Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

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Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:23 am

First topic message reminder :

Scotland v South Africa
BT Murrayfield Stadium
Edinburgh

Saturday 17th November
KO 17.00


Well another interesting game coming up between two old rivals.

Scotland found their form with a vengeance this Saturday, putting a much fancied Fiji side to the sword very emphatically. They are a team who have very good home form now and they will see this as their biggest test of the autumn.

South Africa are also on the up and playing much better under Erasmus, with a noticeable scalp of the All Blacks this season and beating England in a series over the summer. Recent form is a bit mixed, they lost a game they should have won against England and won a game they should have lost against France, so hard to know just what to read into that. It has been a long hard season for them and it is not going to be easy stringing together 4 hard tests in 4 weekends.

Scotland will have the advantage of having been able to rest and rotate a few of their players. The question remains though will Toonie go all out with his strongest team for this one (does he even know what his strongest team is?) or will he continue with some gentle tinkering, as is his want and maybe even introduce a few new players into the mix. Will we see Gary Graham capped for instance in his first appearance in a Scotland squad after a road to Damascus moment sometime over breakfast (humble pie on the menu) this weekend.

My stab at the Scotland team before we get a few clues with media interviews during the week:

Nel
McInally
Dell
Gray
Skinner
Wilson
Strauss
Watson
Laidlaw
Russell
Seymour
Dunbar
Jones H
Maitland
Hogg

Allen
Brown
Berghan
Gilchrist
Graham
Horne G
Hastings
Kinghorn



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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by mikey_dragon on Sun Nov 18, 2018 9:48 pm

And with that one of the serial wum-whingers shows up. Like I said yesterday it’s not possible for a team to be permanently offside as they would get picked up on it. Time for you to accept that Edwards is a decent defence coach again.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Pie on Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:27 pm

Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Sun Nov 18, 2018 10:28 pm

Got round to watching the game - a few more things to add:

I thought Reid did fine - held up the scrum and put himself about a bit. I suspect Townsend wanted to know if he can still compete at this level - the answer to that looks to be yes. We have better options but there's life in him yet.

Skinner doesn't look like a 6 to me - he's not dynamic enough and very much looked like a 2nd row playing in the back row. There's a big difference between being able to cover backrow and being a genuine option there. I say keep him in the 2nd row (where he could be very good) and let the young lad find his feet there without mucking him about. If everyone's fit and well we're well stocked at 6.

I agreed with the decision to go for the corner in the 2nd half but watching on TV I agree we should have gone for points - easy to say with hindsight of course!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by George Carlin on Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:02 am

tigertattie wrote:Wilson cream cake crackered when he came off! Means he's put in a shift? I'd say it shows he's unfit.

I've not seen the tackle, ruck clear of carry stats, I could be wrong, but I'd say Wilson was bottom for all three from the back row.
I think that what this game (and the series) has shown is how crucial John Barclay is to have on the pitch. 

We need his nous at the breakdown and any time we have beaten a SANZAR nation recently, we had both him and Watson on the field - that's not an accident. 

Wilson's Crayon costume is on a shakey peg at the moment. With the likes of Bradbury coming on, I cannot help but feel that Wilson is the Graham Morrison/Andy Henderson of the back row.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:37 am

The Scottish backrow stats.

Passes, runs, meters ran, clean breaks, defenders beaten, offloads.

S SkinnerFL 0 2 7 12 0 1 0 0
H WatsonFL 0 3 8 18 1 4 1 0
R WilsonN8 0 4 6 15 0 1 0 0

Turnovers conceded, tackles, missed tackles, line out wins.

S SkinnerFL 0 10 0 0
H WatsonFL 2 11 0 0
R WilsonN8 0 9 3 0


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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by EST on Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:24 am

Pie wrote:Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

Pie, if you have watched any of our stand-offs in the last 10 odd years, you would know that Russell is head and shoulders above anybody else we have had in that position. He has also been a key factor in our rise from total mediocrity over the last few years. Yes, he is infuriating, and he needs to control some of his more creative instincts at times, but I would gladly have him over Parks, Godman, Weir etc.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by bsando on Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:50 am

I would like to say a big well done to SA who I couldn't help but be impressed by. They have a confidence about them now that will probably earn them another victory in Cardiff this weekend to wrap up an impressive Autumn tour.

