish rugby needs to get the best out of the limited number of players available to them and no one can say they’re getting the best from the man in Montpellier.

I get the impression that If Lineen gets the scotland job, Beattie's international career will not be getting revived. Good to hear that hes getting his mojo back though. The most complete 8 Scotland have had since Simon Taylor pre-injury.
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Post by 123456789 on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 4:52 pm

On form would you say he's better than Denton?

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Post by GLove39 on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 5:43 pm

Ahhh, makes me pine for the good old days of the killer B's, now that was a decent backrow.

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Post by TJ1 on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 5:47 pm

123456789 wrote:On form would you say he's better than Denton?

Probably - a different sort of player maybe?

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Post by GLove39 on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 5:48 pm

123456789 wrote:On form would you say he's better than Denton?
Well still early days for both players, but have to say that on form Beattie looked better then Denton.

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Post by Dorothy_Mantooth on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 5:53 pm

123456789 wrote:On form would you say he's better than Denton?

Its been that long since Junior was on form that its hard to tell!

I would give Denton the nod as whatever happened in the past two years, Beatties attitude to his profession appeared very poor at times he look so disinterested he had a cheek collecting his pay packet. Does not mean he should be banished from Scotland squad forever but he really needs to prove himself over a longer period than he already has.

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Post by bsando on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 5:59 pm

I really think our back row should be 6. Denton/Brown 7. Rennie/Barclay
8. Beattie & I am confident Beattie will play for Scotland again this 6N. He can't be ignored any longer, he has talent and as he says he is stringing games together getting his old form back pre injury (although I think he's been at a good standard for a while now). We lacked physicality in the Autumn tests, this man will give us that when on form. A gamble worth taking in my opinion.

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Post by GLove39 on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 6:59 pm

A backrow of Denton, Rennie, Beattie now that I would like to see

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Post by king_carlos on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 8:55 pm

If he's on form he could really add to the Scotland side. With the below back-row resources whoever come in should be able to put a decent 6,7,8 together.

6.Brown
7.Rennie/Barclay
8.Denton/Beattie

On whether he's better than Denton I haven't seen him playing recently so can't really comment but Denton's physicality and ball carrying is pretty impressive. As stated a back-row of Denton,Rennie,Beattie on form would look dangerous but would be very harsh on Brown given his consistency.

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Post by RDW on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 9:25 pm

Denton at 6 and beattie at 8 would be incredible for ball carrying, but maybe lacking balance as a back row.

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Post by Imperialbigdave on Sun 09 Dec 2012, 9:35 pm

On form id rate Beattie higher, but Dentons the incumbent, and Beattie is going to have to earn the shirt back. I was more interested in the fact he seems to be in a happier place now, and his comments about the fals frienships in scottish rugby and how he seems to prefer straight talking coaches, and id be inclined to agree with him.

Its made me think more about George Graham and getting him involved in the pro set up. He doesnt like anybody, will get a team grafting, and can take poor teams and make them pretty good pretty quickly. Im also beginning to question how much of chalmers success was down to the talent he had at melrose. Now that hes lost half of them, theyre not quite as good.
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Post by Captain_Sensible on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 9:50 am

Good point on Graham, IBD. I’d like to see someone of his ilk involved in some capacity as a kind of uncompromising Telfer-esque driver of men. Maybe not loved or even liked by the players, but respected for his absolute commitment to the cause and his unwillingness to accept second best.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 10:15 am

to this day I have never unerstood how Ally Hogg got dropped like that!!! he was good, and consistatly good for Scotland.
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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 10:45 am

Ally is playing exceptionally well this season (though it is in the championship)

It'll be interesting to see how he goes in the prem if we manage to get promoted...but he's been captain when Welch has been injured or rested.

Quality player...whos enjoying having the benefits of a good pack to play off...

