Scotland 6N's Buildup Thread

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Post by bsando on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 12:19 pm

Scotland's 2019 6N Fixtures

Sat, 2 Feb, 14:15
Murrayfield Stadium
Scotland vs Italy

Sat, 9 Feb, 14:15
Murrayfield Stadium
Scotland vs Ireland

Sat, 23 Feb, 14:15
Stade de France
France vs Scotland

Sat, 9 Mar, 14:15
Murrayfield Stadium
Scotland vs Wales

Sat, 16 Mar, 17:00
Twickenham Stadium
England vs Scotland

2019 6N Squad
Scotland 6N's Buildup Thread Sru_la10

2019 6N Call ups

Matt Smith, Rob Harley, Alex Dunbar, Luke Crosbie, Henry Pyrgos, Stafford McDowall, Rory Hughes

2018 6N Squad

Scott Lawson, Stuart McInally, George Turner, Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Gordon Reid, D'Arcy Rae, Jon Welsh, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Ben Toolis, John Barclay (c), Magnus Bradbury, Luke Hamilton, Rob Harley, Hamish Watson, David Denton, Cornell du Preez, Ryan Wilson,

Nathan Fowles, Greig Laidlaw, Ali Price, Henry Pyrgos, Peter Horne, Ruaridh Jackson, Finn Russell, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris, Huw Jones, Duncan Taylor, Lee Jones, Sean Maitland, Byron McGuigan, Tommy Seymour, Stuart Hogg, Blair Kinghorn

2018 6N Call ups

Neil Cochrane, Fraser Brown, James Malcolm, Zander Fagerson, Darryl Marfo, WP Nel, Scott Cummings, Tim Swinson, Matt Fagerson, John Hardie, Josh Strauss, George Horne, Adam Hastings, Matt Scott, Richie Vernon, Tim Visser

Recent Final Placings

2018 3rd GT
2017 4th VC
2016 4th VC
2015 6th VC
2014 5th SJ


Last edited by bsando on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 2:43 pm; edited 8 times in total

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Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 2:05 pm

Any idea when the squad will be announced?

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Post by bsando on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 5:24 pm

Next week I think, going by the dates last years squad came out.

For Italy I think I’d like to see Sam Johnson make his first start at 12 with Jones at 13

I’d like to see a good chunk of Edinburgh in the pack with Skinner at 4 and Strauss at 8, due to Sale’s recent rise in form in the premiership I think he sneaks ahead.

Maitland and Kinghorn on the wings with Hogg at 15

Laidlaw and Russell

Possibly Reid on the bench alongside some Glasgow forwards, Horne and weir as backup 9/10 and Seymour as backup wing with kinghorn able to cover 15 if hoggy goes off.

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Post by 123456789. on Wed 09 Jan 2019, 6:02 pm

I'd like to see the First XV go out against Italy, a big win gives us momentum. Any slip up and the tournament is as good as over for us.
I suspect he'll try Russell and Hastings together again.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 9:30 am

bsando wrote:Next week I think, going by the dates last years squad came out.

For Italy I think I’d like to see Sam Johnson make his first start at 12 with Jones at 13

I’d like to see a good chunk of Edinburgh in the pack with Skinner at 4 and Strauss at 8, due to Sale’s recent rise in form in the premiership I think he sneaks ahead.

Maitland and Kinghorn on the wings with Hogg at 15

Laidlaw and Russell

Possibly Reid on the bench alongside some Glasgow forwards, Horne and weir as backup 9/10 and Seymour as backup wing with kinghorn able to cover 15 if hoggy goes off.

Cheers, tried to find when the squad was announced last year but couldn't find it.

On Strauss, I'm not sure he'll start.  Every time he's given a chance in a Scotland shirt he doesn't step up/hides.  He was good coming on as a sub in the Autumn, but when he got a start he was anonymous, which is the problem he had when he qualified.  He seems like he's a good club player who just isn't capable of stepping up against the better international teams.  We still struggle at 8,  but I wonder if Ashe has done enough to get a start.

Given the 'Toonbola' there is a very real chance that no matter what team we pick, it won't reflect what Toonie selects, but I'd think something along the following for the Italy game

1. Dell
2. McInally
3. Nel
4. J.Gray*
5. Gilco
6. Ritchie**
7. Watson
8. Ashe
9. Laidlaw
10. Russell
11. Seymour
12. ???
13. Jones
14. Maitland
15. Hogg

16. Ford
17. Allan
18. Berghan
19. Skinner
20. Wilson
21. Horne
22. Hastings
23. Kinghorn


* I think Gray is lucky to be there, but I can't see him being dropped.
** This is possibly more wishful thinking as chances are Wilson will take at least one position in the backrow, either 6 or 8.
12 - I genuinely have no idea who we will play there.  Might see Hastings, might see Dunbar (is he injured?) Scott is back in contact training so could sneak in (unlikely) Johnstone could get a shot, McDowell could be the man to step in.  Really we have a number of options, but arguably none of them are 1st choice and the place is up for grabs.  I guess if he was fit and in form, it's Dunbar's position, but I don't believe he's either currently.

