Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

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Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Mon 05 Nov 2018, 9:36 am

First topic message reminder :

Scotland v Fiji
Satuyrday 10th November
BT Murrayfield Stadium
Edinburgh

KO 14.30

Well this match has got bannana skin written all over it for Scoltand! A tough , flamboyant opposition in a game that Scotland should be expected to win. What could possibly go wrong?

We lost to the Flying Fijians the last time we meet when we played them at home. The conditions were less than ideal for us, but Toonie was not particularly impressed by the way some of the team played that day. Josh Strauss in particular, has never really come back into contention for the henious crime of not turnng up! Toonie, depite his affiable personality, does have an edge as a coach and will remember these things.

In our favour this time, we will be playing at home in a full stadium in weather conditions that will suit us a lot better than they did in Suvla! We have also got a game under our belt and you would hope that we will not play as sluggishly as we did against wales, particularly in the first half. we will also have our full squad available for this one and we will need them!

It is hard to see that Finn and Greg will not be involved in the squad in some shape or form and will quite likely start. Sean Maitland is also likely to come in.

Our problems are likely to be in the back row and the centres, areas where we thought we were pretty well stocked but injuries have taken some toll in recent weeks.

Blade Thompson was apparently up and about after the match on friday, but as he was out cold it is hard to imagine that he will play this weekend, hopefully he gets back for one of the other games. Matt Fagerson made a pretty good impact from the bench, so he may get the starting spot over Ritchie for this one, giving a back row of Watson, Fagerson and Wilson. Ritchie may well stay on the bench, in the absence of anyone else fit. I suppose there is an argument for bring in Rob Harley for some defensive solidity, but we would then lose other aspects of our game. I think Rob is better off in the second row these days in any case.

Centres is also a conundrum. Huw Jones poor tackling cost us two tries and the fact that he was singled out by Toonie for that suggests he was not pleased and will take some action. The only other obvious 13 in the squad is Chris Harris, probably much better defensively, but we would lose a lot in our attacking shape with him on board. Dunbar could move out, but I think he is better at 12. Matt Scott may also be gunning for that position if he is fit.

There could defiitely be some interesting selections coming up!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:07 pm

EWT Spoons wrote:I think I am the opposite, I remember Strauss getting a load of stick for doing nothing on the pitch for most of his international career.  Plus weirdly he seems to have fallen out of favour at Sale, and yet now gets a call up.



Maybe something to do with Thompson, Bradbury and Denton all being injured!

Against Fiji maybe we need someone to keep it a bit tighter and just make some hard yards. We really don't have that many players that can do that without some of those injured ones i have mentioned.

We may see a back row of Fagerson, Ritchie and Strauss for this game. I wonder if Watson and Wilson might get rested for the SA game. I don't think he will want to play them in all three remaining games.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:14 pm

BigGee wrote:
EWT Spoons wrote:I think I am the opposite, I remember Strauss getting a load of stick for doing nothing on the pitch for most of his international career.  Plus weirdly he seems to have fallen out of favour at Sale, and yet now gets a call up.



Maybe something to do with Thompson, Bradbury and Denton all being injured!
.

Valid, and disturbing that I forgot about all those injuries, point

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:16 pm

Can throw Barclay into there too - he's not a destructive carrier but always gets over the gainline. He is a very robust defender too.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by 123456789. on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:29 pm

It's quite common for our players who qualify on residency to disappoint when they finally make it in. I remember being desperate for Visser to qualify and then being thoroughly disappointed when he did. Strauss falls into the same category. Maybe they lack that extra sort of do or die attitude that the 'Scottish' players do. It sounds a bit jingoistic I know.
Wilson is an odd one, if there's a fight or a scuffle on the pitch you can bet your life he'll be there. When a scuffle broke out in the Ireland Italy game I half expected him to show up in the middle of it. But somehow he just does not cut it at International level. His defensive work is pretty decent however, and does do a job at nullifying the opposition 8 too.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:38 pm

I think 'thoroughly disappointed' is a bit harsh on Visser - yes he's been a defensive jessie but we always knew that about him. He has scored a lot of good tries for us and at 14 tries in 33 caps has a decent strike rate, especially remembering that during his early days for Scotland we were still in the dark days of being awful every 6N.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:46 pm