What impressed me most about them was their ruck speed and the aggression they showed in this area. Even when Scotland looked like they had a ruck covered the boks still piled in, confident they could win turnover ball which they did on numerous occasions. I was disappointed that Scotland couldn't get there fast enough to protect the ball as the backrow and forwards were often absent or outgunned. Duane Vermeulen won a good turnover and was part of a powerful boks backrow that definitely got the upper hand at ruck time.

There was (reoccurring theme from Wales) a lack of street smartness from Scotland. Price and Harris attempting a blindside dash in their own 22 was never on. Wilson not taking ownership for catching a tricky restart. Not taking points on offer (50-50 on that decision though). But ultimately it was the breakdown (again) that caused the most problems. I just worry, have other teams figured us out a bit? Blitz defence and aggression at ruck time.

Encouraging though, was the Scottish attacking game and the absolutely stunning try's. There's no question that Scotland's attack and counter attacking was the best of the weekend. The focus really now needs to be on the breakdown and finding the right way to generate more of this attacking ball with the players we have.

Personally, I think Wilson's days at 8 are numbered. I believe Thomson will become Scotland's next 8 with Strauss/Fagerson as backup. I can however see a future at 6 for Wilson competing against Denton and Bradbury for the jersey pre RWC.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:57 am

On the topic of breakdown I agree that Barclay is a huge loss just now as that is where he excels. Bradbury has good breakdown work too (i.e. he just smashed people out the way) so also would have been a good help.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by tigertattie on Mon Nov 19, 2018 9:58 am

even I can't blame wilson for the messed restart as it deflected off another Scottish player first so would be hard for Wilson to get it.

But he's still knickers and needs dropped. I'd not call him the andy Henderson of today's team as andy Henderson, while limited, was the best we had available at the time. Wilson is not the best available at the moment
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by George Carlin on Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:30 am

EST wrote:
Pie wrote:Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

Pie, if you have watched any of our stand-offs in the last 10 odd years, you would know that Russell is head and shoulders above anybody else we have had in that position.  He has also been a key factor in our rise from total mediocrity over the last few years.  Yes, he is infuriating, and he needs to control some of his more creative instincts at times, but I would gladly have him over Parks, Godman, Weir etc.
Correct. The important point is that you reign in recklessness with coaching and experience. What you cannot coach in is flair, attitude and creativity. 

I'd rather we start from a Finn Russell starting point. Christ knows, we have seen enough 'safe' 10s in the past decade - that's one of the reasons why we couldn't win anything.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by LondonTiger on Mon Nov 19, 2018 10:51 am

How is Hastings developing? Could he usurp Russell for the World Cup?

With Laidlaw taking the kicks at goal, and from what I saw Hogg the kicks to touch, it looks like they are trying to free up Russell to concentrate purely on running the attack. Never sure if this is always sensible as quite often players then try even harder to force things. Of course Laidlaw is deadly accurate from the tee, so it does make sense.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:01 am

LondonTiger wrote:How is Hastings developing? Could he usurp Russell for the World Cup?

With Laidlaw taking the kicks at goal, and from what I saw Hogg the kicks to touch, it looks like they are trying to free up Russell to concentrate purely on running the attack. Never sure if this is always sensible as quite often players then try even harder to force things. Of course Laidlaw is deadly accurate from the tee, so it does make sense.

Hastings is doing nicely, getting game time and experience. He may even start this weekend.

He is not going to usurp Russell this side of the WC, for better or worse, Finn is our man and it is never going to be a straightforward ride! Toonie has shown an interest in playing them both in tandem though at 10/12, alternating as first receiver. He has ended the last two games with this formation, with differing results. It looked good against Fiji, not so much so against the Boks, who were not fooled much by either players trickery!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:02 am


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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:03 am

No citing for Kolisi either.

