Scotland vs Italy 6 nations. Sat 2nd Feb

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 9:47 am

Scotland Vs Italy

Location: BT Murrayfield

KO: 14.15

TV: BBC(I think)



Last time out:
Italy 27 - 29 Scotland

Head to Head
Played:  19
Sco wins: 12
Italy wins: 7

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:13 am

Said it before and I'll say it again.

Italy are as bad today as they've ever been. It's no insult to them, it's purely the truth. On their day in Italy they can cause a problem, but away from home they really shouldnt be causing us any alarm.

If we don't beat them by over 30 points then we can't have any claim to being a condender in this year's 6Ns.
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Post by RDW on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:26 am

Given that Benneton currently sit 2nd in Conference B I'm not sure we can really say Italian rugby is as bad as it has ever been! Whether this translates to the national team is a different story, and they only won 2 games all of last year, but Italy has been in a much, much worse state than they currently are.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:40 am

Got to agree with RDW.  Benetton have massively improved over the last couple of years, and I would imagine the bulk of players for Italy will come from them.  Certainly would be unfair to suggest Italy are as bad as they've ever been.

Also I don't think we can claim to be a contender this year, given we've not really been a contender since it became the 6 nations.  

With our extensive injury list and paper thin depth in a few key positions, I think we will struggle to do much this year.  We should beat Italy in this game, but I reckon it'll be a close edgy affair, as they always tend to be.  

All I am looking for in this game is a win and no injuries.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:52 am

My expectations are sufficiently low this year to avoid disappointment. It would, however, be nice to feel we've made more progress. To be honest it feels a bit smoke and mirrors with toonie at the moment, i think scotland have been flying by the seat of their pants for rather too long and they're going to need some more pragmatism. I feel a lot of our initial success was down to Vern. We should be clinical and putting italy to the sword and not in the sense of running around flinging crazy passes but just dominating them, which we've not done since the last 6Ns with Vern.

I want to see variation to the gameplan this year rather than pass it to finn and see what he does. Hopefully his time at racing will have helped vary his game. The latest interview with laidlaw doesn't fill me with hope as it suggests Finn IS their gameplan.

I am looking forward ti seeing if danny wilson has a positive impact, we should be targeting rucking as an area of improvement.


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Post by LondonTiger on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 10:59 am

EWT Spoons wrote:Also I don't think we can claim to be a contender this year, given we've not really been a contender since it became the 6 nations.  
 In recent years Scotland have been great at home in the 6Ns (unbeaten since losing to England in opening round of 2016) but struggled away (only beaten Italy). With an ever stronger team this home record could easily ensure no team gets a GS this year, but the away form suggests that Scotland will be kingmakers but not king.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 11:11 am

Italy's best ranking was 8th in 2007. They've normally floated around the 10th mark with the occasional slippage to 12th when they have struggled to register a win in the 6Ns.

For the last two years though, they've sat at 15th with the US, Tonga and Georgia going above them!

When we were as equally gash (though even we haven't dropped as far as 15th), there was talk of us or Italy being dropped if the 6Ns went to a promotion/relegation battle.

So yeah, Benneton aside, Italy have been as bad as ever. Yes treat all teams with respect as yo uneed to earn a win, not jsut turn up. But do you think if NZ rocked up against them anything other than a win would be accepted?

When I played, our games were often won and lost in the clubhouse before even putting the boots on. the whole "Our opponents are a very good team and we'll struggle to beat them unless we play at our very best" or "This shower are knickers, we'll beat them easy" were often the moral of the story.

We could beat Ireland at home (55% to 45% in thier favour) , we should beat Wales at home (55% to 45% to us), but we should beat italy at home (80% to 20% in our favour)
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Post by bsando on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 11:20 am

Nice comments above, I tend to agree.

Expectations wise I think there is definitely cause to expect 3/5 wins but it is all going to hinge on form and injuries to key players. I like that our game plan is more creative and less blueprinted compared to rival 6N teams. Nel is looking good which is a big bonus at scrum time and Edinburgh forwards have made big improvements this season so all hope is not lost despite the injury list.