123456789. wrote:It's quite common for our players who qualify on residency to disappoint when they finally make it in. I remember being desperate for Visser to qualify and then being thoroughly disappointed when he did. Strauss falls into the same category. Maybe they lack that extra sort of do or die attitude that the 'Scottish' players do. It sounds a bit jingoistic I know.
Wilson is an odd one, if there's a fight or a scuffle on the pitch you can bet your life he'll be there. When a scuffle broke out in the Ireland Italy game I half expected him to show up in the middle of it. But somehow he just does not cut it at International level. His defensive work is pretty decent however, and does do a job at nullifying the opposition 8 too.  

I think that there is a lot more to it than that. Fundementaly it is about ability and Visser was one that was found out at the highest level, largely due to his defensive frailties. They were there all along, we just could not see them to the same extent when he was running in tries for fun at Edinburgh.

For Josh Strauss, I think the jury is probably still out. I don't think he has been as bad as some have made out when playing for Scotland. He hasd one hugh game, against France, which ended his season and almost his career! He then had a very poor one when he came back that summer against Fiji, which Toonie was very unforgiving about. It has to be said though, that he was not the only one who was poor that day. Other than that he has been pretty steady if unspectacular, we do not always play to his strengths, which is a hard ball carrying game. He is a big guy who will struggle to play at 100 mph for 80 mins. He is a much better ball player than Denton and also reads the game very well. He was often involved in some of the intricate moves that Glasgow used to create. There was a feeling when he left Glasgow that he was past his best. Maybe we will have more of a view of that this weekend! I would love him to prove us wrong on that one, he was a very popular player during his time at Scotstoun and all the Glasgow fans will be hoping he does well.

Wilson is the enigma. The fans don't seem to get him but the coaches do. He just does an awful lot of stuff that we don't see or appreciate. He may or may not be a true international class player, but no one seems to have been able to take that Scotland shirt off him during the reign of the past three coaches!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by 123456789. on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 4:54 pm

Wilson's hold on the shirt is odd especially when you consider that when he and Denton came through he was very much so in second place. Not so much now.
But then Denton is one of a generation of Edinburgh breakthroughs he never seemed to kick on as they should have done. That team that reached the the Heineken semis was thoroughly mismanaged by successive coaches. It's weird to think at one point Gilchrist, Denton, Leonard, Scott, Brown and Jones seemed to be the next big things.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 5:13 pm

123456789. wrote:Wilson's hold on the shirt is odd especially when you consider that when he and Denton came through he was very much so in second place. Not so much now.
But then Denton is one of a generation of Edinburgh breakthroughs he never seemed to kick on as they should have done. That team that reached the the Heineken semis was thoroughly mismanaged by successive coaches. It's weird to think at one point Gilchrist, Denton, Leonard, Scott, Brown and Jones seemed to be the next big things.

Denton is another one though that is good at what he does well, but is fundamentaly a limited player. He is a great player to have in a team that plays to his style, but can be a passenger if not. What Wilson has going in his favour, is that he can adapt his game to suit the required game plan. He may not be the best ball carrier, off loader, speedster, tackler etc. but he is a very good all rounder, who can do all of those things at a very good level and does not make many mistakes and I think that is what coaches like.

He is never a passenger!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by 123456789. on Tue 06 Nov 2018, 6:15 pm

BigGee wrote:
123456789. wrote:Wilson's hold on the shirt is odd especially when you consider that when he and Denton came through he was very much so in second place. Not so much now.
But then Denton is one of a generation of Edinburgh breakthroughs he never seemed to kick on as they should have done. That team that reached the the Heineken semis was thoroughly mismanaged by successive coaches. It's weird to think at one point Gilchrist, Denton, Leonard, Scott, Brown and Jones seemed to be the next big things.

Denton is another one though that is good at what he does well, but is fundamentaly a limited player. He is a great player to have in a team that plays to his style, but can be a passenger if not. What Wilson has going in his favour, is that he can adapt his game to suit the required game plan. He may not be the best ball carrier, off loader, speedster, tackler etc. but he is a very good all rounder, who can do all of those things at a very good level and does not make many mistakes and I think that is what coaches like.

