6N 2019: France v Scotland

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 09:40

First topic message reminder :

Saturday 23rd Feb 2019
Stade de France
KO 14:15

France
6N 2019: France v Scotland - Page 12 Gorden-Kaye-581659

Scotland
6N 2019: France v Scotland - Page 12 Maxresdefault

After two opening losses for France and a home loss for Scotland, both teams are looking to get their tournament back on track. Expect a response or implosion from France at home but also expect the same from Scotland.

This could be interesting.
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Post by tigertattie on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 19:55

bsando wrote:Yeah I think we really missed Russell and Hogg today. Their kicking game is so important to the game plan now.

I need to rewatch the game to better undetsnd what went wrong so badly. Especially considering how many chances France gave Scotland.

Lineout is still not right, what happened to those fast ones Scotland used against NZ and the sneaky ones that worked against SA? What happened to playing the fastest rugby in the world??

Issues

1. Our high tempo game only works with a high tempo scrum half which Frodo is not.

2. Without Frodo we go full metal jacket and there’s zero structure.

3. We’re trying to play all the time. Good teams know when to put in little jab after little jab then let a haymaker loose when the time is right. We don’t. We just run 100% full pelt into a wall.

4. (Get ready for the accusation of anti Glasgowness) Two years ago, toonie was given a team built on cotter foundations and sprinkled his creativity into it. It worked well. Now though, toonie has shown he’s lacking the tactical acumen needed for an international coach. We should have left him at Glasgow till after the World Cup and stuck with cotter

5. Team have worked us out. Kick the ball deep and let us try and force our way out till we make a mistake. (We are 2nd best at chase kicking and fielding every game)

6. Our kicking game is knickers. We’re the team that kicked the least in this tournament. Kicking is the most effective way to unlock blitz Defense which most teams employ currently.

We’re the masters of our own fate. Our issue is the whole team have turned into Finn Russell. We’re either hot or we’re not.
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Post by bsando on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:07

Scotland beat Wales and France beat Ireland and we have a very interesting final weekend of 6N rugby that’s for sure.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:15

Not fair though. We have to support Scotland to beat Wales and yet Scotland don't have to show the same loyalty to us! Damn it, I'm writing a stinking letter to the Pro14 admins!

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:30

France played the best rugby i have seen for some time from a French team.

Scotland looked like head less chicken at time.

If France can produce that type of game for the rest of the 6ns. and take that form or ( improve on it) they will be a force to reckon with come the RWC.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:36

The French almost always are a force to be reckoned with at the WC. Really are an enigma side.

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Post by miaow on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:40

miaow wrote:Personally, I'm expecting Scotland to win because France look deeply flawed.

Fair play, got this one horribly wrong. Can't help but think Townsend lacks something Cotter brought - the team seems naive to the dirty aspects of the game, which is poor when up against France who seem to treat the mechanics and 'smart' bits of rugby as optional.

The game was there for Scotland though. Price's try was the first time a linebreaker had a supporting runner on his shoulder. Hastings looks like a positive though. His break in the second-half, where he went slaloming through player after player, handing off left then right then left then right, was beautiful stuff, but he also looked tidy at times as well.

Simple fact remains: Scotland aren't tough enough up front. Surely that's an easy thing to fix? Why is Townsend not addressing this?

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Post by RDW on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:44

miaow wrote:
miaow wrote:Personally, I'm expecting Scotland to win because France look deeply flawed.

Fair play, got this one horribly wrong. Can't help but think Townsend lacks something Cotter brought - the team seems naive to the dirty aspects of the game, which is poor when up against France who seem to treat the mechanics and 'smart' bits of rugby as optional.

The game was there for Scotland though. Price's try was the first time a linebreaker had a supporting runner on his shoulder. Hastings looks like a positive though. His break in the second-half, where he went slaloming through player after player, handing off left then right then left then right, was beautiful stuff, but he also looked tidy at times as well.

Simple fact remains: Scotland aren't tough enough up front. Surely that's an easy thing to fix? Why is Townsend not addressing this?

It's an easy excuse to point to injuries, but when you have the most limited playing resources of any of that 6N teams and lose Nel, R Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson, Skinner, Denton and even someone like Blade Thomson who was all set to play a key role from November it's always going to be a really testing time.

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Post by miaow on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 20:51

Duty281 wrote:One of my dislikes about Rugby Union is that games can be, theoretically, endless. I wish games/halves would end at the 80/40 minute mark, instead of carrying on until the ball goes dead.