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Post by cameljunior on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 10:48 am

By my reckoning 13 or 14 of the forwards for 2018 will not be in the squad this year

Scott Lawson, Stuart McInally, George Turner, Simon Berghan, Jamie Bhatti, Murray McCallum, Gordon Reid, D'Arcy Rae, Jon Welsh, Grant Gilchrist, Jonny Gray, Richie Gray, Ben Toolis, John Barclay (c), Magnus Bradbury, Luke Hamilton, Rob Harley, Hamish Watson, David Denton, Cornell du Preez, Ryan Wilson, Shocked
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Post by BigGee on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:40 am

Thonpson has not played for Scarlets since the HI back in the autumn, a real shame, but that will probably rule him out of the 6N and maybe the WC squad, depending on whether he gets back at the end of the season or not.

There is no stand out at No.8. Wilson, Denton (if he gets back to playing), Ashe and Strauss all have their plus and minus points but none of them really look like the real deal. fagerson, who Toonie may well pick, does seem a little bit lightweight. Lets see how he goes against Sarries next week.

It is a problem position for us no doubt. The rest of the backrow is fine but we do lack a bit carrier.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:41 am

Italy's 31-man Six Nations squad
Forwards (17)
Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Cherif Traore, Giosue Zilocchi, Luca Bigi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Marco Barbini, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse (capt), Braam Steyn, Jimmy Tuivaiti
Backs (14)
Guglielmo Palazzani, Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Ian McKinley, Giulio Bisegni, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Castello, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Benvenuti, Angelo Esposito, Jayden Hayward, Edoardo Padovani, Luca Sperandio

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Post by bsando on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:48 am

I had the same reaction when I first looked at it but I think the players replacing them are those who were injured last year and promising younger guys like Skinner, perhaps Crosbie, a Leicester hooker who is Scottish QF?
Nel is back playing regular rugby, Dell is back. So form and youth replacing experience and emergency call ups in many ways. I am quite excited actually, I think it’s going to be the best selection of forwards in many years. A good balance of form, experience and youth. Shame about Barclay and R Gray though.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:55 am

BigGee wrote:Thonpson has not played for Scarlets since the HI back in the autumn, a real shame, but that will probably rule him out of the 6N and maybe the WC squad, depending on whether he gets back at the end of the season or not.

There is no stand out at No.8. Wilson, Denton (if he gets back to playing), Ashe and Strauss all have their plus and minus points but none of them really look like the real deal. fagerson, who Toonie may well pick, does seem a little bit lightweight. Lets see how he goes against Sarries next week.

It is a problem position for us no doubt. The rest of the backrow is fine but we do lack a bit carrier.

Isn't Denton out with concussion as well? Slightly troubling the number of players we have with long term head injuries. Don't know if it's good that the clubs are taking them so seriously and not risking them, or if they are more serious than what we have normally seen.

I thought Ashe went through a real purple patch recently and despite the loss he also put in a power of work against Benetton according to the stats. I'd imagine he's got to have a chance of getting the no.8 shirt.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 12:01 pm

Denton has been out with concussion symptoms since end of September. He is now back in training (including contact) so teh symptoms should now be gone.

Wasps currently have a couple of guys who have missed the last 8 weeks with concussion, while 1/2p has now been ruled out of the first couple of weeks of the 6Ns.
I think clubs are taking more care, but even so the increase in time out due to head injuries is a worry (see RFU report released yesterday for more info)

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Post by bsando on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 12:04 pm

BigGee wrote:Thonpson has not played for Scarlets since the HI back in the autumn, a real shame, but that will probably rule him out of the 6N and maybe the WC squad, depending on whether he gets back at the end of the season or not.

There is no stand out at No.8. Wilson, Denton (if he gets back to playing), Ashe and Strauss all have their plus and minus points but none of them really look like the real deal. fagerson, who Toonie may well pick, does seem a little bit lightweight. Lets see how he goes against Sarries next week.

It is a problem position for us no doubt. The rest of the backrow is fine but we do lack a bit carrier.

Totally agree Gee, on form I would probably say Strauss because Sale just beat Sarries away and are working their way up the premiership ladder whilst Glasgow have dipped. I didn’t realise Thomson’s injuries were so significant, that’s a blow. I rate Fagerson and would love to see him grab the no.8 jersey, hopefully he can donthat over next few eeeks.

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 4:42 pm

Are we dark horses yet?

No 8 is our achillies heel. What we'd give for a Tallupe or a Billy V (whats wrong with us? have no Scots ever pumped a south sea islander???)

