Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

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Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 7:02 pm

Thoughts on this year's campaign?

For me:
Positives
Horne providing a great option at 12
3 wins matching last year
Some good, exciting plays and some genius from Russell

Negatives
Inconsistency. Inconsistency. Inconsistency.
How long do we have to wait before this team hits a groove of form?
Lack of an alternative plan. Fast and loose is great if we can actually play it. We need to be more flexible and not running around like a box of frogs.
Madness from Russell. Mainly Wales and France but it's still a problem.
Set piece. Other than scrum we are well behind the other nations. After today I'd say bring the gray partnership back.

Things to work on for 2019:
Lineout
Clinical finishing (thought we'd fixed it but the last two games suggest otherwise)
Phase play - keep it simple stupid

I'd say this is a lateral step. Better than backwards but not great. Need to aim for a clean sweep tour and autumn to get that ball rolling.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by eirebilly on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 7:05 pm

Belief and composure is what Scotland need. Maybe they need a better sports psychologist to instil belief in them that they can win away.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:04 pm

Some selection errors from Townsend did not help. Grigg and Jones simply didn't work today and what was Swinson doing on the pitch? Did he not have centres out of position against Wales as well? He will learn from it I am sure

for me beating England means its a small step forward - that means we have beaten every team in the top eight in the last couple of years bar NZ and we pushed them close

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:28 pm

Agree TJ there were some SJ style selections. I really like Swinson but was disappointed to see him on the team sheet today. Same with Laidlaw, though he proved to be important in the end but the question begs would he have been needed to close the game if he'd not been at SH in the first place?

Toony needs to go back to being a bold selector, he is as guilty as anyone of having favourites but with Glasgow he was excellent at getting the most out of all of his squad.

For the tests in America I'd like to see Horne rotating with Price, I still feel Laidlaw is better as a big game finisher and we should be trying to move on from using him as a comfort blanket otherwise we'll never grow beyond the Scotland side of 2/3 years ago.

Second row would be good to see how Cummings goes. Richie could do with a bit more gametime. I'd be tempted to rest Johnny a bit in the summer.

Centres, get Bennett and Scott back, give them Gametime, it'll help Edinburgh too and I'd like to see if Scott can still play 12 as we're looking battered there. People forget Scott played FH at one point so has a lot of nice distribution skills. Get Johnson training with the squad too until he qualifies, as he'd be a handy option.

Fly half I don't like the idea of just parachuting Hastings in, but unless weir has an absolutely storming end to the season we have very little options and Hastings has promise, if not yet. Hoping he has exposure as Russell no doubt will be rested for a bit post 6Ns.

I think this is a chance for us to try Kinghorn at 15. If he has a storming tour hopefully he'll make Hogg feel less comfortable in the autumn.

Wings. Very difficult as we are lacking in options. I'd punt on Fife again, maybe we should be looking to our other 7s players. What happened to farndale?
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:52 pm

Kinghorn at 10? Horne?

wings - selkirk pixie?

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 8:54 pm

As good as Kinghorn is, playing him at 10 would be like Hogg at 10, a complete waste
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 9:00 pm

He played age grade at 10 did he not? He isn't going to get a lot of gametime for Scotland at 15 while Hogg is around and is too good a player ( potentially) to leave on the bench.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 9:39 pm

True, as long as he doesn't end up like Paterson in every position bar scrum half!
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Sat 17 Mar 2018, 9:43 pm

No, but he can switch between 15 and the wing a lot easier than trying to switch to 10. He’s not going to be playing 10 at Edinburgh so it’s a non starter to expect someone to play 10 at international level if they don’t play there week in week out for their club. I’d have him down as a good wing option for Scotland and backup to Hoggy at 15

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by Hazel Sapling on Sun 18 Mar 2018, 12:05 pm

Overall this 6 nations was a continuation of last years. We win our home games, lose away (with 1 beating) and take our time to put Italy away. The extra position we gained is a good little extra financial benefit (think a poster mentioned it is £500k a spot).

It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Defensively, we are a mixed bag
- If we can't attack the breakdown effectively, we are still liable to being bullied and to an extent, the ref dictates that. At international level, there is enough tape of ref's performances to know who rewards what. We play our way regardless of opposition and ref
- Still liable to missing one on one tackles and losing the tackle area. Part of the going for turnovers is to tackle low and get the player to ground quicker. It would risk allowing offloads more (and Wales made us suffer), but it would put more pressure on an attack to execute at a high level to gain 10m and put more pressure on the breakdown
- Our one on one positioning out wide has fallen off. How much of that is due to H Jones (who plays well at home, atrocious away) is hard to know