Think he was a bit fortunate their, have seen players carded or cited for less than that!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:03 am

BigGee wrote:No citing for Kolisi either.

Think he was a bit fortunate their, have seen players carded or cited for less than that!

Clear and deliberate backwards head butt? Sure.

Madness that a one handed knock on attempted interception is a yellow but that kind of incident isn't worthy of any sanction!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:06 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
BigGee wrote:No citing for Kolisi either.

Think he was a bit fortunate their, have seen players carded or cited for less than that!

Clear and deliberate backwards head butt? Sure.

Madness that a one handed knock on attempted interception is a yellow but that kind of incident isn't worthy of any sanction!

Yeah, and I don't think we will get any form of consistency anytime soon.

You would think at some point someone at World Rugby would let common sense make these rulings, but sadly no.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:09 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
BigGee wrote:No citing for Kolisi either.

Think he was a bit fortunate their, have seen players carded or cited for less than that!

Clear and deliberate backwards head butt? Sure.

Madness that a one handed knock on attempted interception is a yellow but that kind of incident isn't worthy of any sanction!

World Rugby Ruling, it appears a moderate butt to the head is now ok!


Siya Kolisi (South Africa)

Siya Kolisi (South Africa) has received a Citing Commissioner Warning from Citing Commissioner David Pelton (USA) for striking with the head (Law 9.12) during the 31st minute of the Scotland versus South Africa November test at BT Murrayfield on 17 November.

Having reviewed the video angles, the Citing Commissioner determined that there were mitigating factors which meant that the action did not meet the red card threshold, including the player being illegally prevented from re-joining the play by Scotland’s Peter Horne and the moderate force of the strike to the side of the head. The match officials did not see the incident at the time on the field of play.




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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:13 am

So that is cool, if someone is holding on to you illegally you may headbutt, as long as you don't hurt the player.

You can also take someone in the air (ala Ireland vs NZ this weekend) and get no sanction.

You can shoulder charge with no wrap and get away with it, but if you clear someone out a ruck with the shoulder whilst wrapping with one arm ( ala PSDT) then you get penalised.

You may attempt and intercept from a ridiculously long floating pass, but low and behold if you knock it on, that constitutes a card.

World Rugby seriously need to bring logic and common sense to the law interpretations.

There is literally zero consistency in these rulings.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by EST on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:23 am

Biltong wrote:So that is cool, if someone is holding on to you illegally you may headbutt, as long as you don't hurt the player.

You can also take someone in the air (ala Ireland vs NZ this weekend) and get no sanction.

You can shoulder charge with no wrap and get away with it, but if you clear someone out a ruck with the shoulder whilst wrapping with one arm ( ala PSDT) then you get penalised.

You may attempt and intercept from a ridiculously long floating pass, but low and behold if you knock it on, that constitutes a card.

World Rugby seriously need to bring logic and common sense to the law interpretations.

There is literally zero consistency in these rulings.

I'd agree Bilt, rugby is becoming a bit farcical at the moment - there is virtually no consistency and entire sections of the rules are being effectively ignored at every ruck.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:23 am

Agreed Bilts, it is completely bonkers!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:24 am

Is the mitigating factors also

"the ref messed up with yellow carding a player for making a valid attempt at taking an intercept pass, so we 're letting them away with this one, to even it out a bit"

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by tigertattie on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:30 am

Games a bogey
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by jimbopip on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:30 am

I agree with you on the inconsistency, even if Horne was holding Kolisi down there is no mitigating a head butt away. Also late in the second half the Boks 7 should have been yellow carded for a late shoulder charge at the ruck NB regardless of which team, I think the ruck is ridiculously dangerous and needs to be refereed with player safety at the front of the officials' minds.