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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 12:01 pm

Beattie reminds me so much of Simon Taylor - a great player but the two brain cells they possess don't talk to each other very often.
I agree with Dotty - Beattie seemed to have a real attitude problem and did hee-haw around the pitch for Glasgow. Until he gets that sorted out, I wouldn't expect to see him near the international set-up.
I think there is more than meets the eye with Ally Hogg. Now, he was a great player but just disappeared off radar screens and has never found his way back. No offence GF but playing for Newcastle maybe won't help his cause - a losing team last year and now one that is head and shoulders above his opposition this year i.e. does the level of opposition make him look better than he is. That said, I would love to see Newcastle back in the AP to maintian top-flight rugby in the north-east.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 12:11 pm

Ally Hogg was captain at Edinburgh too!

It really is most odd what happened with him
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Post by TJ1 on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 12:17 pm

I am assuming both Hogg and Beattie have fallen out with the management for whatever reason. Another reason we need a Scotland coach that is not a part of the existing setup

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 1:21 pm

I think there is more than meets the eye with Ally Hogg. Now, he was a great player but just disappeared off radar screens and has never found his way back. No offence GF but playing for Newcastle maybe won't help his cause - a losing team last year and now one that is head and shoulders above his opposition this year i.e. does the level of opposition make him look better than he is. That said, I would love to see Newcastle back in the AP to maintian top-flight rugby in the north-east..

No offence taken...we've been dire for several seasons now....and the championship level is poor. However this current team wouldnt be languishing at the bottom of the prem now...and i think Ali has been a factor in this...and think he would be worth a look...if Lawson can make the squad whilst hes here and Shiels...then why not Hogg getting a recall?

I appreciate its a position of Scottish strength of course...but he has ability, form and leadership....

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 1:32 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:Denton at 6 and beattie at 8 would be incredible for ball carrying, but maybe lacking balance as a back row.

Agreed. You need someone doing the dirty work quietly and assisting with the lineout, and that's where Kelly Brown fits in.

Where I see a fully fit, on-form and motivated Beattie is as an impact sub for David Denton. I could really see him coming off the bench and adding to the side with his direct and uncompromising running. You could switch them and start Beattie and use Denton off the bench, but either way there would be real impact there.

I appreciate that things didn't work between him and Lineen, no doubt there was fault on both sides. I'm delighted he's happy playing again, we need all the help we can get in the 6 Nations.

Another player I'd like to see coming into the 6 Nations squad is Fraser MacKenzie. Watched Sale against Toulon and he was busy. Gray was pretty disappointing.

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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 3:34 pm

You are spot on FeS (were you not going to drop the "e" when you were repatriated?). Fraser MacKenzie looks like he is putting himself about a bit and has bulked up (must have hit the gym when he busted his ankle) but, every time I have seen Richie Gray on TV, he hasn't played well
So much for my Lions predficted middle row of Lawes and Gray........

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Post by Tramptastic on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 7:58 pm

Yeh I think Gray's form for Sale might be a bit indifferent but is that part of Sales game plan? For Scotland he played well recently amid fears he'd lost form at Sale so maybe Scotland let him do what he does best and Sale don't or maybe he's being a bit full of himself at Sale, ignoring the game plan and looking crap as a result... Any Sale/Scotland fans care to shed any light on this?

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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Mon 10 Dec 2012, 8:43 pm

Tramp, I am not sure that Gray is that great a scrummager so it is his deeds in the loose and the line-out that tend to get noticed and people put a creaky scrum down to the front row. He is, of course, dependent on a decent hooker in the line-out so he is stuffed when it comes to some of the bricks that Ross Ford throws in his rough direction
Not sure how good or bad (or even who) Sale's hooker is

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Post by R!skysports on Tue 11 Dec 2012, 5:16 pm

InjuredYetAgain wrote:You are spot on FeS (were you not going to drop the "e" when you were repatriated?). Fraser MacKenzie looks like he is putting himself about a bit and has bulked up (must have hit the gym when he busted his ankle) but, every time I have seen Richie Gray on TV, he hasn't played well
So much for my Lions predficted middle row of Lawes and Gray........

FeS = Feckying Excummicated Sausage kiss

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 11 Dec 2012, 9:40 pm

Riskysports wrote:
InjuredYetAgain wrote:You are spot on FeS (were you not going to drop the "e" when you were repatriated?). Fraser MacKenzie looks like he is putting himself about a bit and has bulked up (must have hit the gym when he busted his ankle) but, every time I have seen Richie Gray on TV, he hasn't played well
So much for my Lions predficted middle row of Lawes and Gray........