In the set piece, somehow, our line-out has fallen apart and the scrum (with however many missing front rowers) has become reliable
- Reid and Berghan were not trusted going into this 6 nations. Now they have held England, France, Wales and Ireland largely to a draw. Nel got bullied against Italy which was shocking. If we can solve the science of keeping LH's healthy, we could push on rather than starting from scratch every international series.
- The line-out has had serious issues with multiple hookers not known for bad throwing. Edinburgh and Glasgow have decent line-outs so it must be the calling or the timing. This seems like it should be a quick fix
- Our maul defense has actually gotten quite good. Our maul attack has gone well when we get the line-out in. It is great for our attack in the 22 to have an alternate and creates a catch-22 for the defense (don't want to go American with "red zone")
- Something where we have improved immensely is the restart. The amount of practice we have gotten now to scoring a try and going again has paid off. We tend to clear quite easily though we did our best to mess that up at the end of the Italian game

Attacking, we are still deadly though we are seeing limits.
- We try to go wide early and often. Teams that defend narrow (England and Ireland) got torn apart often. France, Wales and Italy let us run and run at them, staying out of the breakdown and drifting with us.
- The lack of a back rower who can help the front 5 carry around the ruck hurts our flexibility going forward. Wilson will try, but we will eventually need that option who can force the opposing forwards to become sucked in without having to have perfect handling under pressure. We would have to exchange some of our breakdown speed to gain this so it would have to be situation dependent. Looking towards Bradbury, Strauss or Ashe to do this (M Fagerson may be ready next year a la Sam Simmonds but may be lacking the bulk necessary).
- Laidlaw looked better at 10 than 9 in Italy (he was terrible for the first 60) and needs to figure out the tempo. For someone who is given so much credit for his rugby IQ, his reading of the needed tempo is sometimes completely lacking. The water boy ought to be able to help him see that

Going into the summer series against the USA and Canada, I don't want to see many of our main guys. They will not get much from the experience and the extra time off this summer will at least help with the short summer next. Unfortunately, I think Barclay has to captain and be given a bit longer to return to Edinburgh.

Marfo, Turner, Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Barclay (C), Strauss
Price, Horne, Visser, Scott (if he has qualified Johnson), Bennett, L Jones, Kinghorn

Malcolm, Bhatti, McCallum, Cummings, Ritchie, G Horne, Hastings, Jackson

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by George Carlin on Sun 18 Mar 2018, 5:36 pm

Good summary Hazel.

For me, Morrison in the Scotsman got this right:
All of which begs the question of where exactly Scotland are going and it isn’t an easy one to answer. After a highly successful autumn series when the Scots finished within one score of the best team in the world and, some would say, the best team ever, much the same Scotland squad came even closer yesterday to losing to a team that is ranked 14th in World Rugby’s pecking order, below Tonga, Georgia and Japan.
...
“There’s two ways to look at it,” the coach continued. “We can analyse the game, we disappointed in parts, particularly the first half but [we showed] an improved performance in the second half and a resilience and a togetherness to find that win. “It is great to pick up an away win, to finish with three wins. Today’s game will be as valuable as the win against England in terms of experience this group has and being able to beat teams when you are not playing your best.”

That much is true but when Townsend gets around to reviewing the Six Nations in the round he will probably conclude that his side played below their best, sometimes by a margin, a little too often for comfort.

Some of that is down to the unforgiving, unrelenting nature of the Six Nations which offers no respite. You are on point or out of the game, as happened to Scotland in Cardiff with a repeat performance on the cards for much of yesterday’s match.

Rugby is a team game but this squad is overly reliant on several important individual players. When one loses their mojo the whole squad suffers; when several key players are out of tune the result is ugly.

Greig Laidlaw was just one example yesterday because the little scrummy looked better at fly-half than he had at nine. This is partly because the tide was already turning Scotland’s way when he switched position but partly because the replacement nine Ali Price brought some much needed speed with his service. Laidlaw might have struggled outside Laidlaw, if you see what I mean.

It is a relatively young squad still, several years behind Ireland in terms of development as Townsend conceded last weekend, but Townsend needs his key players to bring their A-game far more regularly than they are currently doing. You simply can’t imagine a player of Johnny Sexton’s stature making the sort of mistakes that regularly mar Finn Russell’s performances.
...
Scotland set out their stall against England, the fans now know what this team can do and expect the same standards every match. Given Scotland’s recent record, it’s not the worst problem in the world.
Things that we need:

- a ball carrier at 8 - it's not Du Preez, so the most likely candidate is Bradbury. Our best is still Strauss but only me and Strauss' mum seem to think so.
- a pace man on the wing. I don't think that Visser is done by any means but I want to see Farndale and Graham come on this summer. 
- another quality lock to challenge the Grays. It sure as sh!t isn't Gilchrist or Swinson but we knew both of these things already.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RDW_Scotland on Sun 18 Mar 2018, 6:07 pm

George Carlin wrote:Good summary Hazel.

For me, Morrison in the Scotsman got this right:

First time for everything!