That's literally one of the best things! Certainly better than League! You can have all the pressure in the world and then, bang, the game dies with you camped on their try-line with a tackle bringing to end the set. That's frustrating - something like Sexton's drop goal against France last year was glorious. It's not the white-hot heat of stoppage time like you get in football, instead it's this slow burning tension that rewards a mix of accuracy and bravery as players are collapsed around the field. Now, it can become boring - like France v Wales and the scrums - but honestly, I think that the fact the game is still live until the ball goes dead, bar a penalty, is one of modern rugby's greatest strengths as a spectator sport. As a player? Pretty horrible!

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Post by miaow on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 21:08

RDW wrote:
miaow wrote:
miaow wrote:Personally, I'm expecting Scotland to win because France look deeply flawed.

Fair play, got this one horribly wrong. Can't help but think Townsend lacks something Cotter brought - the team seems naive to the dirty aspects of the game, which is poor when up against France who seem to treat the mechanics and 'smart' bits of rugby as optional.

The game was there for Scotland though. Price's try was the first time a linebreaker had a supporting runner on his shoulder. Hastings looks like a positive though. His break in the second-half, where he went slaloming through player after player, handing off left then right then left then right, was beautiful stuff, but he also looked tidy at times as well.

Simple fact remains: Scotland aren't tough enough up front. Surely that's an easy thing to fix? Why is Townsend not addressing this?

It's an easy excuse to point to injuries, but when you have the most limited playing resources of any of that 6N teams and lose Nel, R Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson, Skinner, Denton and even someone like Blade Thomson who was all set to play a key role from November it's always going to be a really testing time.

Good point. That said - and I have bias or axe to grind here - the personnel doesn't seem to matter when it comes to Scotland having something of a soft 'underbelly' in the tight 5. Less so in the loose forwards. But aren't you longing for the days of a Strokosch type figure somewhere, or even a Jim Hamilton or (more mobile) Al Kellock? Surely Jonny Gray can be a key part of a powerful pack. It would appear, to me from the outside, that this is somethinig not prioritised/recognised as integral - as if the coaches are content to play the gme on the backfoot.

As others have said, Scotland had the opportunities today, they kept giving away penalties and dropped the ball far, far too often. I'd be nervous about Wales playing them tbh though - they're still very potent, although not having Hogg is massive. Just feel like Wales could play like they did in the Autumn again and squeeze them out of the game without doing very much, and come up with a win. Not sure that's acceptable for Scotland anymore? The clubs have great players - for all the resource issues Wales is hardly streets ahead and yet they refuse to be soft up front. The Scottish teams regularly beat the regions now in the league. Am I missing something why Scotland aren't harder up front?

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 21:10

Usually rugby games end pretty much on the 80 minute mark.... and we do the modern thing of stopping the clock for ....em, stoppages. The thing I find infuriating is when games Never end when the clock reached the limit - I mean that multi-billion dollar industry that is football. I hate it that you never know how long the ref is going to add to a game...and some games you wonder how so much added time is given with so few stoppages.
Rugby is grand usually and when it does over run it's usually an exciting period by the very definition of how the game is played.

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Post by RDW on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 21:16

miaow wrote:
RDW wrote:
miaow wrote:
miaow wrote:Personally, I'm expecting Scotland to win because France look deeply flawed.

Fair play, got this one horribly wrong. Can't help but think Townsend lacks something Cotter brought - the team seems naive to the dirty aspects of the game, which is poor when up against France who seem to treat the mechanics and 'smart' bits of rugby as optional.

The game was there for Scotland though. Price's try was the first time a linebreaker had a supporting runner on his shoulder. Hastings looks like a positive though. His break in the second-half, where he went slaloming through player after player, handing off left then right then left then right, was beautiful stuff, but he also looked tidy at times as well.

Simple fact remains: Scotland aren't tough enough up front. Surely that's an easy thing to fix? Why is Townsend not addressing this?

It's an easy excuse to point to injuries, but when you have the most limited playing resources of any of that 6N teams and lose Nel, R Gray, Barclay, Watson, Wilson, Skinner, Denton and even someone like Blade Thomson who was all set to play a key role from November it's always going to be a really testing time.