Italy look like they’ll be tougher to beat this year and Scotland need to be sharp. The fact Laidlaw and Russell are both playing well for top teams gives me hope but I’m expecting a nervy game simply because it’s the opening game and both sides will be expecting to win. A first half like the one 2 years ago to Ireland would be preferable and would really allow Scotland to build a bit of confidence (not too much now!) going into the Ireland game.

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Post by 123456789. on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:19 pm

I’m not sure there a single Italy player I’d take over the Scotland options at this point in time. In fairness I’ve not seen a lot of Italian rugby this year but still. Praise perhaps but he’s not been the same player the last few years.

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Post by RDW on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:20 pm

I'd take Parisee in a heartbeat, even if he is a shadow of his former self!

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:31 pm

Parisee probably still should not be playing for Italy, he really looked to have lost more than a yard of pace last season and hard to imagine he has gotten it back again, but as the teams talisman is pretty much undroppable. He does not frighten teams the way he used to though, not that any of our No.8s do either!

They are at some point in the near future, going to have to start to live without him. That will probably be after the WC though.


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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:41 pm

I would probably take their BS, Negri is it? Jake Polledri also would be great as an abrasive flanker at 6. Not sure they fit what we want from our opensides

They have some good players coming through in the squad. The academy's and two pro clubs are starting to produce some solid internationals.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:47 pm

Connor O'Shea is doing a great job out there and Italy are no doubt improving, but it just does take a long time. Look how long and how many false dawns we had before finally coming to grips with professional rugby.

They may not get there on this WC cycle but I think they will be a lot better by the next time around.

They actually have a much bigger playing base than we do and are a sleeping giant if they could tap into that successfully.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 3:51 pm

Just saw the pictures the SRU put up on twitter of training today.

Sam Johnson looking like he was playing a full part in it. Looks like he will be fit for the weekend. I actually think he has to try someone new Johnson/McDowel/Dean at 12. We are just so exposed, in terms of experienced resources and there is a pressing need to get someone up to speed with international rugby prior to the WC.

An opener against Italy is never going to be a better game to do that.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 4:06 pm

and so my stab at the team:

1. Dell
2. McInally
3. Nel
4. Gilchrist
5. Toolis
6. Ritchie
7. Hardie
8. Wilson
9. Laidlaw
10. Russell
11. Seymour
12. Johnson
13. Jones H
14. Graham
15. Hogg

Subs
Allen/Bhatti - nothing really between them
Kerr - just edges it for his better throwing
Berghan
Skinner - JG gets another weeks rest
Graham
Horne G
Horne P
Kinghorn

I don't think there is any great risk in starting Graham for this game, he can easily bring Maitland back in for the harder defensive games. All of Kinghorn, Maitland, Seymour, Hogg and Graham are playing well and to some extent are inter changeable. Graham needs exposure at this level though, so this may be his chance, he has played well enough now to deserve it.

I am not 100% sold on the backrow either but am struggling to come up with a better combo with what we have available.

As I said above, surely he needs to try someone else at IC, but needs some cover on the bench to allow for this if it is not working well. Hastings remains a bench option over Horne P as well and also needs game time at this level.

Despite the importance of winning this game and getting off to a good start, I think Toonie does need to do a little bit of forward thinking. In a way, I wish the WC was another year away when I think we would be a lot more ready for it.

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Post by RDW on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 4:12 pm

BigGee wrote:and s In a way, I wish the WC was another year away when I think we would be a lot more ready for it.

Thing is, at the end of last 6N we looked in pretty good shape for the world cup! Some fantastic performances, players in great form and youngsters coming through. In all honesty the last year has been a bit underwhelming, not helped by key injuries.

It's amazing the difference a year makes. On that point, the WC is still ages away so I'm sure we'll still have more surprises in store.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 4:16 pm

I'd be happy enough with that team. Obviously the caveats around Wilson exist, but with the lack of anyone throwing their hands up demanding a place at 8, then Wilson it is.

The only thing is Johnson, I'd possibly swap him and P.Horne around. So we can bring Johnson on if the game is going well, my concern would be that Johnson can't step up and we need to bring Horne on early.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 5:06 pm

EWT Spoons wrote:I'd be happy enough with that team.  Obviously the caveats around Wilson exist, but with the lack of anyone throwing their hands up demanding a place at 8, then Wilson it is.