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 19 Mar 2018, 9:16 am

I thought Gilchrist had a good tournament. In addition i thought out plan B worked well in Italy, our driving maul smashed them to pieces every time it got moving.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by EST on Mon 19 Mar 2018, 10:10 am

Hazel Sapling wrote:Overall this 6 nations was a continuation of last years. We win our home games, lose away (with 1 beating) and take our time to put Italy away. The extra position we gained is a good little extra financial benefit (think a poster mentioned it is £500k a spot).

It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Defensively, we are a mixed bag
- If we can't attack the breakdown effectively, we are still liable to being bullied and to an extent, the ref dictates that. At international level, there is enough tape of ref's performances to know who rewards what. We play our way regardless of opposition and ref
- Still liable to missing one on one tackles and losing the tackle area. Part of the going for turnovers is to tackle low and get the player to ground quicker. It would risk allowing offloads more (and Wales made us suffer), but it would put more pressure on an attack to execute at a high level to gain 10m and put more pressure on the breakdown
- Our one on one positioning out wide has fallen off. How much of that is due to H Jones (who plays well at home, atrocious away) is hard to know

In the set piece, somehow, our line-out has fallen apart and the scrum (with however many missing front rowers) has become reliable
- Reid and Berghan were not trusted going into this 6 nations. Now they have held England, France, Wales and Ireland largely to a draw. Nel got bullied against Italy which was shocking. If we can solve the science of keeping LH's healthy, we could push on rather than starting from scratch every international series.
- The line-out has had serious issues with multiple hookers not known for bad throwing. Edinburgh and Glasgow have decent line-outs so it must be the calling or the timing. This seems like it should be a quick fix
- Our maul defense has actually gotten quite good. Our maul attack has gone well when we get the line-out in. It is great for our attack in the 22 to have an alternate and creates a catch-22 for the defense (don't want to go American with "red zone")
- Something where we have improved immensely is the restart. The amount of practice we have gotten now to scoring a try and going again has paid off. We tend to clear quite easily though we did our best to mess that up at the end of the Italian game

Attacking, we are still deadly though we are seeing limits.
- We try to go wide early and often. Teams that defend narrow (England and Ireland) got torn apart often. France, Wales and Italy let us run and run at them, staying out of the breakdown and drifting with us.
- The lack of a back rower who can help the front 5 carry around the ruck hurts our flexibility going forward. Wilson will try, but we will eventually need that option who can force the opposing forwards to become sucked in without having to have perfect handling under pressure. We would have to exchange some of our breakdown speed to gain this so it would have to be situation dependent. Looking towards Bradbury, Strauss or Ashe to do this (M Fagerson may be ready next year a la Sam Simmonds but may be lacking the bulk necessary).
- Laidlaw looked better at 10 than 9 in Italy (he was terrible for the first 60) and needs to figure out the tempo. For someone who is given so much credit for his rugby IQ, his reading of the needed tempo is sometimes completely lacking. The water boy ought to be able to help him see that

Going into the summer series against the USA and Canada, I don't want to see many of our main guys. They will not get much from the experience and the extra time off this summer will at least help with the short summer next. Unfortunately, I think Barclay has to captain and be given a bit longer to return to Edinburgh.

Marfo, Turner, Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Barclay (C), Strauss
Price, Horne, Visser, Scott (if he has qualified Johnson), Bennett, L Jones, Kinghorn

Malcolm, Bhatti, McCallum, Cummings, Ritchie, G Horne, Hastings, Jackson

This is a very good summary Hazel.

I hope Toonie learns from some of his selection errors, although I worry he made the same selection error twice in fielding a 13 at IC for both the Wales and Italy games.

Going forward, I would highlight two positional priorities.

- Better balance in the BR, we are way to lightweight when teams don't resource the ruck and fan out.
- A credible alternative to Russell, he needs somebody to apply pressure, as right now he is getting away with some very sloppy play that should have selection consequences.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by bsando on Mon 19 Mar 2018, 10:15 am

Hazel Sapling wrote:Overall this 6 nations was a continuation of last years. We win our home games, lose away (with 1 beating) and take our time to put Italy away. The extra position we gained is a good little extra financial benefit (think a poster mentioned it is £500k a spot).

It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Defensively, we are a mixed bag
- If we can't attack the breakdown effectively, we are still liable to being bullied and to an extent, the ref dictates that. At international level, there is enough tape of ref's performances to know who rewards what. We play our way regardless of opposition and ref
- Still liable to missing one on one tackles and losing the tackle area. Part of the going for turnovers is to tackle low and get the player to ground quicker. It would risk allowing offloads more (and Wales made us suffer), but it would put more pressure on an attack to execute at a high level to gain 10m and put more pressure on the breakdown
- Our one on one positioning out wide has fallen off. How much of that is due to H Jones (who plays well at home, atrocious away) is hard to know