Two final points;
I was impressed by the general jollity and sportsmanlike attitude of the Boks' fans: but the big change from Newcastle three years ago was that they were silent during the Nkosi sikeleli part of the anthem and belted out the Afrikaner part. I don't remember that happening previously. Sad
Secondly, on arrival at Murrayfield we went into the SRU Rip Off merchandising tent. As ever, I picked up a rugby ball for Pippetto and then realised that one legacy of his recent hospital stay is that contact sports are a no no. So, I'll never see his show and go at 10 again.  Sad  Sad  Sad  Sad Fecc.


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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:32 am

EWT Spoons wrote:Is the mitigating factors also

"the ref messed up with yellow carding a player for making a valid attempt at taking an intercept pass, so we 're letting them away with this one, to even it out a bit"

I think that is where it completely falls apart, two wrongs don't make a right.

This isn't maths where -x-=+ or -x+=-
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by EWT Spoons on Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:38 am

Totally agree, was just meant to be a joke. Shouldn't have come into play and probably didn't. Just some mental calls from world rugby.

Same thing is happening in scottish football just now, with players getting booted in the balls, but the offending player winning their appeals as it wasn't deemed dangerous play.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by bsando on Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:13 pm

tigertattie wrote:even I can't blame wilson for the messed restart as it deflected off another Scottish player first so would be hard for Wilson to get it.

But he's still knickers and needs dropped. I'd not call him the andy Henderson of today's team as andy Henderson, while limited, was the best we had available at the time. Wilson is not the best available at the moment

The problem I had with Wilson in that scenario was mainly just the lack of vocalisation once he they were not going to gather it via a jumper. He could have claimed it for himself as he was only a few yards back and saved them the bother of trying to lift Gray while walking backwards. It’s a harsh assement though as it all happened fast and it was a great restart by SA.

Also, unrelated but I noticed I missed mentioning Barclay as an option in the back row earlier today Erm

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 12:57 pm

As an aside, how feckin good was Hogg on Saturday?? Not only his running but his booming kicks to touch were absolutely world class. It's not an exaggeration to say that if he'd stayed on the pitch we would have had a better chance of winning that game - he was absolutely on it before going off injured. It was soul destroying having Chris Harris replace him!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:03 pm

Hoggy was down in Hawick today with Bryan Habbana being inducted into the Laurens foundation, which promoting sport as a way of changing fortunes around the world. Some pretty big hitters from the world of sport are involved in this, so it is a great honour to be approached to be an ambassador.

He did not look to injured either, which is good, but I still think he should sit this one out and let Kinghorn play.

Kinghorn actually needs a big game, he has been much quieter this year so far and others like Graham are coming up fast on the rails.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:06 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:As an aside, how feckin good was Hogg on Saturday?? Not only his running but his booming kicks to touch were absolutely world class. It's not an exaggeration to say that if he'd stayed on the pitch we would have had a better chance of winning that game - he was absolutely on it before going off injured. It was soul destroying having Chris Harris replace him!

Yeah he was a standout, By memory he made one error, but for the life of me I can't remember what.

Could have been a kick directly into touch?
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:56 pm

Biltong wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:As an aside, how feckin good was Hogg on Saturday?? Not only his running but his booming kicks to touch were absolutely world class. It's not an exaggeration to say that if he'd stayed on the pitch we would have had a better chance of winning that game - he was absolutely on it before going off injured. It was soul destroying having Chris Harris replace him!

Yeah he was a standout, By memory he made one error, but for the life of me I can't remember what.

Could have been a kick directly into touch?

That wasn't Hogg - think it was Russell.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:02 pm

His error was throwing that really flat pass to Jones, from which he got turned over and the Boks scored.