Strauss can't step up to the pace of international rugby
Denton has hands like jubblies
Wilson isnt even an 8 imo and at best is a decent club 6
Fagerson is young and lacks the destructive firepower at international level (at the mo, he may develope though)
Capt John was broken by those muppet Weegies
Blade could have been the answer but I dont think he'll be back this tourny and as such will struggle to get a WC spot.
Big Bad Bill Mata is Fijian Sad

I think Ashe needs to be the option for now. He may yet come good on his earlier promise.

Elsewhere we're not too bad really.

Props will be Dell and Nel. Loosehead cover provided by pretty much and loosehead at Edinburgh/Glasgow (who is SQ) and Tighthead will be Berghan

2nd row will be a coaches nightmare to pick. GG and Toolis are the form pairing with Skinner also playing well. JG is the incumbent but is a bit underwhelming at the mo.

Flankers should be Ritchie and Mish but lackof bulk at 8 may see Ritchie dropped/benched in favour of someone else (bit unfair really)

9 is Frodo. Love him or hate him, he's the rudder for us at the moment. Its Wee Horne as back up for me. Aldi Price was a one season wonder in my opinion.

10 is dancer. If he has poor day we're screwed. If he's injured, god knows really. Wuold be hastings I'd think

Ironically, cente was a position of strength two years ago but we're a bit light there again with injuries and players out of form. Stil lsay in a scotland Jersy it's sunny Dunny and Huw that starts with Pete the guff Horne on the bench as 10/12 cover.

Wings is any of Seymour/Maitland/Blairhorn

Hoggy at 15

Job done

PS, someone go find us an 8
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 8:57 am

23 for Italy (taking injuries into account):

1. Dell 2.McInally 3. Nel 4.J Gray 5.Gilchrist 6.Ritchie 7.Watson 8.Ashe 9.Laidlaw 10.Russell 11.Seymour 12.Dean 13.Jones 14.Graham 15.Hogg

16.Berghan 17.Brown 18.Bhatti 19.Toolis 20.Wilson 21.G Horne 22.P Horne 23.Maitland

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Post by BigGee on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 9:57 am

Squad is out on Wednesday and a few players have put up their hands for selection, Christine and JJ amongst them.

Remains to be seen though if Toonie wants to go into the 6N and onwards with two new centres with zero international experience. He may bring them into the squad, but not sure if they will get to play, their time may be in the next WC cycle. There is also Sam Johnson to factor in, who has looked good in his two games back from injury and we know Toonie likes him. Lets see how he gets on today in a must win game for Glasgow.

You would expect that Jonesy will start at 13 for Scotland even though he is not in top form for Glasgow and Rennie is not picking him. I think he will get a chance next week though and at least he won't get injured! He has got to much credit in the bank to be dropped and always seems to up his game in a Scotland shirt.

Darcy Graham is just crying out to be in the squad and the team, though I would say it is Seymour at risk and not Maitland. He is another one with a lot of credit and really needs to play well this week and next.

Gilchrist, Toolis and Gray J are likely to be the second rows and there is also Skinner to factor in, who has been playing in the backrow more often than not recently for Exeter. He is surely going to be in the mix somewhere. We still need a no.8 though and no-one is putting up their hand. Will Thompson be fit again? He has not played since November and it seems a big ask to chuck him straight back into an international setup. We are a bit desperate though!

There is of course the Toonie bolter to consider as well. He almost always brings someone else into the squad that we have not heard of or considered previously. Who is it likely to be this time?

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 12:45 pm

For some reason I had Skinner down as injured. You're right, he'll certainly make the 23. I'd replace Wilson on my bench with Skinner.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 3:44 pm

Anyone watching the Glasgow game just now will have just seen in a nutshell why Ryan Wilson isn't good enough for Scotland. He's an idiot.

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Post by demosthenes on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 9:11 pm

BigGee wrote:Squad is out on Wednesday and a few players have put up their hands for selection, Christine and JJ amongst them.

Remains to be seen though if Toonie wants to go into the 6N and onwards with two new centres with zero international experience. He may bring them into the squad, but not sure if they will get to play, their time may be in the next WC cycle. There is also Sam Johnson to factor in, who has looked good in his two games back from injury and we know Toonie likes him. Lets see how he gets on today in a must win game for Glasgow.

You would expect that Jonesy will start at 13 for Scotland even though he is not in top form for Glasgow and Rennie is not picking him. I think he will get a chance next week though and at least he won't get injured! He has got to much credit in the bank to be dropped and always seems to up his game in a Scotland shirt.

Darcy Graham is just crying out to be in the squad and the team, though I would say it is Seymour at risk and not Maitland. He is another one with a lot of credit and really needs to play well this week and next.

Gilchrist, Toolis and Gray J are likely to be the second rows and there is also Skinner to factor in, who has been playing in the backrow more often than not recently for Exeter. He is surely going to be in the mix somewhere. We still need a no.8 though and no-one is putting up their hand. Will Thompson be fit again? He has not played since November and it seems a big ask to chuck him straight back into an international setup. We are a bit desperate though!