The only thing is Johnson, I'd possibly swap him and P.Horne around.  So we can bring Johnson on if the game is going well, my concern would be that Johnson can't step up and we need to bring Horne on early.

If Johnson is not good enough to start against Italy with Russell on the inside and H Jones on the outside, then he probably should not be playing at all. Johnson was trusted as a starter in big European games that are the closest you can get to Six Nations and was outdoing both Horne and Dunbar. P Horne has not played in several weeks and is not a clear first choice option. He can sit on the bench and play the last 20.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 5:14 pm

I am with HS on this one. I don't think we will learn a lot about Johnson bringing him on with 20 mins to play and the game already won.

We need to give the prospective 12s a proper test.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 5:37 pm

So long as it doesnt cause a repeat of cardiff last year, I'm all for it
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Post by 123456789. on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 6:45 pm

Stuart Hogg seems to have been given the Sean Lamont gig of announcing that Scotland can win the six nations. It does carry a bit more weight from Hogg in fairness.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:05 pm

I wish they wouldn't announce it in the media every time before the six nations. Just focus on beating italy first!!
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Post by jimbopip on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:06 pm

One of our Eastern brothers said elsewhere that the front row is pretty much nailed on, as is Frodo at 9, but everything else is up for grabs.
Well, I beg to differ. I think that the nailed on part of the selection for Saturday (bearing in mind that the Tombola will spin, even if only for a quarter turn) is that Johnson will make his debut at 12. Two reasons; we need to cap him, and we're running out of 12's who could play in the WC without causing us to die of embarrassment. Also, Toonie will want to see the Hastings-Dancer 10-12 ploy played again, against more challenging opposition. So given that Furra Linee has been hors de combat for the last couple of weeks I expect to see hastings start at 10 with Dancer on the bench. Dancer can play 12 if we're well ahead and Hastings is enjoying himself, or he can play 10 if we need him to get us out of a hole.

1. Dell
2. McInally
3. Nel
4. Gilchrist
5. Toolis
6. Ritchie
7. Hardie
8. Wilson
9. Laidlaw
10. RussellHastings, see above
11. Seymour
12. Johnson
13. Jones H
14. Graham King Blarehorn, Graham as sub
15. Hogg

Subs
Allen/Bhatti - nothing really between them
Kerr - just edges it for his better throwing
Berghan
Skinner - JG gets another weeks rest
Graham
Horne G
Horne PDancer
Kinghorn

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Post by jimbopip on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:14 pm

On the subject of 12's for the World Cup; Alex Dunbar has been released back to Glasgow while Stafford McDowall has replaced him in the 6 Nations squad. Shocked

Methinks Dunbar is too far off the pace, in terms of match fitness if nothing else, to have any reasonable chance of playing against Italy and Toonie is telling the rest of them that no-one gets in on past glories. I hope this is the wake up call Dunbar needs and we see him back to his best soon. The alternative version is that he is carrying an injury and we may have seen the best of him for both club and country Sad

If McDowall was to get on the bench on Saturday I would not be worried about him stepping onto the pitch at sometime.

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Post by reallybored on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:29 pm

What is the chat on Horne and Johnson, are they both expected to be fit?

I think it’d be a waste to start Horne ahead of Johnson. Horne is a known quantity, he’s got plenty of experience and has played in some big matches for Scotland. Johnson is totally untested and I’d much prefer to see him get a first start against Italy at home rather than later in the tournament.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:44 pm

reallybored wrote:What is the chat on Horne and Johnson, are they both expected to be fit?

I think it’d be a waste to start Horne ahead of Johnson. Horne is a known quantity, he’s got plenty of experience and has played in some big matches for Scotland. Johnson is totally untested and I’d much prefer to see him get a first start against Italy at home rather than later in the tournament.

There was a picture of Johnson put out on the SRU twitter feed today, he was running around at training, so can probably assume he is fit. Horne not so sure, but nothing to suggest he is not, the Glasgow line was that it would have been a couple of weeks and they have kept him in the squad, so likely ready to go as well. Whether that means he would not benefit from another week off remains to be seen though. He could be held back, have a game for Glasgow, then come back for the next block.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 9:59 pm

The same pictures saw Fraser Brown training in what was at least semi contact so he can’t be far off returning to fitness thankfully
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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue 29 Jan 2019, 11:21 am

Anyone on here going to this one?