In the set piece, somehow, our line-out has fallen apart and the scrum (with however many missing front rowers) has become reliable
- Reid and Berghan were not trusted going into this 6 nations. Now they have held England, France, Wales and Ireland largely to a draw. Nel got bullied against Italy which was shocking. If we can solve the science of keeping LH's healthy, we could push on rather than starting from scratch every international series.
- The line-out has had serious issues with multiple hookers not known for bad throwing. Edinburgh and Glasgow have decent line-outs so it must be the calling or the timing. This seems like it should be a quick fix
- Our maul defense has actually gotten quite good. Our maul attack has gone well when we get the line-out in. It is great for our attack in the 22 to have an alternate and creates a catch-22 for the defense (don't want to go American with "red zone")
- Something where we have improved immensely is the restart. The amount of practice we have gotten now to scoring a try and going again has paid off. We tend to clear quite easily though we did our best to mess that up at the end of the Italian game

Attacking, we are still deadly though we are seeing limits.
- We try to go wide early and often. Teams that defend narrow (England and Ireland) got torn apart often. France, Wales and Italy let us run and run at them, staying out of the breakdown and drifting with us.
- The lack of a back rower who can help the front 5 carry around the ruck hurts our flexibility going forward. Wilson will try, but we will eventually need that option who can force the opposing forwards to become sucked in without having to have perfect handling under pressure. We would have to exchange some of our breakdown speed to gain this so it would have to be situation dependent. Looking towards Bradbury, Strauss or Ashe to do this (M Fagerson may be ready next year a la Sam Simmonds but may be lacking the bulk necessary).
- Laidlaw looked better at 10 than 9 in Italy (he was terrible for the first 60) and needs to figure out the tempo. For someone who is given so much credit for his rugby IQ, his reading of the needed tempo is sometimes completely lacking. The water boy ought to be able to help him see that

Going into the summer series against the USA and Canada, I don't want to see many of our main guys. They will not get much from the experience and the extra time off this summer will at least help with the short summer next. Unfortunately, I think Barclay has to captain and be given a bit longer to return to Edinburgh.

Marfo, Turner, Fagerson, R Gray, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Barclay (C), Strauss
Price, Horne, Visser, Scott (if he has qualified Johnson), Bennett, L Jones, Kinghorn

Malcolm, Bhatti, McCallum, Cummings, Ritchie, G Horne, Hastings, Jackson

Nice summary there I think you make some very good points. It is so easy to focus on the negatives and your reminder of how Scotland have improved in certain areas of the game (Restarts, maul and scrum) are well observed.

2017 vs 2018

Scotland vs Wales
2017: 29 - 13 / 2018: 7 - 34
Scotland vs France
2017: 16 - 22 / 2018: 32 - 26
Scotland vs England
2017: 21 - 61 / 2018: 25 - 13
Scotland vs Ireland
2017: 27 - 22 / 2018: 8 - 28
Scotland vs Italy
2017: 29 - 0 / 2018: 29 - 27

2017
Points For:122
Points Against:118
Trys:14

2018
Point For: 101
Points against: 128
Trys: 11

Very interestingly, Scotland Scored three try's less, scored 21 less points overall and conceded 10 extra points compared with last year. So although positionally Scotland were 3rd rather than 4th this year, they actually regressed in a way. Once again, away wins were hard to come by and the same side who were near flawless against England couldn't put simple 2 on 1's away or make a simple last pass against Ireland the week after.

In a short paragraph I would say, Townsend has added a bit more zip and pace into aspects of Scotland's game and has some clever tactics up his sleeve with the ability to unlock very good teams defences. I thought the game plan vs Ireland was excellent, however we didn't convert opportunities and in every game, even the Wales game, the tactics were working and would have worked had the players implemented them properly. So I think Townsend is on to something good with this team if key players can raise their level of consistency. On the failure to implement said tactics, Scotland looked very loose at times and not as clinical at finishing off good scoring opportunities.

And on Russell.. I'm glad he is going to France because he will have some very tough competition in Pat Lambie. He needs to develop the kicking aspect of his game because apart from one fortunate grubber resulting in a Huw Jones score vs England and a few good penalties and kicks to touch, the rest was gash and as we know, he played a big part in the heavy loss to Wales. Still, I'd rather we had a "Maverick" than a tactical bore as our no.10, so let's hope he can develop further.

All in all, a good 6N and the depth has been boosted further. This time next year we could have something close to the peak from this particular group of players which would be perfect timing!

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 8:37 am

Pre-6N I generally try and play down our chances - I like to think it is more being realistic than pessimistic - so it is strange that I find myself feeling slightly disappointed with 3 wins and a 3rd placed finish, which is an incredible result. I think it is due to the staggering lack of consistency in our performances, and the fact that we are still teetering on a knife edge between brilliance and disaster. We are overly reliant on our star players turning up and that's not an overly sustainable gameplan.

In reality we had one outstanding performance - England, one decent performance - France, one OK but frustrating performance - Ireland, one poor but got the win performance - Italy and one absolutely bloody awful performance against Wales. Our performances ranged from 9/10 to 2/10 with an average of around 7/10 - we need more consistency!