There is of course the Toonie bolter to consider as well. He almost always brings someone else into the squad that we have not heard of or considered previously. Who is it likely to be this time?

Well, he did. Although Graham deserves to be in the squad, and, depending on how things go, may bench in one game.

Re back row, disappointed to see Matt Fagerson go off with what looked like a bad shoulder injury. I would have expected to see him in, or at least close to, the squad.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 10:13 pm

demosthenes wrote:
BigGee wrote:Squad is out on Wednesday and a few players have put up their hands for selection, Christine and JJ amongst them.

Remains to be seen though if Toonie wants to go into the 6N and onwards with two new centres with zero international experience. He may bring them into the squad, but not sure if they will get to play, their time may be in the next WC cycle. There is also Sam Johnson to factor in, who has looked good in his two games back from injury and we know Toonie likes him. Lets see how he gets on today in a must win game for Glasgow.

You would expect that Jonesy will start at 13 for Scotland even though he is not in top form for Glasgow and Rennie is not picking him. I think he will get a chance next week though and at least he won't get injured! He has got to much credit in the bank to be dropped and always seems to up his game in a Scotland shirt.

Darcy Graham is just crying out to be in the squad and the team, though I would say it is Seymour at risk and not Maitland. He is another one with a lot of credit and really needs to play well this week and next.

Gilchrist, Toolis and Gray J are likely to be the second rows and there is also Skinner to factor in, who has been playing in the backrow more often than not recently for Exeter. He is surely going to be in the mix somewhere. We still need a no.8 though and no-one is putting up their hand. Will Thompson be fit again? He has not played since November and it seems a big ask to chuck him straight back into an international setup. We are a bit desperate though!

There is of course the Toonie bolter to consider as well. He almost always brings someone else into the squad that we have not heard of or considered previously. Who is it likely to be this time?

Well, he did.  Although Graham deserves to be in the squad, and, depending on how things go, may bench in one game.

Re back row, disappointed to see Matt Fagerson go off with what looked like a bad shoulder injury.  I would have expected to see him in, or at least close to, the squad.

Agreed, He did play well, Glasgow's best back today. Seymour and Maitland are still the incumbents. Kinghorn and Graham may be the future, but they are not just going to walk into the shirts, injury is a far more likely mechanism.

At the moment, DG and BK are playing for the bench position and both have a pretty strong case for it. Over the course of the 6N, you would hope that they will get some game time.


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Post by reallybored on Sun 13 Jan 2019, 11:04 pm

15 - Hogg
14 - Graham
13 - Jones
12 - Horne
11 - Seymour
10 - Russell
9 - Laidlaw

8 - Wilson
7 - Watson
6 - Ritchie
5 - Gray
4 - Toolis
3 - Nel
2 - McInally
1 - Dell

16 - Kerr
17 - Allan
18 - Bergan
19 - Skinner
20 - Ashe
21 - Horne
22 - Grigg
23 - Kinghorn

24 - Cherry, 25 - Sutherland, 26 - McCallum, 27 - Gilchrist, 28 - Crosbie, 29 - Graham
30 - Pyrgos, 31 - Hastings, 32 - Johnson, 33 - Maitland

34 - Stewart, 35 - Rae, 36 - Cummings, 37 - Price, 38 - Weir, 39 - Dean, 40 - McGuigan

If they return from injury;

Brown, Turner, Fagerson, Bradbury, Scott, Dunbar, Bennett

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 9:32 am

Wilson is a bloomin odd one.

We have one poster saying he should be nowhere near the squad as he is an idiot while we have another poster saing he is the beating heart of the Glasgow pack!

How do you solve a problem like wilson
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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 9:43 am

It is the same old same old regarding Ryan Wilson.

He probably should not be playing for Scotland, but he almost certainly will be until someone else really puts their hand up.

Another option, Matt Fagerson, looks like he took a bad one on sunday and he may not be available now either.

You get what it says on the tin with Ryan Wilson, workrate, aggression, 100% effort and someone who leads the team, along with a few brainfarts. The pluses are often greater than the minus.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 10:05 am

BigGee wrote:It is the same old same old regarding Ryan Wilson.

He probably should not be playing for Scotland, but he almost certainly will be until someone else really puts their hand up.

Another option, Matt Fagerson, looks like he took a bad one on sunday and he may not be available now either.

You get what it says on the tin with Ryan Wilson, workrate, aggression, 100% effort and someone who leads the team, along with a few brainfarts. The pluses are often greater than the minus.

See i don't see it.  In the games this season where he's supposed to be leading, he brainfarts like you say, and concedes penalties against his team.

I realise I don't see as much of him as folk who go to scotstoun every couple of weeks, but his leadership seems questionable, his technical ability is worse than those he is up against.

I would provide a herculean level of workrate, and give it 100% but I should be no where near a pro team, let alone an international setup.