He is never a passenger!

To an extent I don't buy this idea of a limited player, being a good rugby player is literally his job. If you're game has a glaring weakness i.e being unable to pass, then he should work on it constantly.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by bsando on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 9:17 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/46117219

Article from Tommy Seymour regarding strength in depth. He talks up Kinghorn a lot. I'm a bit worried that the hype surrounding him could become a bit over teh top. He's still got a lot to prove at club level let alone international level. Saying that I hope he gets another go on Saturday.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 9:20 am

BigGee wrote:
123456789. wrote:It's quite common for our players who qualify on residency to disappoint when they finally make it in. I remember being desperate for Visser to qualify and then being thoroughly disappointed when he did. Strauss falls into the same category. Maybe they lack that extra sort of do or die attitude that the 'Scottish' players do. It sounds a bit jingoistic I know.
Wilson is an odd one, if there's a fight or a scuffle on the pitch you can bet your life he'll be there. When a scuffle broke out in the Ireland Italy game I half expected him to show up in the middle of it. But somehow he just does not cut it at International level. His defensive work is pretty decent however, and does do a job at nullifying the opposition 8 too.  

I think that there is a lot more to it than that. Fundementaly it is about ability and Visser was one that was found out at the highest level, largely due to his defensive frailties. They were there all along, we just could not see them to the same extent when he was running in tries for fun at Edinburgh.

For Josh Strauss, I think the jury is probably still out. I don't think he has been as bad as some have made out when playing for Scotland. He hasd one hugh game, against France, which ended his season and almost his career! He then had a very poor one when he came back that summer against Fiji, which Toonie was very unforgiving about. It has to be said though, that he was not the only one who was poor that day. Other than that he has been pretty steady if unspectacular, we do not always play to his strengths, which is a hard ball carrying game. He is a big guy who will struggle to play at 100 mph for 80 mins. He is a much better ball player than Denton and also reads the game very well. He was often involved in some of the intricate moves that Glasgow used to create. There was a feeling when he left Glasgow that he was past his best. Maybe we will have more of a view of that this weekend! I would love him to prove us wrong on that one, he was a very popular player during his time at Scotstoun and all the Glasgow fans will be hoping he does well.

Wilson is the enigma. The fans don't seem to get him but the coaches do. He just does an awful lot of stuff that we don't see or appreciate. He may or may not be a true international class player, but no one seems to have been able to take that Scotland shirt off him during the reign of the past three coaches!

I think you are right to a degree BigGee. I am sure that Wilson has great stats for the number of attempted carries, rucks hit and number of touches in open play etc, he also doesn't often make obvious mistakes. However, at international level, there are elements to his game which are manifestly bad, and it is unfortunate that these elements are those which 8's are traditionally good at. When you compare our team against our main competitors, the thing that jumps out is our weakness at 8, we desperately need more quality in that position to offer a point of difference.

That being said, it's not Wilson's fault that nobody else has made a claim for that position and he always gives his all.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 10:08 am

That is a fair point EST.

In the future Bradbury, Fagerson, Thompson may be a better option than Ryan Wilson at No.8. Josh Strauss may have a renaissance and become the player we hoped he would be. Denton may learn to catch and pass.

At the moment though, none of these things are happening and Ryan Wilson is in possession of the shirt.

Ryan Wilson is a 100% player who has made the most of his talents, something not all Scottish players have done. If someone better than him takes the shirt, so be it. He is not ever going to be considered an all time great.

By the same token I am not going to run him down for turning up each and every game and giving 100% for the shirt, something not all players always do.

We are still one or two players short of being a really good international team but until we have those players we have to be happy with what we have got.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by Tramptastic on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 10:45 am

BigGee wrote:That is a fair point EST.

In the future Bradbury, Fagerson, Thompson may be a better option than Ryan Wilson at No.8. Josh Strauss may have a renaissance and become the player we hoped he would be. Denton may learn to catch and pass.

At the moment though, none of these things are happening and Ryan Wilson is in possession of the shirt.