Like others on here, I expect Johnson to start if, as seems to be the case, he's recovered from his HIA. I posted a while back that I think he could be a good answer to the IC conundrum, providing a decent mix of Horne's distribution skills and Dunbar's physicality. It's also worth remembering that Toonie is clearly a fan. In the big Euro games he used to generally go with Johnson-Dunbar in the centres (this with Horne/Bennett available), and he brought him into the Scotland squad as soon as he became SQ in the autumn.

Other than that, Jonny Gray could probably do with another week off to get himself right, and with three other good lock options we can certainly afford to leave him out. Good news if Brown is getting close to a return, we could really do with him back, otherwise we're rather relying on McInally staying fit.

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Post by RDW on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 11:51 am

http://www.606v2.com/t68387-six-nations-competition-week-1

I'm going - I wasn't originally planning to but I've got a funeral in Edinburgh on Monday so am making the trip north.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 12:08 pm

I'm also going.

Sorry to hear about the funeral RDW.

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Post by Pie on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 3:37 pm

2019 Spoon decider....my money is on a resounding Italian defeat.

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Post by tigertattie on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 7:18 pm

When is the team out? I thought it would be today
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Post by EWT Spoons on Wed 30 Jan 2019, 8:17 pm

Tomorrow mate.

I normally fall into the thinking the team should be out sooner than it is trap.


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Post by bsando on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:10 am

Announcement is at 1pm today thumbsup

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Post by bsando on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:28 am

Any last thoughts before the teams announced? Personally I think it’ll be an Edinburgh/Glasgow dominated XV ie, Skinner, Hardie, Graham not in the starting XV with only Laidlaw, Russell and Maitland included from non Scottish clubs (although maybe Graham or Kinghorn will pip one of either Seymour or Maitland).

Personally, I would like skinner to pack down with Gilchrist or Gray. Kerr I think looks pretty promising so I’d be keen to see him benching. McInally seemed to think he was pretty talented in a beeb article.

Backrow, I think Edinburgh and Glasgow deserve to be rewarded for their European achievements. Crosbie, Ritchie, Wilson would be my pick.

Johnson has looked great at 12, Jones is hopefully amped to get back in the jersey after a few games missing out for Glasgow.

Seymour, Maitland Hogg, why change that? They’re the envy of many of the home nations. Kinghorn and Graham will have their time post World Cup and will no doubt appear at times during the tournament.

Otherwise, interested to see how Graham does if he gets selected and if there any surprises.

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Post by RDW on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:31 am

I think the biggest calls are 6, 7, 12 and back 3.

Being Toonie we may see more surprises (like Swinson starting)!

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:33 am

I'm pretty worried about this game, we have looked very poor in a lot of our opening games of either the 6N or either summer or autumn tours of late - think Wales *2 and Samoa. Couple with that, our replacements at LH, Hooker and BR are going to be pretty ineffectual at this level.

All that said, I still think we will win but in general i'm keeping my hopes pretty low this year.

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Post by RDW on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:35 am

On the plus side the chastening experience against Wales last year should guard against complacency. That and our AIs being a little uninspiring this year.

They should be fully focused on this one.

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:36 am

Here's my stab at what I think Toonie will pick:

Dell
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Gray
Ritchie
Hardie
Wilson

Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

Bhatti
Stewart
Berghan
Skinner
Graham
Price
Pete Horne
Maitland

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:41 am

RDW wrote:On the plus side the chastening experience against Wales last year should guard against complacency. That and our AIs being a little uninspiring this year.

They should be fully focused on this one.

Could be right RDW, they know that if they lose this then they effectively have no chance of winning the thing. I don't know about this year in general, I just think our injuries have properly scuppered us before we've even played a game - our first 15 will be competitive but some of our replacements I think will really struggle at this level/don't have the experience.

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Post by RDW on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:43 am

I think the talk of winning is a bit adventurous, especially given 3 of the world's top 4 our playing against us.