Good point. That said - and I have bias or axe to grind here - the personnel doesn't seem to matter when it comes to Scotland having something of a soft 'underbelly' in the tight 5. Less so in the loose forwards. But aren't you longing for the days of a Strokosch type figure somewhere, or even a Jim Hamilton or (more mobile) Al Kellock? Surely Jonny Gray can be a key part of a powerful pack. It would appear, to me from the outside, that this is somethinig not prioritised/recognised as integral - as if the coaches are content to play the gme on the backfoot.

As others have said, Scotland had the opportunities today, they kept giving away penalties and dropped the ball far, far too often. I'd be nervous about Wales playing them tbh though - they're still very potent, although not having Hogg is massive. Just feel like Wales could play like they did in the Autumn again and squeeze them out of the game without doing very much, and come up with a win. Not sure that's acceptable for Scotland anymore? The clubs have great players - for all the resource issues Wales is hardly streets ahead and yet they refuse to be soft up front. The Scottish teams regularly beat the regions now in the league. Am I missing something why Scotland aren't harder up front?

To be fair the Strokosh/Kellock era was pretty grim times for Scottish rugby - for all they had a hard edge to them they just weren't top class international players.

I do agree with your general sentiment, however I would say our backs were the biggest issue tonight (who were missing Finn Russell, Duncan Taylor, Huw Jones, Matt Scott, Mark Bennett and Stuart Hogg!)

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Post by miaow on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 21:34

I agree the backs were a problem in attack. But if the forwards were more powerful, they wouldn't have to have worked so hard to make the gainline, particularly in the first half. That draws mistakes from France and also kills their ability to counter attack - no way should Scotland have conceded as many points as they did.

Tactically, Scotland needed to kick for the corners from the off. France will run themselves into pressure all day long. Play the territorial game, wait for mistakes, and then prosper.

Incidentally, whatever happened to Dunbar? Remember him tearing up the Scarlets in 2013-ish and thinking he was incredible - like a lite version of Jamie Roberts + better basic skills. Was it last year he scored the cheeky lineout try against Ireland? Or was that years ago? Is he completely out of the equation? Scotland's centre options are honestly a joke - half of them would walk into the Wales 12 shirt, and I think you could easily pick a Lions midfield from Scots alone. Is Dunbar way down the pecking order?

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Post by RDW on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 21:41

Dunbar's body has basically given up the ghost - he's had a terrible run of injuries and his form has plummeted as a result. He's been loaned out to Newcastle for the rest of the season and unfortunately I think it is highly likely we'll never see him play for Scotland again.

I really hope he can can have a few more years as a pro and retire with his body in some sort of working order for his future life.

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Post by miaow on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 22:03

Ah, sad to hear.

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Post by R!skysports on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 22:20

Well sadly totally expected and a real worry. At least the last 12 months should stop us getting hope up for the World Cup and we can enjoy it with standard expectations of just getting out the group.

I said it before but I really do not think Townsend is the coach to take us forward and getting rid of cotter was the worst decision the SRU have done.

We can blame injuries for this performance but our away record is shameful and we seem to be stuck in the same dance saying the same thing over and over. It gets a little dull

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 22:26

R!skysports wrote:Well sadly totally expected and a real worry. At least the last 12 months should stop us getting hope up for the World Cup and we can enjoy it with standard expectations of just getting out the group.

I said it before but I really do not think Townsend is the coach to take us forward and getting rid of cotter was the worst decision the SRU have done.

We can blame injuries for this performance but our away record is shameful and we seem to be stuck in the same dance saying the same thing over and over. It gets a little dull

Welcome to life as a Scotland rugby fan!