Ryan Wilson is a 100% player who has made the most of his talents, something not all Scottish players have done. If someone better than him takes the shirt, so be it. He is not ever going to be considered an all time great.

By the same token I am not going to run him down for turning up each and every game and giving 100% for the shirt, something not all players always do.

We are still one or two players short of being a really good international team but until we have those players we have to be happy with what we have got.

Is it not considered that if the spine of your team is good the rest will sort itself out? numbers 2, 8, 9, 10 and 15 all have to be of a high quality? I think we've got quality and depth in every one of those excepting 8 and 10 (though with hastings, 10 has improved)

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by bsando on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 1:04 pm

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/analysis-why-scotlands-defensive-system-made-huw-jones-look-worse-than-he-actually-is

Interesting analysis of Jones defence vs Wales. Apparently his 2018 defensive stats are very good compared to many other international 13's and he just got his tackling technique a bit wrong.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 1:25 pm

bsando wrote:https://www.rugbypass.com/news/analysis-why-scotlands-defensive-system-made-huw-jones-look-worse-than-he-actually-is

Interesting analysis of Jones defence vs Wales. Apparently his 2018 defensive stats are very good compared to many other international 13's and he just got his tackling technique a bit wrong.

To save you reading the whle thing (which is quite a good read to be honest) - what the artice basically says is that its not Jones' fault that Ali Price cannae act as a sweeper.
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 1:57 pm

I wonder why we are running a system like that?

Matt Taylor has been doing defence for a good while now and seems pretty highly regarded, Eddie Jones was sniffing round a while back!

It does seem quite high risk to have a system where one missed tackle from a set play costs you a try!

There may of course be more layers to the Scottish defence than that, it is just that it was not very obvious on Saturday!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 2:59 pm

BigGee wrote:That is a fair point EST.

In the future Bradbury, Fagerson, Thompson may be a better option than Ryan Wilson at No.8. Josh Strauss may have a renaissance and become the player we hoped he would be. Denton may learn to catch and pass.

At the moment though, none of these things are happening and Ryan Wilson is in possession of the shirt.

Ryan Wilson is a 100% player who has made the most of his talents, something not all Scottish players have done. If someone better than him takes the shirt, so be it. He is not ever going to be considered an all time great.

By the same token I am not going to run him down for turning up each and every game and giving 100% for the shirt, something not all players always do.

We are still one or two players short of being a really good international team but until we have those players we have to be happy with what we have got.

No, I agree - he does give everything to the cause and you can't fault him for that. If only the Scotland U18's had decided to pick Zach Mercer when he went to down to Bath, instead of cutting him off - he looks like he is maturing into one hell of a player.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 3:12 pm

EST wrote:
BigGee wrote:That is a fair point EST.

In the future Bradbury, Fagerson, Thompson may be a better option than Ryan Wilson at No.8. Josh Strauss may have a renaissance and become the player we hoped he would be. Denton may learn to catch and pass.

At the moment though, none of these things are happening and Ryan Wilson is in possession of the shirt.

Ryan Wilson is a 100% player who has made the most of his talents, something not all Scottish players have done. If someone better than him takes the shirt, so be it. He is not ever going to be considered an all time great.

By the same token I am not going to run him down for turning up each and every game and giving 100% for the shirt, something not all players always do.

We are still one or two players short of being a really good international team but until we have those players we have to be happy with what we have got.

No, I agree - he does give everything to the cause and you can't fault him for that.  If only the Scotland U18's had decided to pick Zach Mercer when he went to down to Bath, instead of cutting him off - he looks like he is maturing into one hell of a player.

Mercer isn't written off yet as he's not played a test match for England.

But I highly dount that he'd return to the fold given he only moved to Scotland when he was 8. I'm pretty sure he'd regard himself as English.

One thing I'm not too sure about, Mercer qualified for us through Residency. As he's not here anymore, does his previous residency count or would he need he need to re-qualify by moving back again for 5 years?
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 3:13 pm

PS, when is the team out?
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 3:26 pm

tigertattie wrote:
EST wrote:
BigGee wrote:That is a fair point EST.