Some key points:

Front row - our worries didn't come to fruition, which shows we have more depth than we thought. I think there's a real opportunity at loosehead for someone to nail the spot as their own - Reid was solid but lacks a presence around the pitch. Dell and Marfo will be returning soon which is good.  Berghan has probably earned the starting shirt after his displays this 6N, but he'll have stiff competition from Nel and Fagerson which is good to have. Hooker is McInally then Brown - we could do with a 3rd choice coming through.

Second row Gilchrist performed well but I still think the Grays are our best starting pair. Swinson should be long down the list! Will be good to see Cummings get involved this summer

Back row Barclay and Watson are our nailed on starters but who is the 8, and who is on the bench? Wilson will do a job but he's not in the same class as all of the other home nation 8s. Problem is there isn't really anyone who is. Matt Fagerson and Bradbury may become that but they've got a lot of work to do yet.

Scrum half - The long standing debate of Laidlaw vs Price, and having thought that we'd settled it in the AIs we're back to the same problem! I suspect Townsend is going to stick with Laidlaw to the WC but I hope he makes his mind up about whether that is as a starter or sub.

Stand off - The Finn Russell problem. He had 1 outstanding game (England), 2 average games (Italy, Ireland), one terrible game (France) and 1 truly rank awful abysmal game (Wales). Not a great return from a player that our gameplan so heavily relies upon. One positive of this form is that it has shifted the responsibility onto other players, which is no bad thing in the long run.

Centre - Huw Jones still has the big plays but could do with more consistent involvement across the 80. I don't think he'll be losing the 13 shirt any time soon though. The real debate is at 12 - Horne steadied the ship magnificently (except against Ireland) but is he a long term starter there? I'm not so sure. Hopefully Dunbar, Taylor and Scott can come into the mix, but in reality Townsend needs to decide on his man by the next AIs and stick with him to build up a partnership going into the WC

Back 3 - Maitland had a good tournament, Seymour less so. We still don't really know who the best options are apart from those two - Kinghorn showed good promise but is a 15, not a winger. I suspect Hogg will be given the summer off so that is Kinghorn's chance to shine, and I think Seymour needs a break too.

My summer tour 15:

1 Marfo
2 Brown
3 Nel
4 R Gray
5 Gilchrist
6 Bradbury/Fagerson/Ritchie/Denton/Hamilton
7 Hardie (gets him back involved)
8 Bradbury/Fagerson

9 Price
10 Hastings
11 Jones
12 Dunbar/Taylor/Scott (whoever is fit!)
13 Jones
14 McGuigan (needs more time)
15 Kinghorn

Subs - Dell, Turner, Fagerson, Cummings, Bradbury/Fagerson/Ritchie/Denton/Hamilton, Horne, Horne, Harris (similarly needs time)

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by BigGee on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 9:55 am

I can see a bit of a mixed party on tour. A bit of experimentation and the chance to blood some youngsters against Canada and USA then put out our strongest available team against Argentina.

A few players will get rested this summer for sure. All the Lions I would imagine maybe including Russell.

I can see Horne G, Cummings and Hastings both getting capped and maybe Ritchie as well.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by BigGee on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 9:55 am

I can see a bit of a mixed party on tour. A bit of experimentation and the chance to blood some youngsters against Canada and USA then put out our strongest available team against Argentina.

A few players will get rested this summer for sure. All the Lions I would imagine maybe including Russell.

I can see Horne G, Cummings and Hastings both getting capped and maybe Ritchie as well.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 10:58 am

Hazel Sapling wrote:
It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Have to admit I did not see the game in Dublin, but based on the other two it was nit merely an issue with the gameplan. The actual performance levels were poor in the away games, far too many poor passes and dropped balls and at times a real lack of any oomph. Perhap sthis was because they were trying too much away from home, but skills they could execute at Murrayfield seemed to desert them elsewhere.

The second half against France seemed to show that there was an alternative plan.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by EST on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:12 am

LondonTiger wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:
It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Have to admit I did not see the game in Dublin, but based on the other two it was nit merely an issue with the gameplan. The actual performance levels were poor in the away games, far too many poor passes and dropped balls and at times a real lack of any oomph. Perhap sthis was because they were trying too much away from home, but skills they could execute at Murrayfield seemed to desert them elsewhere.

The second half against France seemed to show that there was an alternative plan.

It seems strange to say, as ultimately we were soundly beaten in Dublin. However, if you watch the game it really was quite close - we totally blew at least two very clear cut opportunities - we did the hard part time and again in that game, with our execution letting us down.

It was a totally different performance to the Wales and Italy game, where I think the gameplan and selection issues both contributed to rotten performances.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:27 am

As Ireland had almost two thirds of the possession and territory Scotland would have needed to execute their skills exceptionally well. It is very hard to win playing that much of the game without the ball and in your own half.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:37 am

EST wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:
It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Have to admit I did not see the game in Dublin, but based on the other two it was nit merely an issue with the gameplan. The actual performance levels were poor in the away games, far too many poor passes and dropped balls and at times a real lack of any oomph. Perhap sthis was because they were trying too much away from home, but skills they could execute at Murrayfield seemed to desert them elsewhere.