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 23 Feb 2019, 22:41

Think there's been a bit of an overreaction here, Scotland lost today because our best players are injured or out of form. The point with Cotter and Toonie is hypothetical, I think the decision was in effect a reflection of Dodson's business background and his desire to keep a talented coach within the Scottish system. In hindsight it may have been better to keep Cotter on board and let Toonie go to France, England or further afield and learn a different style of play. But at the same time there were poor performances under Cotter; England away 2017, the Six Nations in 2015.
The primary problem is that without your first choice fly-half and tighthead you'll struggle to get a foothold in the game. Without your first choice back row you're likely to struggle at the breakdown which we did. Without your first choice 13 and 15 you won't be as dangerous in the outside channels. This feeling of being soft is true but softness and inexperience go hand in hand. We missed guys like Richie Gray, Nel, Barclay, Wilson (admittedly dubious) and Watson who are a bit "tougher". Injuries are an enormous part of rugby now, but our depth is not up there with Wales, Ireland, France and England because we only have two teams. As long as that is the case we will need a year when everything comes together and all our best players are on form.
Then you look at our first choice players who are fit and you see Jonny Gray struggling to impact games as he used to. But then if his brother was fit and Skinner was fit then he'd be in serious risk of missing the squad. Seymour hasn't been the same player since the Lions tour, he seems to have been properly Balshawed. At 30 he is old for a winger though and we might simply have seen his best. I would be looking to phase in Graham or Kinghorn onto his wing. Worryingly mistakes have crept into Maitland's game. I always felt he was our most underrated player, but in the last couple of weeks he's produced some baffling bits of play. Which is bizarre because last year he was outstanding and for Saracens he's always good. Laidlaw was too slow, too ponderous and too predictable. In fact in terms of attacking threats; we lacked any linebreakers at 9, 10, 12 or 13. Usually we have Jones and Russell working in tandem with Hogg. Kinghorn is young and hasn't played a huge amount of international rugby at 15, but he needs to start picking the right options.
Our midfield was too pedestrian. I could right paragraphs and paragraphs on Horne but simply put he's not a 10 and I'm not convinced he's a strong enough international rugby player. Johnson is an inexperienced international but a very classy player, unfortunately he's a facilitator more than anything else. If you take Russell, Jones and Hogg out of the equation he loses a lot of his potency. Grigg, I thought, played very well today. But again he's not enough of an attacking threat at international level.
So how to we fix it? We could attempt to postpone our remaining fixtures for a couple of months and wrap our players up until that point. We could also trust in our younger players. I'd let Horne and Hastings have a go together if Russell isn't fit, I'd get Graham on the wing. At 13 we're sort of shagged for the now, Harris and Grigg aren't up to standard, Jones is injured and Bennett is just back. If he is back, I'd perhaps think about putting Hogg at 13 but then he's never played there at international level and Jonathan Davies is very. very good. Johnstone is untested but at 29 if he's not played for Scotland that probably tells you something. At 12 we should stick with Johnson, although we have other options. Johnson is nailed on for the short term, Taylor in the medium term will hopefully get his hands on the shirt and McDowall could be the final piece in the 2020 Grand Slam Jigsaw puzzle. We also shouldn't forget Matt Scott and Alex Dunbar. Although between them they've had more injuries than most teams. Gary Graham played very well when he came on, I'd change to Graham, Richie and Bradbury for the Wales game, I'd drop Jonny Gray for his brother and maybe not even to the bench. I'd move Fagerson in for Berghan.
Lastly, our away form is appalling. It will be a minimum of a decade by the time we win in Dublin, eighteen years in Cardiff, twenty-two in Paris and thirty-six in London. So a combined eighty-six years. On average we do something like thirty points worse away from home. You then add in that we've lost to Fiji and the USA away from home. That's ridiculous, and that's a mentality problem. Laidlaw gets put up as this great leader, but a team that functions only when it plays in a small country in the North Atlantic has a lack of leaders.  
My point is however that this Six Nations was always going to be a challenge and it has become only more so with the injuries we've picked up. But the doom mongerers who emerge everytime we lose have little reason to be so miserable.

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Post by bsando on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 06:11

Dell
McInally
Nel
R Gray Gilchrist possibly 1st choice now
Gray
Barclay
Watson
Wilson or Thompson
Laidlaw
Russell
Maitland
Taylor (Johnson could be new 1st choice though)
Jones
Seymour
Hogg

I think that really helps me feel better about that loss. In a way it’s a blessing in disguise actually, our depth being tested so critically. This will give the coaching team a lot to consider in terms of who is stepping up and who is perhaps not. Plus it means more game time for players who’ve not been exposed to a lot of international rugby so far. World Cup will sneak up fast and I’d rather see likes of Hastings, Blairhorn, Graham, Ritchie etc slotting in with miles under the belt.

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Post by Pat_Mustard on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 07:33

SecretFly wrote:Pat you'd make a great coach..... not.
That's not the attitude because if Wales had bought in to English pre game pomp they'd have imploded in the first half like I'm sure expected them to do.
Scotland have a great chance now with less pressure on in terms of championship, which can prompt teams to play a more cautious/safe game.  They're also hurting enough to be eager to inflict their physicality on a team that will be feeling maybe a little too buoyant after their big win against England.

I guess I'd have to try and keep a lid on the misery if I was coaching OK
Toonie's team talk will be more like yours, but I'm still worried

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 08:16

Commiserations to the Scots, the score line definitely didn’t reflect the game.