If we had a near perfect injury situation and a bit of luck we'd maybe be in the race, but as it stands I'd be pretty delighted with 3 wins again! (just waiting for TJ to come and tell me why 3 wins would amount to a complete failure.... Very Happy )

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:48 am

RDW wrote:I think the talk of winning is a bit adventurous, especially given 3 of the world's top 4 our playing against us.

If we had a near perfect injury situation and a bit of luck we'd maybe be in the race, but as it stands I'd be pretty delighted with 3 wins again! (just waiting for TJ to come and tell me why 3 wins would amount to a complete failure.... Very Happy )

I'd bite your hand off for 3 wins, it's a ridiculously tough competition these days.

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Post by RDW on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:49 am

Being as realistic as I can I think we'll win 2 - Italy and Wales being most likely but Wales is going to be a hell of a tough one.

I fancy our chances against France but we haven't won there in so long! Hopefully we will have some of our big guns back by then.

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 10:53 am

Yeah, I think those two middle games will define our competition. Wales have looked ominously good of late and the France team had a nice balance to it with Ntmack at 12 (I know i'm now getting older as his dad used to be one of my favourite players when I started watching the 6N). I still think we could win both of those games, but we will have to be at our very, very best.

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Post by bluestonevedder on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:15 am

EST wrote:Here's my stab at what I think Toonie will pick:

Dell
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Gray
Ritchie
Hardie
Wilson

Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

Bhatti
Stewart
Berghan
Skinner
Graham
Price
Pete Horne
Maitland

Good looking team. I like the pack a lot other than Wilson at 8. I'm not a Scot and don't watch the Pro14 religiously, but are there really no better Scottish qualified 8s than him? I don't see what he brings other than a bit of abrasion.

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Post by demosthenes on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:19 am

EST wrote:Here's my stab at what I think Toonie will pick:

Dell
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Gray
Ritchie
Hardie
Wilson

Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

Bhatti
Stewart
Berghan
Skinner
Graham
Price
Pete Horne
Maitland

Is one of the Maitlands actually a Kinghorn? Or a Graham? Or someone else?

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:25 am

It seems to have gone under the radar but Wales are on their 3rd longest winning streak, and if they win against France and Italy it will be their longest winning streak.

I would hope we'd beat them at MF but they are going to be exceptionally tough.

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Post by RDW on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:32 am

EWT Spoons wrote:It seems to have gone under the radar but Wales are on their 3rd longest winning streak, and if they win against France and Italy it will be their longest winning streak.

I would hope we'd beat them at MF but they are going to be exceptionally tough.
.

Especially because they are exactly the kind of team that nullifies are style of play, as we saw in the AIs.

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:39 am

demosthenes wrote:
EST wrote:Here's my stab at what I think Toonie will pick:

Dell
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Gray
Ritchie
Hardie
Wilson

Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

Bhatti
Stewart
Berghan
Skinner
Graham
Price
Pete Horne
Maitland

Is one of the Maitlands actually a Kinghorn?  Or a Graham?  Or someone else?

Ooops - bench should be Kinghorn

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Post by EST on Thu 31 Jan 2019, 11:45 am

bluestonevedder wrote:
EST wrote:Here's my stab at what I think Toonie will pick:

Dell
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Gray
Ritchie
Hardie
Wilson

Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

Bhatti
Stewart
Berghan
Skinner
Graham
Price
Pete Horne
Maitland

Good looking team. I like the pack a lot other than Wilson at 8. I'm not a Scot and don't watch the Pro14 religiously, but are there really no better Scottish qualified 8s than him? I don't see what he brings other than a bit of abrasion.

The Wilson at 8 debate is one that is brought up every time Scotland play a game.  Pretty much every Scotland fan agrees that he isn't the future or really international quality, but through a combination of injuries and other players not taking their chances he inevitably ends up playing.  Other options are below:

Denton - injured
Blade Thompson - injured
Cornell Du Preez - injured and never looked at home at int
Bradbury - Injured
Ashe - unconvincing form  
Fagerson - injured and a bit lightweight
Strauss - fit but not the type of player that fits into toonies system and never convicned at int level

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