The second half against France seemed to show that there was an alternative plan.

It seems strange to say, as ultimately we were soundly beaten in Dublin. However, if you watch the game it really was quite close - we totally blew at least two very clear cut opportunities - we did the hard part time and again in that game, with our execution letting us down.  

It was a totally different performance to the Wales and Italy game, where I think the gameplan and selection issues both contributed to  rotten performances.

Plan B in Italy worked! We mauled them off the park and turned up the heat in the breakdown. Italy wasn't so much a rotten performance, it was simply the best game Italy played all tournament, by some distance.

The fact that we pulled that one out of the fire by adapting our attacking game to a more forward orientated driving maul was very pleasing.

Wales we played poor, but I refuse to accept we played particularly badly against Italy.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:38 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
EST wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:
It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Have to admit I did not see the game in Dublin, but based on the other two it was nit merely an issue with the gameplan. The actual performance levels were poor in the away games, far too many poor passes and dropped balls and at times a real lack of any oomph. Perhap sthis was because they were trying too much away from home, but skills they could execute at Murrayfield seemed to desert them elsewhere.

The second half against France seemed to show that there was an alternative plan.

It seems strange to say, as ultimately we were soundly beaten in Dublin. However, if you watch the game it really was quite close - we totally blew at least two very clear cut opportunities - we did the hard part time and again in that game, with our execution letting us down.  

It was a totally different performance to the Wales and Italy game, where I think the gameplan and selection issues both contributed to  rotten performances.

Plan B in Italy worked! We mauled them off the park and turned up the heat in the breakdown. Italy wasn't so much a rotten performance, it was simply the best game Italy played all tournament, by some distance.

The fact that we pulled that one out of the fire by adapting our attacking game to a more forward orientated driving maul was very pleasing.

Wales we played poor, but I refuse to accept we played particularly badly against Italy.

in the last 20 minutes perhaps, but the first half was littered with knock ons, missed tackles, lack of intensity and general all-round lethargic displays.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:39 am

LondonTiger wrote:As Ireland had almost two thirds of the possession and territory Scotland would have needed to execute their skills exceptionally well. It is very hard to win playing that much of the game without the ball and in your own half.

I fully agree, but in football terms we literally missed 3 open goals in that game. All the hard work had been done by Jones, Horne and Hogg respectively and 3 clear cut tries were absolutely butchered. I do not know how to solve this playing away mental block because we are a panicky error strewn shadow of the team we can be when playing away from Murrayfield.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:39 am

LondonTiger wrote:As Ireland had almost two thirds of the possession and territory Scotland would have needed to execute their skills exceptionally well. It is very hard to win playing that much of the game without the ball and in your own half.

I think he is reffering to the 4 clear cut chances scotland blew. get a couple of them and the score looks a lot closer

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:42 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
EST wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:
It is clear our game plan needs tweaking for the away games. The coaches completely misread the Wales and Italy games going in. They struggled to adapt the strategy and the lack of a plan B is a serious problem. (Ireland was more an execution issue. Give us that game again and Ireland probably struggle. It is the small percentages that dictate games at this level)

Have to admit I did not see the game in Dublin, but based on the other two it was nit merely an issue with the gameplan. The actual performance levels were poor in the away games, far too many poor passes and dropped balls and at times a real lack of any oomph. Perhap sthis was because they were trying too much away from home, but skills they could execute at Murrayfield seemed to desert them elsewhere.

The second half against France seemed to show that there was an alternative plan.

It seems strange to say, as ultimately we were soundly beaten in Dublin. However, if you watch the game it really was quite close - we totally blew at least two very clear cut opportunities - we did the hard part time and again in that game, with our execution letting us down.  

It was a totally different performance to the Wales and Italy game, where I think the gameplan and selection issues both contributed to  rotten performances.

Plan B in Italy worked! We mauled them off the park and turned up the heat in the breakdown. Italy wasn't so much a rotten performance, it was simply the best game Italy played all tournament, by some distance.

The fact that we pulled that one out of the fire by adapting our attacking game to a more forward orientated driving maul was very pleasing.

Wales we played poor, but I refuse to accept we played particularly badly against Italy.

in the last 20 minutes perhaps, but the first half was littered with knock ons, missed tackles, lack of intensity and general all-round lethargic displays.

Lack of intensity ok, I'll give you that. However the missed tackles and knock ons, credit has to be given to Italy. Their intensity levels and accuracy were through the roof in the first 3 quarters. To say we made a hash of it is pretty dismissive of their efforts. As a fellow Scotland fan I thought you'd be aware of that because just about every time we turn over a big team it's because they were rubbish rather than us being good!