Wales may have had a better game but I am just as anxious for this next match as I was for yesterdays

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 08:57

I think we have reasons to be optimistic but should rightly be irritated by the lack of performances since last summer really.

I don't think the toonie thing is hypothetical, the longer he's had to implement his gameplan, the less of a gameplan we've had. You even hear the players saying Finn is a large part of that gameplan. Yes, under cotter we lost, but quite often we were simply outgunned or outmanouvered. I've not seen a Scotland team with such poor execution for a while, and this is with, broadly speaking, the same player base. Regardless of that, a team should be able to play as a cohesive unit with anyone from the squad, be it first choice or not. It's all good trying to develop "leaders" in a squad, but they've got to have a good plan and structure behind them to be effective.

We have great potential but I fear it is being wasted as currently the tail is wagging the dog.
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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 09:24

You could tell from Toonie's interview just how disappointed he was with the performance and that he felt some players under performed. He did note that the subs had come on and made a difference though, which I imagine he will translate into some of them starting next week.

He finally seems to have got the message about JGs form and subbed him relatively early this time, something he has always been very reluctant to do. If he brings his brother back into the squad next time around, JG may be lucky to be in the match squad. He does not seem to be the player he was last year.

Gary Graham looked better than we dared hope and really took his opportunity to state his case. I would be surprised if that is not rewarded with a start next week as well.

Hastings and Horne showed how to get a backline moving in a way that GL just cannot do. Hastings is far from the finished article and will make mistakes, but at the moment, other than Finn, he is all we have got in that position and we have got to give him his chance to gain experience and learn at this level. To me, not picking him for this game was Toonie's major mistake. Brunel, when his back was against the wall, trusted to his talented kids, Toonie should have done the same.

Darcy Graham also brought his Edinburgh form into the pitch when he came on. He has got the fearlessness of youth on his side as well, which both Maitland and Seymour seem to have lost a little bit. Give him his chance next time up.

As you can tell from my post, I am expecting a very different looking team next time up against the Welsh.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 09:40

Much as i agree re laidlaw, it seems very unlikely that toonie will drop his captain, even if he's back to his old habits of shouting directions to the team and the opposition at the back of a ruck for 5 minutes so they have a chance to prepare their defence.

Would be nice to see horne jr involved but i doubt it'll happen, besides price hasn't done much wrong so would be a touch harsh to drop him. Hastings pleasantly surprised me on Saturday, let's hope he can take that form back to glasgow now.

Not that i think it'll happen, but this is the team I'd like to see play wales, may as well throw the kitchen sink at it.

Dell
McInally
Berghan
Gilchrist
Toolis
Graham
Ritchie
Bradbury

Price
Russell (HIA dependant, if not Hastings)

Maitland (I think people singled him out unfairly, he was ok on Saturday, not brilliant but better than a lot of others)
Johnson
Grigg (best option atm imo)
Graham
Kinghorn

Bench
Brown
Allan
Fagerson
J Gray
Strauss
Horne jr
Hastings
Johnstone
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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 10:07

Townsend definitely going for the players' pride


https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47345468

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:02

Hard to argue with that

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:08

Aye hard to argue but then do something about it. This isn't a new issue sadly, it's all very nice saying what the fans are thinking but it's worthless unless something is actually done about it
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:12

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47346641

Once again tom english is on the money
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Post by sensisball on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:13

Thing about Laidlaw is that he is playing some of his best club rugby behind a big but mobile and hard Clermont pack that gives him quick, clean ball all day long. His main job is to distribute or box kick if he does get slow ball. He is able to do both these things to a very high standard, plus kicking his goals well. Clermont are the top try scrorers in the T14 regardless of whether Laidlaw or Parra is at 9.

The problem Grieg has is that he often doesnt get good quality ball playing for Scotland and although he is probably instructed to pass everything it is against his nature to shovel on sh*t and so resorts to the box kick or trying to get forwards round the corner to carry again (something our front 5 are not good at - how i miss Hamish Watson!) in the hope of developing something better. Hence the pointing and shouting at the base of rucks.

With Price he passes/ runs the majority of the ball he gets, almost regardless of the correct option and so we lose almost all our structure.
Sometimes it works but often (Wales last year anyone?) it doesnt.

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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:28

In a way it's a shame we've got a week off as I'm sure the players are desperate to right some wrongs. It's also not helped by some of our players going back to their clubs and having to play again.