I know he divides opinion, but if his route to the team is based upon he tries hard, then that should never be enough by itself.

He's not an effective 8 (I don't believe he normally plays there at club level) and he's technically not as good as the like of Ritchie, hardie, watson, barclay, etc at 6 & 7, so there should be no real reason to involve him, other than he'll try hard at 8.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 10:29 am

EWT Spoons wrote:
BigGee wrote:It is the same old same old regarding Ryan Wilson.

He probably should not be playing for Scotland, but he almost certainly will be until someone else really puts their hand up.

Another option, Matt Fagerson, looks like he took a bad one on sunday and he may not be available now either.

You get what it says on the tin with Ryan Wilson, workrate, aggression, 100% effort and someone who leads the team, along with a few brainfarts. The pluses are often greater than the minus.

See i don't see it.  In the games this season where he's supposed to be leading, he brainfarts like you say, and concedes penalties against his team.

I realise I don't see as much of him as folk who go to scotstoun every couple of weeks, but his leadership seems questionable, his technical ability is worse than those he is up against.

I would provide a herculean level of workrate, and give it 100% but I should be no where near a pro team, let alone an international setup.

I know he divides opinion, but if his route to the team is based upon he tries hard, then that should never be enough by itself.

He's not an effective 8 (I don't believe he normally plays there at club level) and he's technically not as good as the like of Ritchie, hardie, watson, barclay, etc at 6 & 7, so there should be no real reason to involve him, other than he'll try hard at 8.

You make it sound like he has just rolled in from Old Rottinghams's third XV. Wilson is actually a very skilful player. He carries, he links, he tackles, he hits rucks. There are maybe players who each do one of those things better, but not many that do all of them as well. All the recent Scottish coaches seem to haver noticed that and I guess that is why they keep picking him.

No point comparing him to Hardie and Watson, they play a different position. Barclay and Ritchie may well be better 6's than him these days as well but the 6 million dollar question that remains is who plays No.8 for Scotland. If we had a better option, then it is quite likely that they would have gotten a lot of caps by now and unfortunately I am not really seeing any of the alternatives as offering a better option.

Until they do, I imagine Wilson will keep getting more caps.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 12:54 pm

I would tend to push Ashe or Bradbury forward for the 8 jersey. Bradbury may be back soon and if he can regain his form he should find a place. Ashe has dropped off slightly, but is probably the form healthy blindside.

The problem with Wilson is he is too small at international level for 6/8 if there is not a Denton or Strauss filling the other position and he is not a true 7 where we have better options.

Ashe at blindside with Wilson at 8 is probably my starting 6/8 combo with Ritchie benching for Italy at the moment. Getting Bradbury back, I would push Ashe to 8 and push Wilson out the squad.

Also RB, surely Stewart is ahead of Cherry for the back-up spot. Probably fighting Kerr and Ford for the back-up spot against Italy.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 1:21 pm

From what Rennie was saying after the match, both Glasgow hookers are likely to be back in the next few weeks, which will be good for Scotland and Glasgow.

Stewart and Kerr again are both players for the future, not this WC cycle.

Unless Bradbury gets back soon playing, I expect the same can be said of him.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 3:59 pm

Bradbury at least has some credit in the bank in that he's played for Scotland already. He could miss the whole 6Ns and could still be in the WC sqaud if he gets a run of games in March/April/May.

Ironically his biggest rivals (for 6) are his clubmates Barclay and Ritchie. His biggest rivals at 8 are Blade Thomson and Ashe/Fagerson.

Other than possibly Ritchie as hes played consitantly well all season without injury, no one in that list is really a stand out candidate so Bradbury has it all to play for still.

Although there is the coaches favourite, Batman. An engima wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a kebab shop tussle.

We're fine for ye olde flankers really but 8 is our problem position but at least there is promise there amoung the younsters. Lets hope they reach that potential.
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Post by RDW on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:24 pm

Was just thinking we could do with a 6N buildup thread, turns out there has been one for a while!

There's no secret about where Toonie's biggest selection dilemmas lie - Number 8 and centres. If only Bradbury or Thomson were fit the decision would be much easier.

I have no idea who should play number 8, but whoever does we're going to be at a disadvantage compared to all the other nations Personally I don't think Skinner is an international class 6 - he's too slow and lumbering for the gameplan we play IMO - but he's only had 1 game there for Scotland so I shouldn't write him off yet. If we play Skinner at 6 there's probably room for a more 'lightweight' 8 like Ashe. Away to France Skinner at 6 might be a good shout as they are always hugely physical games.

As for centres I think Johnson and Jones will be the first choice, with Horne probably getting time at 12 and maybe Grigg at 13 (although his defence hasn't been great at international level). Dean and JJ are the form choices but the 6N isn't the time to experiment, especially not the 6N before the world cup. They both deserve to be in the wider training squads though and may still get their chance depending on injuries.