In the future Bradbury, Fagerson, Thompson may be a better option than Ryan Wilson at No.8. Josh Strauss may have a renaissance and become the player we hoped he would be. Denton may learn to catch and pass.

At the moment though, none of these things are happening and Ryan Wilson is in possession of the shirt.

Ryan Wilson is a 100% player who has made the most of his talents, something not all Scottish players have done. If someone better than him takes the shirt, so be it. He is not ever going to be considered an all time great.

By the same token I am not going to run him down for turning up each and every game and giving 100% for the shirt, something not all players always do.

We are still one or two players short of being a really good international team but until we have those players we have to be happy with what we have got.

No, I agree - he does give everything to the cause and you can't fault him for that.  If only the Scotland U18's had decided to pick Zach Mercer when he went to down to Bath, instead of cutting him off - he looks like he is maturing into one hell of a player.

Mercer isn't written off yet as he's not played a test match for England.

But I highly dount that he'd return to the fold given he only moved to Scotland when he was 8. I'm pretty sure he'd regard himself as English.

One thing I'm not too sure about, Mercer qualified for us through Residency. As he's not here anymore, does his previous residency count or would he need he need to re-qualify by moving back again for 5 years?

He played on the weekend Tattie, pretty sure that was a full test.  From what I understand, he played all of his formative rugby in Scotland and captained the U16/17 sides, then for whatever reason Glasgow and Edinburgh didn't offer him a contract he then got picked up by Bath and Scotland cut him loose - didn't even make the U18 squad.  I read somewhere that his old man left the SRU on bad terms, so you have to wonder if that has something to do with it......they really do have a habit of annoying staff members who have very talented rugby playing children.

Edit: It would be interesting to hear the SRU side of the story on this, as all that info has come from Mercer himself.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 3:48 pm

he did?

oh well lol - Would be typical of the SRU to lose someone named world young player of the year right enough!

so yeah, when is the team out?
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 5:08 pm

Sure I read/heard the team will be out tomorrow, was pushed back to give a couple of players more time to see if they were ok to play

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 5:13 pm

EWT Spoons wrote:Sure I read/heard the team will be out tomorrow, was pushed back to give a couple of players more time to see if they were ok to play

I reall hope they arent risking Hogg. Would be silly. Give Blair the game time, let Hogg rest!
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by alive555 on Wed 07 Nov 2018, 10:14 pm

aa
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 8:49 am

Maitland let slip in an interview that Hogg might be starting - he joked that he would mark the second last man and "let Hogg, er, I mean whoever is playing fullback" mark the big wingers instead.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 9:42 am

All the noises are suggesting he will play!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by bsando on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:03 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:Maitland let slip in an interview that Hogg might be starting - he joked that he would mark the second last man and "let Hogg, er, I mean whoever is playing fullback" mark the big wingers instead.
Laugh

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:24 am

BigGee wrote:All the noises are suggesting he will play!

would be madness

Imagine he re-injures himself and is out of the 6Ns. Now any player can be injured at any time, but to go back into a game of international rugby against a team that love big tackles when you are jsut ocming back form injury. It seems a bit silly to me.
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:31 am

tigertattie wrote:
BigGee wrote:All the noises are suggesting he will play!

would be madness

Imagine he re-injures himself and is out of the 6Ns. Now any player can be injured at any time, but to go back into a game of international rugby against a team that love big tackles when you are jsut ocming back form injury. It seems a bit silly to me.

I don't see what the rush is for either, would much rather Kinghorn got another 80 mins of international experience. Perhaps they are going to play Hastings again and Toonie wants some more leadership in the backline?

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by bsando on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:37 am

1pm for team announcement!

Tough to guess what it'll be this week but I am guessing it will be the following...