Will be interesting to see how Townsend reacts if Russell is picked by Racing this weekend.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:31

It is not a shame we got 2 weeks off, as we may well have some of our better players back in two weeks time!

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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 12:33

BigGee wrote:It is not a shame we got 2 weeks off, as we may well have some of our better players back in two weeks time!
True! Watson should be back and Russell and Hogg hopefully will. I'd be surprised if Hogg is though.

R Gray will also have had more games so should be fully match fit.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 13:00

Maybe Nel and Skinner as well
Plus Zander and Bradbury will be fitter than they were this week.
No matter how good you look against Dragons, international rugby is another level and neither looked ready for it this week

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Post by sensisball on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 13:04

Yea Ritchie has looked good for Toulouse after his long term injury lay-off. His younger brother looks like a shadow of his former self. He has played so much rugby over the last couple of seasons he looks like he is running on empty. Time to give him a break: R Gray and Gilchrist to start,Toolis off the bench.

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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 13:32

There's no doubt Jonny isn't influencing games like he usesd to but still put in a decent shift with 13 tackles in 55 minutes.

Alan Dell leads the tackle stats with an impressive 18 - 3 more than anyone else. Bradbury 2nd place with 15.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 16:29

sensisball wrote:Yea Ritchie has looked good for Toulouse after his long term injury lay-off. His younger brother looks like a shadow of his former self. He has played so much rugby over the last couple of seasons he looks like he is running on empty. Time to give him a break: R Gray and Gilchrist to start,Toolis off the bench.

I'm a big fan of Richie but I think we'd be better served and he'd be better served if he made his first appearance in a long time from the bench.

Johnny needs some bench time I think, he's a better player than this and I'd bank on him to bounce back like when Richie had his drop in form a few years ago.

With that in mind, Gilcho and Toolis are currently our best combination, though Gilcho needs to cut the silly penalties or get a slightly less obvious scrum cap.

It really does feel like we're back to square one at the moment and it's just a little disheartening to be honest!
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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 16:34

Having watched the Wales and Ireland games in Rome I'm just glad we had Italy at Murrayfield!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 16:35

RDW wrote:Having watched the Wales and Ireland games in Rome I'm just glad we had Italy at Murrayfield!

Aye, we would have been whitewashed for sure!
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Post by George Carlin on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 17:07

NeilyBroon wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/47346641

Once again tom english is on the money
Particularly with this zinger:
Can Scotland be taken seriously as contenders? No. They'll be praised - and at times the praise will have a patronising tone - but respect is hard won and you only get it by winning more often than Scotland win or, at the very least making it a whole lot harder for opposing teams to win.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 18:21

Story of the professional era, makes you laugh and cry simultaneously
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Post by 123456789. on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 18:28

Let's just row back a bit here. 10 years ago with this number of injuries we'd have struggle to cobble together 23 players at all. The performance wasn't great but this hasn't undone all the good work of the last few years. Yesterday was a really, really poor showing but teams have poor performances.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:02

I watched the Italy v Ireland game this afternoon. One of the things I was struck with is that Tomasso Allan (formerly known as Tommy) has become a half decent international FH.

Now I am not going to bang on about the fact that he should be playing for Scotland, that ship sailed a long time ago and in all honesty at the time I was not one bit bothered about it as I never really saw that much potential in him anyway.

His first games for Italy kind of bore that out but they stuck with him and skowly and surely he has developed into a decent option.

The thing that strikes me is that we don't take that view on some of our up and coming players, Hastings in particular. Toonie, having capped him early in his career, when he probably was not ready, should have stuck with him and given him the experience of playing in these kind of games.

In many ways it is surprising that he did not, the tombola this was not, Horne was the safe, lower risk choice, which was never Toonie's style as a player, nor as a coach at Glasgow.

I hope if he takes anything from this game, that he learns to trust his instinct a bit more. It is hard to believe that he did not succumb to pressure on this selection due to the need to get a result. Unfortunately it just does not work this way at the top level and safe is just not always going to cut it.

Finn made mistakes early on in his career, he still does. You can't coach what he and to some extent Hastings have, that innate confidence to try things and make things happen. Horne unfortunately will never have that as a FH, he is a round peg in a square hole.

We should probably not forget that Toonie is still developing in his role as an international coach as well. It is different to being a club coach, so much more focus and pressure on you to get things right.