There will also be some interesting calls in the back 3 but at least this will be trying to pick the best option as opposed to the least worst! Whoever he picks out of Hogg, Kinghorn, Maitland, Seymour and Graham we're going to have a dangerous back 3.

Anyway here's my team for Italy:

1 Dell
2 McInally
3 Nel
4 Gray
5 Gilchrist
6 Ritchie
7 Watson
8 Ashe

9 Laidlaw
10 Russell
11 Maitland
12 Johnson
13 Jones
14 Graham
15 Hogg

Subs - Allan, whoever the feck is fit, Berghan, Toolis, Skinner, Horne jnr, Hastings, Kinghorn

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:39 pm

I am not sure why everyone keeps mentioning Ashe as a potential saviour at No.8. He has not been near the Scotland team for years and has never really fulfilled his early promise, raking up a lot of injuries in the process.

He has had a better run this year and has played some good games, but remains very inconsistent. A couple of times Rennie has picked him ahead of Wilson in big games, notably the first derby game and he was fairly anonymous. He did not play well against Benetton either. Nothing he has done this year really gives you the confidence that he might step up to international level and you get the feeling that after a bit of dithering about it, Rennie will pick Wilson over him for the really big games.

This weekend against Sarries might be his last chance to really put down a marker. I am assuming that he will play due to the injuries to Fagerson and Gibbins, but the squad will have been picked by then.

In the absence of anyone else fit (and I still hope that Thompson, Fagerson and Bradbury might get there at some stage in the tournament), I think the biggest challenges to Wilson for the no.8 will come from Strauss and Denton, who it is reported is almost back to fitness as well. Or he may decided to play Barclay there if he can get himself fit. It would be tough to go into a 6N though with no-one to carry a decent ball in the back row.

Inside centre is maybe not so bad now that Johnson is back to fitness and form and he may bring Christine and/or McDowell into the squad to have a look at. There are at least some promising options there.

Denton, Wilson, Strauss to some extent, are all experienced international players and that will give them some credit. We simply can't be doing to much experimenting at this stage in the procedings.

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Post by RDW on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:44 pm

I don't think anyone is calling Ashe a saviour - I just think everyone is struggling to get much enthusiasm for picking Wilson!

Thing is, if Wilson is at 8 we know exactly what we're going to get - lots of comments after the game along the lines of "what did Wilson actually bring to that game / I can't believe that penalty he gave away"

If we pick Ashe at least there's a chance we'll see him in his best form. If not then we've not lost much, as the alternative is Wilson!

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:50 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:I don't think anyone is calling Ashe a saviour - I just think everyone is struggling to get much enthusiasm for picking Wilson!

Thing is, if Wilson is at 8 we know exactly what we're going to get - lots of comments after the game along the lines of "what did Wilson actually bring to that game / I can't believe that penalty he gave away"

If we pick Ashe at least there's a chance we'll see him in his best form. If not then we've not lost much, as the alternative is Wilson!

I am not overly enthused about Wilson either, but just picking someone because they are not him and without any obvious justification for them being in the team is not the answer either.

It is a bit like Brexit, we all know the problem, but know one knows the answer!

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:52 pm

Someone has made a wee rumbling about this earlier, but I think too many were shocked to the core to discuss it further, but, is there a chance that Hogg could be dropped out the starting XV? He's really not been playing well, is he carrying an injury?

As a side, that try at the weekend with Big Bill Mata, actually started with Blairhorn picking up the ball and seeing something was on and giving Mata the ball (incidentally, when watching a replay of that, if you have "how great thou art" by the tenors playing in the background, it's quite fitting)

So yes, could we see Hogg "rested" for the italy game?
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Post by RDW on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 4:57 pm

tigertattie wrote:Someone has made a wee rumbling about this earlier, but I think too many were shocked to the core to discuss it further, but, is there a chance that Hogg could be dropped out the starting XV? He's really not been playing well, is he carrying an injury?

As a side, that try at the weekend with Big Bill Mata, actually started with Blairhorn picking up the ball and seeing something was on and giving Mata the ball (incidentally, when watching a replay of that, if you have "how great thou art" by the tenors playing in the background, it's quite fitting)

So yes, could we see Hogg "rested" for the italy game?

I wouldn't say he's been playing badly, he's just not been impacting games as much as we're used to - and that goes back to the AIs too where he was quiet.

Hogg is going to start - he's a big game player - but he knows he's got seriously competition from Kinghorn now!

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 5:15 pm

For what it is worth, here is my team. The Italy game maybe affords us the opportunity for a little bit of experimentation, but not very much. We need to have our best team out and gelling as often as we can and we really need to put down a marker in this game. We have got a habit of starting slowly and this is a very winnable game, with our competition being as good as over if we lose. We will be red hot favourites as well, which never sits well, look how we struggled to put them away in Rome last Spring. I was there and it was painful.