Dell
MacInally
Berghan
Skinner
Gray
Wilson
Watson
Fagerson
Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Grigg
Jones
Kinghorn
Hogg

Brown, McCallum, Nel, Gilchrist, Strauss, G Horne, P Horne, Seymour

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by George Carlin on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 12:06 pm

Surely they won't put Fun Sized Nick against a huge Fiji midfield?
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 12:56 pm

Fiji team:

Campese Maafu
Sam Matavesi
Manasa Saulo
Tevita Cavubati
Leone Nakarawa
Dominiko Waqaniburotu ©️
Peceli Yato
Viliame Mata
Frank Lomani
Ben Volavola
Vereniki Goneva
Jale Vatabua
Semi Radradra
Metui Talebula
Setareki Tuicuvu
Reserves

16. Mesulame Dolokoto
17. Eroni Mawi
18. Kalivate Tawake
19. Albert Tuisue
20. Semi Kunatani
21. Henry Seniloli
22. Alivereti Veitokani
23. Eroni Vasiteri

That back-row is a bit scary

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:09 pm

Well it's an interesting Scotland team. Toonie has obviously found the tombola again

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:09 pm

I don't think anyone would have picked that team as a potential starting 15


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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by bsando on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:13 pm

George Carlin wrote:Surely they won't put Fun Sized Nick against a huge Fiji midfield?

No Townsend opted for petite sized Horne instead haha. I’m annoyed Dunbar’s at 13 but oh well, that could work well and he did make a good break against Wales. Harsh for Jones who I thought might get a chance at redemption this week. An interesting mix of experience and emerging talent. Glad to see Hogg back as well as Russell, Laidlaw and Maitland.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:24 pm

SRU wrote:Glasgow Warriors and British & Irish Lions full-back Stuart Hogg returns to the starting Scotland line-up for this Saturday’s Autumn Test against Fiji in front of a capacity crowd at BT Murrayfield Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm) – live on BT Sport and BBC.

Hogg has been absent from competitive action since having surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in September, while representing his club in the Guinness PRO14.

He is among nine changes to the starting Scotland line-up from Saturday’s defeat to Wales as Head Coach Gregor Townsend rewards several players who performed well off the bench, while welcoming the availability of exile players during World Rugby’s designated international window.

Four such players come into the starting line-up, where Exeter Chiefs lock Sam Skinner is set to make his debut, while half-backs Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) and Finn Russell (Racing 92), and wing Sean Maitland (Saracens), are also set to start.

It will be Laidlaw's first Scotland outing since kicking the match-winning penalty against Italy in the Six Nations earlier this year, securing a third-placed Championship finish for the visitors in Rome.



It will also be the first time the scrum-half - who has captained the national team more than any other player - will lead the side under Head Coach Gregor Townsend.

Glasgow Warriors duo Alex Dunbar and Tommy Seymour return to start in the backs, while Pete Horne is promoted from last week’s bench in Cardiff to partner fellow Warrior Dunbar in midfield.

Debutant Skinner is one of four changes to the pack, with hooker Fraser Brown, lock Grant Gilchrist and number 8 Matt Fagerson promoted from last week’s bench, while props Allan Dell and Willem Nel, and back-row forwards Ryan Wilson and Jamie Ritchie, are all reinstated.

Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend, said: “It’s a more experienced side this week in terms of time together at this level, while we’ve rewarded some of those who performed well off the bench with the chance to start.



“We’ve had a good week in training with a slightly different focus for the challenges we expect Fiji to present this Saturday.

“In particular, they pose huge threats off turnover ball, utilising some of the best individual players, one-on-one, in the world.

“They score more tries than any team in the world off turnover ball, about 66%, whereas most teams are under about 10 or 15%, so if you repeatedly give them turnover ball it’ll be a tough afternoon.

“That presents us with an opportunity to consider different approaches tactically and use different strategies to apply pressure in front of our home support.

“Our pack will have to work exceptionally hard against a very physical Fijian side and our backs will have to be alert to opportunities as a consequence of that work.

“We have to be physical and accurate, play to our strengths and put them under pressure in areas they don’t want to go into, to make sure the game is open for us but not for them.”

Newcastle Falcons centre Chris Harris and Sale Sharks back-row Josh Strauss come in to the reckoning for the first time on the bench.