It was probably more ambitious than reckless, but no need for it at a time when we were very much in the game. It just allowed them to take the lead again and they are very good front runners.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:03 pm

That's the one - I was at the toilet so missed that (too much excitement after the Horne try!). Came back and we'd suddenly lost a try straight after.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:05 pm

Have to say, all four tries in that match were well executed
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:07 pm

The offloading for the first Bok try was ridiculous

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:12 pm

Yeah especially RG Snyman's, that was sick
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:13 pm

I've just noticed you've got more posts than me Biltong - when did that happen?? Especially since you keep buggering off for months at a time!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Mon Nov 19, 2018 2:14 pm

Must have been at the start, unless someone is hijacking my account Very Happy
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Taylorman on Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:59 pm

EST wrote:
Pie wrote:Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

Pie, if you have watched any of our stand-offs in the last 10 odd years, you would know that Russell is head and shoulders above anybody else we have had in that position.  He has also been a key factor in our rise from total mediocrity over the last few years.  Yes, he is infuriating, and he needs to control some of his more creative instincts at times, but I would gladly have him over Parks, Godman, Weir etc.

So would I, northern rugby needs more Russells not less. The safe and secure low risk route is too hard. Banging away all day until one gives in is not the becall and end all. Creativity must be able to thrive.

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Pie on Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:01 am

Taylorman wrote:
EST wrote:
Pie wrote:Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

Pie, if you have watched any of our stand-offs in the last 10 odd years, you would know that Russell is head and shoulders above anybody else we have had in that position.  He has also been a key factor in our rise from total mediocrity over the last few years.  Yes, he is infuriating, and he needs to control some of his more creative instincts at times, but I would gladly have him over Parks, Godman, Weir etc.

So would I, northern rugby needs more Russells not less. The safe and secure low risk route is too hard. Banging away all day until one gives in is not the becall and end all. Creativity must be able to thrive.

Yes for example Mehrtens was so much more creative then Carlos Spencer Laugh

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:46 am

Pie wrote:
Taylorman wrote:
EST wrote:
Pie wrote:Russell is the problem for Scotland; he's a Carlos Spencer type player. Inconsistent, unreliable with moments of stupidity recognized as genius when they come off occasionally

Pie, if you have watched any of our stand-offs in the last 10 odd years, you would know that Russell is head and shoulders above anybody else we have had in that position.  He has also been a key factor in our rise from total mediocrity over the last few years.  Yes, he is infuriating, and he needs to control some of his more creative instincts at times, but I would gladly have him over Parks, Godman, Weir etc.

So would I, northern rugby needs more Russells not less. The safe and secure low risk route is too hard. Banging away all day until one gives in is not the becall and end all. Creativity must be able to thrive.

Yes for example Mehrtens was so much more creative then Carlos Spencer  Laugh

Yeah, the game in 2018 is a tad different to the game in 1995.

Mehrtens was mr consistency and Spencer was mr flashy but mr error waiting on every second move.

It is called a balancing act, having two different types of fly halves.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by tigertattie on Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:14 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:I've just noticed you've got more posts than me Biltong - when did that happen?? Especially since you keep buggering off for months at a time!

Biltz has always had more posts than you Admin Boy!

The only reason Biltz has become more active again is to keep his crown on the rugby forum.
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:21 pm

tigertattie wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:I've just noticed you've got more posts than me Biltong - when did that happen?? Especially since you keep buggering off for months at a time!

Biltz has always had more posts than you Admin Boy!

The only reason Biltz has become more active again is to keep his crown on the rugby forum.

Where's my crown?

Who's hiding it? king
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by tigertattie on Tue Nov 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Biltong wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:I've just noticed you've got more posts than me Biltong - when did that happen?? Especially since you keep buggering off for months at a time!

Biltz has always had more posts than you Admin Boy!

The only reason Biltz has become more active again is to keep his crown on the rugby forum.

Where's my crown?

Who's hiding it? king

They melted it down and it was used as part of the material to make the Doddie Cup
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:07 pm

Wanted to share this with you guys, written by Harry ajones, a South African who went to the match, he has a way with words.

...........................................................................


Edinburgh is a fine town to visit for rugby. Arriving at Waverley by train from London, one walks up a gentle stone ramp, directly into the middle of fun, new and old.

Pipers are piping (and walking briskly, to get away from the noise). Ask the man in the kilt if there is anything worn under it, and he’ll tell you: “Nae, it’s all in perfect working order.”