1. Dell - no-one really challenging him, despite him not even being 1st choice at Edinburgh
2. McInally - probably the player we can least afford to get injured
3. Nel - a shoe in, back to his best form
4. Gray J - not quite a shoe in these days, but to much credit to ignore
5. Gilchrist - becoming a shoe in
6. Ritchie - could make the shirt his own
7. Watson - nothing to say
8. Wilson/Strauss/Denton - but it will probably be Wilson
9. Laidlaw - still the boss
10. Russell - blooming in France
11. Seymour - still playing well
12. Johnson - ready for a debut
13. Jones - still our best OC
14. Maitland - another shoe in
15. Hoggy - nothing to say

subs

Allen - best of the rest at LH atm
Brown/Turner - whichever one gets back fit the first
Berghan - keeping the jersey warm for Zander, who will hopefully be back during the tournament
Skinner - can sub 2nd row or back row
Hardie - back in good form, explosive impact of bench
Horne G - will be benching till GL steps down after WC
Horne P - covers FH/IC, Johnson more likely to need subbing than Finn
Graham - It was a toss between him and BK, but he needs some more exposure


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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 5:20 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Someone has made a wee rumbling about this earlier, but I think too many were shocked to the core to discuss it further, but, is there a chance that Hogg could be dropped out the starting XV? He's really not been playing well, is he carrying an injury?

As a side, that try at the weekend with Big Bill Mata, actually started with Blairhorn picking up the ball and seeing something was on and giving Mata the ball (incidentally, when watching a replay of that, if you have "how great thou art" by the tenors playing in the background, it's quite fitting)

So yes, could we see Hogg "rested" for the italy game?

I wouldn't say he's been playing badly, he's just not been impacting games as much as we're used to - and that goes back to the AIs too where he was quiet.

Hogg is going to start - he's a big game player - but he knows he's got seriously competition from Kinghorn now!

Hoggy played well enough at the weekend, I don't think there is much wrong with his form. His main trouble this year and last is that he has been injured a lot. He does seem a bit more fragile these days than he was when younger and BK is likely to come into the team at some stage in the tournament as he, or one of the other back three will surely get injured.

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Post by RDW on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 5:27 pm

BigGee wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Someone has made a wee rumbling about this earlier, but I think too many were shocked to the core to discuss it further, but, is there a chance that Hogg could be dropped out the starting XV? He's really not been playing well, is he carrying an injury?

As a side, that try at the weekend with Big Bill Mata, actually started with Blairhorn picking up the ball and seeing something was on and giving Mata the ball (incidentally, when watching a replay of that, if you have "how great thou art" by the tenors playing in the background, it's quite fitting)

So yes, could we see Hogg "rested" for the italy game?

I wouldn't say he's been playing badly, he's just not been impacting games as much as we're used to - and that goes back to the AIs too where he was quiet.

Hogg is going to start - he's a big game player - but he knows he's got seriously competition from Kinghorn now!

Hoggy played well enough at the weekend, I don't think there is much wrong with his form. His main trouble this year and last is that he has been injured a lot. He does seem a bit more fragile these days than he was when younger and BK is likely to come into the team at some stage in the tournament as he, or one of the other back three will surely get injured.

I suspect the issue is, like Jones, Hogg plays much better for Scotland than he does for Glasgow!

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 5:57 pm

Problem with no.8 is there are no standouts.  Wilson I think we all agree isn't the ideal choice for the job.  Ashe has been out the Scotland picture for a while, but largely that has been down to him being injured/coming back from injury/about to get injured again.  He's done well for Glasgow this season and even in games where they've not played well, his stats still show he had a decent game (Benetton).  Is he the savour of the national team...no...is he better than Wilson...maybe.

On the other runners and riders:
M.Fagerson - Jury is still out, he looks at times like he could be good, other times he looks too wee/not ready yet.  His injury at the weekend probably hasn't helped his chances
Bradbury - Could have been an option if he was fit, but as he's not, very very little chance of him being involved
Strauss - Generally fails to make the step up to international level, in his sub appearance in the autumn he looked brilliant and a clear front runner for the no.8 position.  Next game was anonymous.  I don't think he can be trusted.
Denton - Looked ok in the 6n last year, with the usual caveats of not being able to pass/offload.  However he's also been out injured for ages so again probably out of contention (at least for the early games)
Barclay - Not really an 8 but has played there.  But injured so no chance of making it.

So of the players capable of playing 8 we seem to be down to Wilson or Ashe.  I know some will feel Strauss is the man for the job and his club form has been good.  But he really struggles to bring that form to international level.

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Post by RDW on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 6:05 pm

Strauss has been a regular for Sale lately who are in great form. As you say Spoons we don't know if that means he'll be any good for Scotland.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Jan 2019, 6:23 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:Strauss has been a regular for Sale lately who are in great form. As you say Spoons we don't know if that means he'll be any good for Scotland.