Scotland team to play Fiji at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Saturday 10 November (kick-off 2.30pm) – live on BT Sport and BBC

15. Stuart Hogg VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 62 caps

14. Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps
13. Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors) – 29 caps
12. Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 36 caps11. Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 34 caps

10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 37 caps
9. Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 63 caps

1. Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
2. Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 35 caps
3. Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
4. Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – uncapped
5. Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
6. Ryan Wilson VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
7. Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 3 caps8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 2 caps

Substitutes:
16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 19 caps
17. Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
19. Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps
20. Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 14 caps
21. George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
23. Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 4 caps


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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by LondonTiger on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:26 pm

bsando wrote:
George Carlin wrote:Surely they won't put Fun Sized Nick against a huge Fiji midfield?

No Townsend opted for petite sized Horne instead haha. 

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by Eejit on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 1:55 pm

Hogg starting for the first time in two months gives me the fear, especially since the backline replacement is Chris Harris. I assume in the situation that Hogg gets a good run out and goes off after the hour Maitland or Seymour would go to fullback and Harris will come on to get run over by some big chap.

I have a bad feeling about this game which is a shame because I'm going.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 2:04 pm

Pretty mad selection but we should have plenty to win this as long as we play a good gameplan. Horne at 12 worries me, as does Dunbar's lack of pace at 13 these days, but that pack should be competitive. Backrow is lightweight which is a worry - none of them are going to make much of a difference defending against Mata!

Chris Harris on the bench is a strange one - how many opportunities is he going to get?

Feel for Blair Kinghorn - this was meant to be the chance for him to get a few games in a row to see what he can really do. I hope one of the journos really pushes Townsend to ask why he's being rushed back when we have other options.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EST on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 2:13 pm

Eejit wrote:Hogg starting for the first time in two months gives me the fear, especially since the backline replacement is Chris Harris. I assume in the situation that Hogg gets a good run out and goes off after the hour Maitland or Seymour would go to fullback and Harris will come on to get run over by some big chap.

I have a bad feeling about this game which is a shame because I'm going.

I've got a bad feeling as well, we don't have anybody in the pack who are on the same level as Yato, Mata and Nakarawa in terms of their physical attributes.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by Anglobraveheart on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 2:14 pm

Twisted reporting from the Beeb that "centre Huw Jones has been dropped" and no explanation of their comment.
However, if that is the case, then Mcinally, Toolis, Gray, Watson, Price, Hastings, Jones and Kinghorn have also been 'dropped', to either the bench or out of the squad.

Twisted little journo at the bbc I think?

I also think that we may be working towards a 'first choice' squad v SA, and another experimental set against Argentina.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by Eejit on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 2:16 pm

Controversial perhaps I think the decision not to pick Kinghorn is ultimately the right one. He's a great player but this is one of those games that when he makes an error they'll likely score a try from it. In this case Hogg is the safe pair of hands, even if he is injured.

The other benefit of Hogg over Kinghorn is that Glacial Greg at 9 suggests a more pragmatic gameplan and we may not see das sexyrugby that we've gotten used to. I suppose the guile has to come from somewhere because it sure as hell isn't going to come from 9 until wee George comes on to keep the Fijians honest after the hour mark.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 2:48 pm

The other thing about Kinghorn is, being honest, he hasn't fit the same form this season as he did last season. I can't remember many game changing breaks this season whereas last season it was at least 2 or 3 a game. This may be a reminder that he's got to work bloody hard to earn it, or maybe I'm looking into it too much.

He looks to have bulked up a bit - hopefully he hasn't lost his edge.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 3:15 pm

I actually think a lot of that is down to a change in tactics from Edinburgh. Last season we were playing SHC and Jaco who run with the ball a lot more than both Hickey and Pyrgos.

Last season Kinghorn could run on their shoulder and make breaks, or when the defence is unsettled he could use the disorganisation to his advantage.

This season we are far more structured, with slower plays and more box kicking, which means defences are generally more structured and there is less open space for Kinghorn to target.

Of course it could just be he's not quite as good as last year, but I don't think we are playing to his strengths, same with Duhan.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by sensisball on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 3:29 pm

Greg has been playing really well for Clermont his season, getting the ball away from rucks pretty quickly and he along with his team mates have looked the fittest squad in the T14, which should help against a  very powerful looking Fiji pack. Unfortunately one of his most impressive team mates, Peceli Yato, lines up at 8 for Fiji. Carries like an 8 but with the pace of a centre. I think our back row will have their hands full trying to nullify Yato and his mates once they get going.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 4:51 pm

Well it is an interesting pick from Toonie, as you would expect.