Italy were good and as a result they forced us into mistakes because of their passing and lines in attack and forced us into knock ons in attack due to their ferocity in defence.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by EWT Spoons on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:54 am

Think it's a bit of both to be honest on the Italy performance.

Without a doubt Italy played as well as they have this tournament, and in number of instances they did force us into mistakes such as knock ons etc.  But at the same time some of the missed tackles had nothing to do with Italy.  Can't remember who's try it was, but Wilson had a straight tackle and 99x out of 100 he would have held onto his man and brought him down, but he put in a half hearted attempt and lost his man who ran in for the try.  Wilson knew afterwards that he was solely to blame and apologised to his teammates for it.  That lethargy was 100% down to Scotland and not what Italy were doing.  The Italy player wasn't running a clever line, or going at speed etc, it was just poor play from Scotland

I suspect we had slipped into the same mindset the players claimed before the Wales game where they believed their hype.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by EST on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 11:55 am

LondonTiger wrote:As Ireland had almost two thirds of the possession and territory Scotland would have needed to execute their skills exceptionally well. It is very hard to win playing that much of the game without the ball and in your own half.

I think Ireland had the bulk of possession against every team though.

Give the game a watch and you'll see what I mean - we butchered at least two complete gimmies at international level. It wasn't the gameplan that let us down in the one, it was simple execution.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by tigertattie on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 12:11 pm

Such are the joys to forums, there can be general agreement but many have differing opinions.

I'd like to pick out a few:

"Horne providing a great option at 12"

No he blooming is not. Horne is at best a utility back who can sit on the bench and cover 10/12 in case of emergency. Against Ireland he did cost us 7 points against and he utterly blew a potential 7 points for us also. We're looking at one man costing us a 14 point swing. I know Jones cost us 7 points and Hogg cost us 7 or 5 points, but I'd like to think these were blips but Horne has cost us points and games before and as a pro player I'm afraid he's had too many chances and blown things too many times.

"We need another option at lock, it sure ain't Gilchrist"

Nonsense again. 1: Gilchrist had a decent overall tournament, he was no worse that Ickle Jonny. 2: Another option we have is Toolis who again I felt didn't do anything wrong and why he was dropped entirely for the utterly ineffective Swinson beggars belief.

Another Toonie wrong call was dropping Berghan for Fagerson. I'm not saying that Ragnar is not very much in the Scotland picture in the future, but he was not match fit while Berghan had been tearing up trees.

For the summer I can see a lot of youngsters getting tried out and the older heads being rested (a lot of them). Next season is the lead up the World Cup so Toonie will need to experiment this summer to allow next year to be purely focused on tinkering and tweaking what will be a fixed squad of guys that he plans on taking to Japan.

Not matter how you cut it, wins against urine poor England and France teams and a last penalty of the match win over an Itallain side (that although they raised their game that day), were hammered by every other team in in the competition simply is not enough to be considered progress.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 12:26 pm

Horne I find a very interesting case. ~Taken in isolation a decent club player and no more. But drop him into 12 for Scotland and he seems to add a lot more than you would expect him to do. Simply put IMO Scotland play better when he is on the park. He seems to make life easier for those around him Even the game ( last year? Year before?) when he took over at 10 'cos Russell was injured early on he was very good.

I think it is because although he does not have the greatest collection of skills in the world he is both smart and rugby smart and a cool head. Even the butchered chance against ireland he had been a big part in creating that chance.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by LondonTiger on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 12:35 pm

tigertattie wrote:"We need another option at lock, it sure ain't Gilchrist"

Nonsense again. 1: Gilchrist had a decent overall tournament, he was no worse that Ickle Jonny. 2: Another option we have is Toolis who again I felt didn't do anything wrong and why he was dropped entirely for the utterly ineffective Swinson beggars belief.

Not seen much of Swinson since he moved up from Falcons, but what I have seen would suggest he is still very much the same not very good player. I cannot believe you do not have better, so every time I see his name on a team sheet I assume he holds incriminating evidence on the coach.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 12:38 pm

We have seen a fair bit of him and most of us would agree.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 1:20 pm

Swinson is a great club player and adds a lot of value to Glasgow, but he's just too small to be effective for Scotland. He does seem to be a coaches favourite with both VC and Townsend picking him over others, but in Gray X 2, Gilchrist, Toolis and up and coming Cummings we have better options.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 1:23 pm

I think most of us are agreed that Gilchrist is a better option than Swinson - but I think (though maybe I'm just generalising) most of us would prefer a fully fit in form Richie to them both.

Toolis too as he is another good lineout option, and like a lot of people here I don't understand what he's done to warrant being dropped, all I can suggest is his past form has blown hot and cold.

Horne at 12 is a great option. I still would pick a fit and in form Duncan Taylor over him, but I currently prefer him to an out-of-form and fitness Dunbar (heresy, I know). If it was vs the Dunbar of a couple of years ago absolutely hands down Dunbar would be my preference but Horne brings completely different qualities and is in good form right now.