To go back to another Brexit analogy

He may be the least worst option!

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Post by tigertattie on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 10:02 am

I'm not sure about Strauss, he just seems to not be able to cope with the pace of International Rugby. Yeah is is in good form at Sale but he was in barnstorming form for Glasgow and then just meh when he played for Scotland.

And whats this talk of Berghan keeping the jersey warm for Zander? Zander can't scrum and will need to go some way to getting selected. I'm not saying write the boy off, but Berghan is a far better scrummager.
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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 2:15 pm

tigertattie wrote:I'm not sure about Strauss, he just seems to not be able to cope with the pace of International Rugby. Yeah is is in good form at Sale but he was in barnstorming form for Glasgow and then just meh when he played for Scotland.

And whats this talk of Berghan keeping the jersey warm for Zander? Zander can't scrum and will need to go some way to getting selected. I'm not saying write the boy off, but Berghan is a far better scrummager.

Z Fagerson started the season really well. It gets forgotten with the unlucky leg sweep injury that he had looked like a man reborn in the scrum and had a bit of edge about his carrying. Him and Kebble both stepped up massively. If Glasgow make the quarters, he is going to be a big boost

Berghan has not been overwhelming and has taken a half step back. McCallum has been given exactly zero opportunity. Welsh has been injured (or at least not playing much) for Newcastle and is in Toonie's dog house. Rae is solid, yet unspectacular and is probably a nice 5th choice to have. Low's Scotland career is done.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 15 Jan 2019, 2:42 pm

What Hazel says!

Zander was scrimmaging great before he was injured and carries much better than any of the other props. Him and Nelly are pretty much interchangeable for my money, Bergs is a half decent backup

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Post by reallybored on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 12:41 am

For me, Bradbury is the obvious answer at 8.

Better skills than Denton, bigger than Wilson and Fagerson, more destructive carrier than Ashe.  Plus he's got a bit of niggle which helps.

The 6 Nations will probably be too soon but assuming he stays fit, would like to see him installed at 8 for the RWC.


6 - Ritchie, 7 - Watson, 8 - Bradbury

20 - Wilson / Fagerson / Barclay / Denton / Thompson?

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Post by RDW on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 8:48 am

Squad is announced at 09:30

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Post by BigGee on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 8:57 am

Are we expecting any bolters?

With a Toonie squad, it would be almost rude not to!

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Post by RDW on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 9:02 am

Jake Kerr is the only possibility I can think of, but he was interviewed yesterday and didn't exactly sound like Toonie had been in touch. I'm sure that will change if Brown or Turner don't recover in time!

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Post by nickj on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 9:37 am

39's out:

SCOTLAND SQUAD: 2019 GUINNESS SIX NATIONS
FORWARDS (22)
Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Adam Ashe (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
David Cherry (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 17 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 28 caps
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – uncapped
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 47 caps
John Hardie (Newcastle Falcons) – 16 caps
Jake Kerr (Leicester Tigers) – uncapped
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors) - uncapped
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 3 caps
Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 17 caps
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 23 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps

BACKS (17)
Chris Dean (Edinburgh) – uncapped
Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 1 cap
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 6 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 65 caps
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 38 caps
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 10 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
Greig Laidlaw CAPTAIN (Clermont Auvergne) – 66 caps
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 37 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 40 caps
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 46 caps

Unavailable through injury: John Barclay (Edinburgh), Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors), Lewis Carmichael (Edinburgh), David Denton (Leicester Tigers), Cornell Du Preez (Worcester Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Richie Gray (Toulouse), Luke Hamilton (Edinburgh), Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh), Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh), Duncan Taylor (Saracens), Blade Thomson (Scarlets), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons).

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Post by bsando on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 9:47 am

It's a huge injury list but theres still good depth in the squad. Wow

Nice to have Hardie back and great to see Stewart and Kerr there too!

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Post by BigGee on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 9:56 am

Well looks like he has pulled in all three aspiring hookers Kerr, Cherry and Stewart to have a look at them, it does not look as if Brown or Turner is likely to be back in time for the first two games.

Other than that Christine is the only real bolter and in truth he was talked up and has probably earned his place on recent performances, so not to much of a surprise.

The injury list is pretty staggering though and the fact that we can put out such a strong squad despite it is a testimony to the depth that we have now, unprecedented in my years of following Scotland.

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Post by nickj on Wed 16 Jan 2019, 10:05 am

My primary concerns:

- Loosehead, none of the named options are playing as regularly as they need to. Here's hoping they step up, as admittedly they have done to date.
- Hooker, hoping we see Brown and Turner back mid Feb.
- 8, Wilson, Ashe and Strauss in order of preference, not sure I'd pick a back row of Watson, Ricthie and Wilson mind
- Centre, Pete Horne at 12? Or do we go with Johnson? Dunbar is not listed as injured, while I know he's out of form, I'd still like him in the squad.

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