Steps from the rail, you can walk right into a pub, order a pint of lager with a dash of lime, and hear the barman tell you: “We don’t do cocktails.”

Scotland invented the phone. This may be why all the phone booths in Edinburgh have been converted into toilets: when you invent something, you’re entitled to piss on it.

They also invented hypnosis, chloroform and the syringe. Beware your neighbour in pubs! But never fear an angry mob in Scotland. Disperse them immediately by taking up a collection.

Binge drinking in Scotland has inspired a massive temperance movement. Signs saying “DRINK IS YOUR ENEMY” adorn bar walls. But next to them: “LOVE THY ENEMY.”

But let’s get serious. I went to see the Springboks attack the mighty fortress of BT Murrayfield; walking all over town, tasting malt in all its forms, climbing muddy hills, reviewing auld torture racks before they invented scrums, and eating every flipping piece of food on offer.

Hamish Watson
Hamish Watson of Scotland (Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)
As we all know, the game was a 26-20 cracker and came down to one repelled Scottish maul for a try, down the stretch, after a firecracker start. This failed late game Scottish escape brings to mind the weary Gaelic prisoner in Edinburgh Castle, asked by his jailer if he found prison life tolerable. “The walls are nae built to scale.”

The size and scale of the Bok forwards were indeed a major talking point of the Scottish fans surrounding us. RG Snyman in particular brought oohs and aahs from the locals.

“How can we compete in the lineout against that giraffe?” As we know, it was easy: just throw it to the canny flank named Hamish running through the gigantic gap between the tall trees.

“Half your props are South African, anyways,” I countered. “Ach, you sent us the wee ones,” said the woman next to me, who fed me homemade brownies in return for sharing my Tennent’s.

It’s true the Scottish pack was giving up a few pounds against the Bok behemoths. For once, that stereotype was true. As a writer in The Scotsman put it, it looked like South Africa was commemorating the passing of Marvel Comics’ Stan Lee by selecting a front row of Hulk, Thing, and Apocalypse with Galactus and Destroyer behind them, and the God of Thunder at number eight.

Snyman, the journalist observed, was “surely breathing thinner air.”

Most of the post-match reports from Scotland used monster truck metaphors, asked whether the dressing-room had undergone steel beam reinforcement, and advised seismometers for the Boks.

But to me, this lovely test match was more about speed: of foot, of thought, and pass. The first try was a strange diagramme: Man of the Match Handre Pollard knifing through and shooting it to lightning quick Embrose Papier who found Snyman who chicken wing offloaded to Steven Kitshoff, who Sonny-Billed to S’bu Nkosi, with a quick recycle and a dive-in try by Jesse Kriel.

Handre Pollard is tackled by Richie McCaw
Handre Pollard, a bright prospect for the Springboks. (AAP Image/NZN/SNPA, John Cowpland)
Scotland countered with a candidate for Scottish Try of the Decade, to which the Boks speedily replied, and then there was the cannon-fired Stuart Hogg burst and a little lineout magic trick.

It was only when Monsieur Poite lost the plot and carded Willie le Roux for daring to go for the interception of a long, loopy, floating Pete Horne pass (the rule being all about cynical negative play, but misinterpreted in this case to incentivise the defender playing more conservatively, and creating another tackle-ruck when we already have 400 a game, instead of creating a dramatic “try one direction or the other direction” risk), that the game slowed down to a bitterly fought 6-3 second half.

The visitors simply had to stifle and strangle the wily Scots to survive ten minutes.

The home team visibly tired by the end, which doomed their last big push against a larger pack. But it was the loss of Hogg to an ankle turn which seemed to hurt the most. He and Huw Jones seem to be the darlings of the adoring Murrayfield lasses, revved up by the pre-match light show.

The 65,000 Murrayfield assemblage is knowledgeable, committed, and yet respectful. The Bok placekickers received silence as they teed the ball up. All the tries were actually appreciated. Food was shared from Tupperware, and Famous Grouse from flasks. Nobody was a stranger.