He has made it pretty clear that Jones H has not been dropped but rotated. Part of his justification for that is that Chris Harris can cover wing as well as centre from the bench. It looks as if he might be putting some cover in place in case Hoggy starts to flag at the 60 min mark. Toonie does seem to see something in Harris that the rest of us are struggling to. Hopefully this is his chance to show us what he can do, with the form that Grigg showed the past two weeks, you would imagine that would be a close call.

I think we might see some interesting subs in this game. He has talked about Skinner coming in to the back row later in the game, something that he often does for Exeter apparently. He does seem to be looking for a versatile player who can play lock and BS. None of our other locks have really stepped up to that. In the second half, you could see Gray and Strauss coming on with Skinner dropping back and that would give us a very powerful pack to finish off the game. Some of the Fijians may not be conditioned to the level of their European players so that might count.

The other interesting sub I wonder if we might see is Hastings coming on at 12 later in the game, which would give us a few more options at first receiver, maybe three if Hoggy stays on. That would be a very tooniesque thing to try and if it works could cause havoc!

However it pans out, it should be a very interesting game.


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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by George Carlin on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 5:07 pm

Anglobraveheart wrote:Twisted reporting from the Beeb that "centre Huw Jones has been dropped" and no explanation of their comment.
However, if that is the case, then Mcinally, Toolis, Gray, Watson, Price, Hastings, Jones and Kinghorn have also been 'dropped', to either the bench or out of the squad.

Twisted little journo at the bbc I think?

I also think that we may be working towards a 'first choice' squad v SA, and another experimental set against Argentina.
Some of the BBC comments are clearly written by jingoistic little Welshmen whose girlfriends were stolen by English, Irish or Scottish players.

Annoys the bejeezers out of my because I always assume proper rugby folk are better than that. No need for nastiness. Rugby stories are hardly clickbait tabloid journalism. We'd still have clicked on it with a halfway sensible headline.
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by tigertattie on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 7:54 pm

I’m very worried about this game.

Our backrow looks lightweight. I’m hoping we’re looking to play a fast paced game to run around the Fijians.

I’m truly frightened at our lack of physicality last week and the changes brought in look to weaken us further. Weakening us against a brutally physical outfit.

I’m actually worried we could lose this one. If we don’t lose, I can see a hard fought narrow win.

Hate being pessimistic about this but I think I’m also being realistic.
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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by jimbopip on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 8:18 pm

Ttattie, you are being realistic BUT I'm not sure that we lacked physicality last week; rather we were too physical. Toonie obviously drilled it into the players not to repeat the errors from the 6N game earlier this year and to "go North -South before attempting to go East-West". Unfortunately, they just kept going North and North and North. One hulking no8 seldom bashes through a very well organised defence, which the Welsh have, and our pick and drives never sucked in enough defenders to create space out wide. But still we kept smashing it into them; 389 trips to their 22 and fecc all points but a world record 1573 pick and goes.


I like the team. Fiji are not the soft (ish) touch they once were and WILL score tries on Saturday. They will also collect a couple of yellow cards (at least one for smacking Mrs Gibbins).


Realistically: 43-27 to Scotland.

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

Post by BigGee on Thu 08 Nov 2018, 10:37 pm

tigertattie wrote:I’m very worried about this game.

Our backrow looks lightweight. I’m hoping we’re looking to play a fast paced game to run around the Fijians.

I’m truly frightened at our lack of physicality last week and the changes brought in look to weaken us further. Weakening us against a brutally physical outfit.

I’m actually worried we could lose this one. If we don’t lose, I can see a hard fought narrow win.

Hate being pessimistic about this but I think I’m also being realistic.

I would say our backrow is more physical this week.

Wilson, Fagerson, Ritchie is a more physical combo than Watson, Wilson, Ritchie

Ritchie is a bit lightweight to be an internaional 6, he is more your modern 6.5 generic backrow, who will fill in at 7

We will likely end the game with Wilson, Strauss and Skinner, which is a pretty decent solid unit!

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Re: Scotland V Fiji Saturday 10th November

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