FeS = Feckying Excummicated Sausage kiss

Laugh

That's 2 out of 3 words I've never heard of!

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs on Tue 11 Dec 2012, 9:58 pm

Shoite, Risky has been at the meths again picard

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Post by toml on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:05 pm

Interesting fact no. 765

Ally Hogg was Scotlands top try scorer during the span of his Scotland Career. 10 tries in 48. Not bad considering how poor scotland were at scoring tries then.



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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:22 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
Riskysports wrote:
InjuredYetAgain wrote:You are spot on FeS (were you not going to drop the "e" when you were repatriated?). Fraser MacKenzie looks like he is putting himself about a bit and has bulked up (must have hit the gym when he busted his ankle) but, every time I have seen Richie Gray on TV, he hasn't played well
So much for my Lions predficted middle row of Lawes and Gray........

FeS = Feckying Excummicated Sausage kiss

Laugh

That's 2 out of 3 words I've never heard of!

What?! Have I stumbled into a re-run of the Dr Johnson episode in Blackaddder III when Blackadder made words up to get into the newly creadted dictionary. I shall check this and return interphrastically. In the meantime, I'm anuspeptic, phrasmotic, even compunctious to have caused any of you such pericombobulation

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:24 pm

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/rugby/richards-hogg-deserves-recall-to-scotland-squad.18940789

Found this article from a wee while ago about Dean Richards on Ally Hogg, he seems to really rate the guy at Falcons
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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:27 pm

Neily, I don't think anyone is disputing how good a player Hogg is but we are all scratching our heads why he is so out of favour at international level. Even our man on the ground, GeordieFalcon, was unable to shed any light on what may have happened

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:35 pm

I reckon it must've just been because he moved from Edinburgh

It's just good that Richards is so keen to see him back in a Scotland shirt though!

He has an excellent workrate and think he'd make a good 8 at the moment with Denton's form a bit flaky. Although the back row is arguably where we have the most talent, more competition is good for the players!
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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:38 pm

Was he not dropped quite a while before he left Edinburgh ? I may be getting my dates mixed up but i thought he was out of favour before he went to Newcastle

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:42 pm

2009 6Ns according to that article, although I must admit I didn't think it was that recent?

Perhaps they meant 2007 and it was a typo
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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 12:44 pm

I will bow to your knowledge, sir. In other words, I can't be bottomed doing any of the research/google searches that you have done!!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 1:01 pm

InjuredYetAgain wrote:I will bow to your knowledge, sir. In other words, I can't be bottomed doing any of the research/google searches that you have done!!

Wink I do love google alerts!
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Post by R!skysports on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 3:14 pm

I think you find that there are very clear definitions for all these words

Feckying - A way a gardener sayes hello to a hedge trimmer before oiling his blade
Excummicated - Taking the edges off sand witches, using a cucumber on their broom
Sausage - a long tubular skin filled with a mixture of dreams and elves

I pity the lack of knowlege on these torinkles (forums for people who drink using their index finger)

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Post by Imperialbigdave on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 6:57 pm

Hogg was dropped after the wales game in the 2009 six nations by Hadden. He was ommited from the squad for the AI's by Robinson, despite being in good form (although obviously Beattie was aswell). He subsequently got injured, returned for the last game of the season and then moved to Newcastle for the 10/11 season.
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Post by bsando on Sat 15 Dec 2012, 7:49 pm

Just watched last 20 mins of Montpellier vs Cardiff Blues. Saw Beattie score a try and get man of the match. Gotta be in for 6N pick surely?

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Post by GLove39 on Sat 15 Dec 2012, 8:01 pm

bsando wrote:Just watched last 20 mins of Montpellier vs Cardiff Blues. Saw Beattie score a try and get man of the match. Gotta be in for 6N pick surely?

That's fantastic news, be great to see him back

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Post by George Carlin on Sun 16 Dec 2012, 11:08 am

Yes, apparently JB had a stormer. I was worried about him earlier in the season because I didn't see him much in the Pelly starting lineups but he's a smart player and it looks like he's been taking his chances. Three MoM awards in 8 weeks cannot go unnoticed.