I'd like to see Matt Scott given another run at 12 in summer to see if he's still got it there.
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 2:10 pm

Toolis was poor in Wales, but he has earned some credit with earlier performances in the league. He is still young and can put himself in the discussion for the summer. I can see why he was dropped for Gilchrist and ultimately Swinson. Toolis had a good game against Munster so there is something there.

Swinson is the ultimate coaches favourite who will work his backside off whilst having less talent than everyone else. J+R Gray, Gilchrist, Toolis, Cummings, McDonald, Hunter-Hill and Carmichael are all more talented than he is. After the World Cup, he will probably revert to being a back-up option behind the present up-and-comers. Toonie will probably use him against all bar Ireland to keep Gilchrist and the Grays fit.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 2:16 pm

Hazel Sapling wrote:Toolis was poor in Wales, but he has earned some credit with earlier performances in the league. He is still young and can put himself in the discussion for the summer. I can see why he was dropped for Gilchrist and ultimately Swinson. Toolis had a good game against Munster so there is something there.

Swinson is the ultimate coaches favourite who will work his backside off whilst having less talent than everyone else. J+R Gray, Gilchrist, Toolis, Cummings, McDonald, Hunter-Hill and Carmichael are all more talented than he is. After the World Cup, he will probably revert to being a back-up option behind the present up-and-comers. Toonie will probably use him against all bar Ireland to keep Gilchrist and the Grays fit.

And was very good in the AIs, including a huge game against NZ. And to be fair he was not the only one to not play well against Wales, and he was by no means the worst offender!

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 3:29 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:
Hazel Sapling wrote:Toolis was poor in Wales, but he has earned some credit with earlier performances in the league. He is still young and can put himself in the discussion for the summer. I can see why he was dropped for Gilchrist and ultimately Swinson. Toolis had a good game against Munster so there is something there.

Swinson is the ultimate coaches favourite who will work his backside off whilst having less talent than everyone else. J+R Gray, Gilchrist, Toolis, Cummings, McDonald, Hunter-Hill and Carmichael are all more talented than he is. After the World Cup, he will probably revert to being a back-up option behind the present up-and-comers. Toonie will probably use him against all bar Ireland to keep Gilchrist and the Grays fit.

And was very good in the AIs, including a huge game against NZ. And to be fair he was not the only one to not play well against Wales, and he was by no means the worst offender!

Was it because Denton was brought in so there was only room for one stupid hairstyle?
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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by TJ on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 4:14 pm

One really good thing to come out of this year is strength in depth in so many areas and that our scrum looked good.

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by jimbopip on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 6:07 pm

In terms of looking forward I think we should be looking at the third choices in all positions to get a realistic idea of how we might fare at the World Cup. There will be injuries, suspensions and loss of form so any hopes of Toonie being able to select a "First XV" for any given match slim at best.

1. Marfo
2. Turner
3. ??? before the 6N's Berghan , but now probably WP Nel. This is one position where all three contenders have a convincing argument for starting.
4. Swinson
5. Cummings. Assuming Grayx2, Toolis and GG are ahead of them.
6. Bradbury
7. Fagerson
8. Denton. If Ashe is fit he's better suited to Toonie's gameplan. And he doesn't have hands like frozen jublies.
9. George Horne.
10.??? Now you're asking. Hastings? Horne? Ruaridh? I think that we'll have someone who can fill in in case of emergency. A 10/12 or 10/15.
11. McGuigan
12. Dunbar, on fitness and form but at present he's not even third.
13. Bennett or Grigg
14. Dougie Fife, on form, Rozza Hughes on potential.
15. Ruaridh.

Actually that's not a bad team. Headscratch Would it have come third this year? Would it have seen off England.

Mind you it probably wouldn't have crapped all over my weekend in Cardiff. furious

The question is how many of those players would we want to see starting against Ireland in the World Cup?

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Re: Scottish 6Ns assessment: forward steps with the odd backflip

Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 20 Mar 2018, 8:26 pm

3rd choice...depends on preference I guess

1) Dell, Marfo, Reid
2) McInally, Brown, Ford/Turner
3) Nel, Berghan, Fagerson
4) Gray, Gilchrist, Swinson
5) Gray, Toolis, Cummings
6) Barclay, Hamilton, Bradbury
7) Watson, Hardie, Ritchie
8) Wilson, Denton, Strauss

9) Price, Laidlaw, G Horne/Vellacott/SHC
10) Russell, Horne, Hastings
11) Maitland, McGuigan, L Jones
12) Dunbar, Taylor, Johnson
13) H Jones, Bennett, Scott
14) Seymour, Visser, Hoyland/Fife?
15) Hogg, Kinghorn, Jackson

Of those who are in third place, I don't want to see Ford/Turner, Swinson (probably end up playing), Hastings (or Horne) and Ritchie at this point. Ritchie and Turner could develop enough to not worry me. We beat Australia in Australia with Tonks at FB after all

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