We’ve read and seen so much about Rassie Erasmus’ resurgent Boks. The pack is highly mobile and skilled both at set piece and in the loose. The breakdown is done by committee, but it works. The omnipresent Pollard shone, Elton Jantjies is turning into a calming super-sub (I almost choked, writing those words), and the midfield, while still a blunt force instrument, is solid.

In the end, the Boks slowed the Scots’ ball down too much for the Scots to do what they wanted.

I prefer to rate the starting Jocks, using food comparisons:



Gordon Reid had to scrum against Frans Malherbe. Basically, it was a case of sheep’s pluck minced with salt, oatmeal, suet and onion inside a lining of intestines. Reid needs more marrow.

Stuart McInally was a lively hooker. He was like neeps and tatties, with butter and chives. The problem was he was up against High Veld ribs and chilli biltong.

Tighthead WP Nel had to deal with the Gingerman, the Ginga Ninja from Somerset-West. Nel ended up looking like salty Highland porridge, the kind you can pick up with your hands. Some might call it cold mielie pap, too.

Jonny Gray is the smaller of the Gray brothers. They both seem like strong salmon, with their colouring and flopping about and high energy and fresh young faces, without being that aggressive. The junior Gray was monumental in one mammoth maul drive by the Scots, which may have suckered them into going back to it one too many time, at the death.

The Scottish loose trio was supposed to be a full breakfast, with black pudding, lorne sausage, beans, brown sauce, and tattie scones, but in the end it was just bangers and mash, too easily cleaned off the plate, as the home team lost 13 turnovers, many of them to Thor and Mad Marx.

Greig Laidlaw is shortbread. That’s it. He’s been around since 1736. He’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea. And he won’t surprise you or let you down.

In contrast, Finn Russell is a very modern fusion dish. He is a schizo-sushi roll with a quail egg on top, with goat cheese, basil, pecans, spinach and jalapeños on a bed of Antojito slow cooked shoulder and a pulled pork chilli burrito on the side, with coleslaw, homemade chilli jam and beetroot chutney. He looks like a talented footballer who could play four or five sports, but might need to focus on rugby fundamentals first.


Huw Jones is ‘tablet:’ sugar, condensed milk and butter cooked together until crystalised, with a shot of whisky. He’s a baby-faced killer, with sweet offloads, and delectable lines.

His midfield partner, Horne, is just a vinegar-doused fish mixed with fluffy chips and brown sauce. Punching above his weight; a good man to have in the squad—a bit like Ryan Crotty?

Sean Maitland held off Papier long enough to set Jones and Horne free on their miracle gallop. He’s an Landamp;P drink, taller than you think, and a bit more sour, but effervescent and easy to down.

Tommy Seymour is a Scotch Pie, served hot or cold, it makes no difference. He’s double-crusted, and full of mutton. Ready to eat, carry, throw, or save for later.

Hogg is a battered Mars Bar, which is for some reason all the rage in Edinburgh. Stick a chocolate bar in the deep fryer. Bite it and all of the melted stuff oozes out and sparks a rush of endorphins.

All metaphors and jokes aside: go to a test match at Murrayfield if you can: for the city, the people, the entertainment, and the ‘soul.’ It’s the best game day experience in Northern Hemisphere rugby, in my opinion; maybe even anywhere.

Well, Cardiff awaits…
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by RDW_Scotland on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:15 pm

Laugh

That is absolutely outstanding - makes Jimbo look like a neanderthal of poetic writing by comparison!

You got a link?

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:22 pm

Yeah he certainly knows how to tell a story, with vivid description of the background
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by tigertattie on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:23 pm

“never fear an angry mob in Scotland. Disperse them immediately by taking up a collection.”

I’d be offended by this stereotype but it’s just too funny
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by Biltong on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:23 pm

The Roar
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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

Post by BigGee on Tue Nov 20, 2018 8:49 pm

The trouble with stereotypes is that they are often true!

Brilliant stuff!

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Re: Scotland v South Africa Saturday 17th November

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