Dozer needs competition for the 8 shirt (Vernon is not the answer for me) and it looks like he's starting to get it. Johnnie Beattie 3610695981

Such a shame Hines has ruled himself out of future Scotland appearances - he's playing incredibly well at the moment.
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Post by king_carlos on Sun 16 Dec 2012, 2:16 pm

Yep Hines is still playing exceptionally well out in France. If there wasn't so much competition for Lions second-row births he may have been in with a shout at a comeback tour this summer. You just have to look at Simon Shaw in the 2009 tour to see that if you're still good enough age is irrelevant.

Scotland's pack on the face of it looks pretty strong;

1.Grant
2.Ford
3.Murray
4.Gray
5.Hamilton
6.Brown
7.Rennie/Barclay
8.Denton/Beattie

That's a pretty good pool of players as first choice. From an outside perspective depth would look like a problem however with the next best choice from 1-5 fairly far behind.

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Post by MacKnocked-on on Sun 16 Dec 2012, 3:10 pm

Wilson looked good today for Glasgow, he seems to be more powerful than McInally from what I've seen this season.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 10:43 am

So happy to hear Beattie has rediscovered his mojo in France. By all accounts he is back to his rampaging best and I for one would welcome him with open arms back to the Scottish setup.

He needs to get his mind right and attitude sorted though.

A selection headache between an on form Denton and Beattie is a great position for the new coach to come into.
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Post by GLove39 on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 12:54 pm

Beattie's, got some impressive stats from the weekends game against the Blues.
He made 111m, 3 clean breaks, beat 5 defenders, got and off load in there and scored a try. New Scotland coach, whoever you may be, please take note

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Post by thebluesmancometh on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 1:13 pm

Glove

Don't forget to rate the performance on the opposition though, the Blues are probably the worst team in europe at present with regards to the set peice and defence!!!

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 1:23 pm

That's a fair point about the opposition, but Beattie's "form" seems to be becoming a trend now. Hopefully the new coach will do something hitherto unknown in Scottish rugby, and use his eyes and player form to pick the team.

There is stiff competition at 8 though. Denton improved against RM at the weekend by all accounts and I thought Wilson was excellent yesterday against a powerful Castres pack in France. He has stepped up this season has Ryan Wilson, and could very well make the 6 Nations squad if he keeps up his form.

Kelly Brown at number 8 anyone? Thought not.

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Post by InjuredYetAgain on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 4:21 pm

I haven't seen any games with Beattie in them so will have to defer to those who have and who say that he is playing well. So far so good and it allsounds promising.
However, what we need to remember is that his head doesn't seem to be totally screwed on so is there a danger that he might run down a chance to return to the international scene? We just don't know what pressure French clubs put on players were drawing up contracts but there were noises this year that the French sides had been leaning on the PI players, "asking" them to consider how importnat interntaional matches are etc.
I agree with FeS, though - no monobrow at number 8 please.

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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 4:28 pm

But KB is an excellent flanker at 6 - one day we will get the 3Bs back on form together !
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Post by Scot Abroad on Mon 17 Dec 2012, 5:21 pm

I'm glad to see him playing regularly and putting in good performances. I'd say he needs a full season without injury before we get him back involved with the Scotland set up. He needs to get his mind right as well.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 18 Dec 2012, 12:56 pm

I don't think that we should overstate the psychological issues - all that happened was a big falling out with Lineen and a struggle to come back from a major surgery and live up to expectations.

We aren't talking about someone like Danny Grewcock, for example, who could never work out why a game of rugby broke out right in the middle of his fights.

It's clear that France is a world away from UK club problems and that it's like a second birth for a lot of players. Look at recent interviews with Wilkinson on YouTube - he's just delighted to be there and focussing on his game. Same with JB Jnr.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 18 Dec 2012, 1:04 pm

I agree with GC on this. I don't see him as a bloke with psychological issues, more a personality clash with Sean Lineen. Two stubbourn men refusing to back down.

I also don't see why he needs to play a full season before we can consider him again. We know he can deliver at the highest level and we know that he's strung a series of performances together in a tough league demonstrating form. If he's still giong strong come 6 Nations selection time then he'd more than likely make my squad.

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