Lets hope he starts learning some lessons from some of these games.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:05

It’s not looking good at all right now... Wales and England both in good form up next, and Scotland with more injuries to key players. If Townsend does decide to duck the games and shift focus to the World Cup then that’s obviously going to be a big help censored; for the home game at least anyway.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:12

Its not about ducking the games Mikey, we can only pick the players that are available to us. Some of those players might be young and inexperienced but might be our best options.

I am happy to pick them, they likely represent our best chance of beating Wales and also gaining experience at the same time.

We will give it our best shot in the next two games, the players owe the fans a performance. Whether that is good enough remains to be seen, at the moment, I would be happy enough with some performance, which we have not really seen yet, other than fits and starts. If we can get that, a result may follow.

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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:13

mikey_dragon wrote:It’s not looking good at all right now... Wales and England both in good form up next, and Scotland with more injuries to key players. If Townsend does decide to duck the games and shift focus to the World Cup then that’s obviously going to be a big help censored; for the home game at least anyway.

I don't think there's any chance of him taking a long term view - he's under pressure as a coach and will be picking our strongest available team and going hell for leather for the win.

We should have Nel, Watson and Russell back who will make a significant difference, plus Skinner and R Gray should come into the reckoning. Bradbury and Fagerson will be close to full match fitness by then too after another few games under their belt.

Confidence is low but I can't imagine Gatland will be taking us lightly - momentum changes very quickly in a 6N championship!

I just hope we've learnt our lessons from the November test - unfortunately Townsend has so far shown he doesn't always learn the lessons.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:31

Scotland playing for pride and having some players come back in does concern me greatly, probably less-so Gatland. Their form for Edinburgh and Glasgow has been consistently good and I think the familiarity of beating Welsh teams will allow them to be confident in their ability to express themselves. That said, I’m also pretty confident we can go there and win after what I witnessed in round 3. There’s also no sign of Ireland becoming less sloppy whilst Wales are on the up or so it would appear.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:54

Is Hogg out of the rest of the tournament?

Or is he back for the Wales game?

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Post by RDW on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 19:57

majesticimperialman wrote:Is Hogg out of the rest of the tournament?

Or is he back for the Wales game?

They've been deliberately light on details about his return - there's lots of positive noises but I'd be very surprised if he's back in time.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 21:04

He was still in a sling on Friday night

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 21:30

Only got a chance to watch on a TV afar on Westgate street in Cardiff (all the bars were rammed shockingly, Wales-England brings out everyone). Probably will watch the game properly tomorrow

It feels like we take two steps forward, one step back. From what I could see, the French had an easy out at every scrum and our line-out has fallen to pieces. Every other team seems to have had success jumping on the opposing line-out and even putting one jumper near the front and one near the back to really challenge the hooker. Last year, it felt like we turned the corner by finding parity in the set piece and that has fallen to pieces this year.

Berghan is not in the same form and we really have not found an equivalent of Nel on the loosehead side. Dell tackled like a fiend, but his first job is to get parity at the scrum. This is a long term problem for Scotland and either Allan, Bhatti, Marfo or Sutherland need to push on. We can't keep trying to import potential solutions from South Africa.

As for J Gray, he needs to move on. He has got comfortable at Glasgow and needs a change of scenery if he is going to achieve his potential. If R Gray got through the last game with Toulouse and plays next week, I would bring him onto the bench and start the Edinburgh front five.

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Post by EST on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 21:43

Having calmed down a bit since yesterday, I think i'm probably in a better place to comment than after the drivel we served up yesterday.

Almost from 1-15, we were poor. No impetus, poor kick chase, lack of structure, basic errors, system errors in defence...I could go on, what is most disappointing is the sense that we have been building to a performance like this from as far back as last summer. I thought we were treading water, but actually we have probably gone backwards. Toonie has set his stall out as playing the fastest rugby in the world, a statement which I think is starting to sound naive at best. International rugby is a brutal physical and mental challenge, one which we have looked unequipped to deal with for a while (even before our horrific injury list) - part of which has to stem from our coaches philosophy. If your coach wants you to run it from everywhere, are you really going to be prepared to go into the trenches and play hard nosed rugby? I think Toonie really needs to look at his tactics moving towards the WC.

As for specific players, I don't think anybody particularly stood out but Gilchirst and Ritchie were both physically up for the fight, and I personally thought that Bradbury and Kinghorn played well-ish, acknowledging that Blair made a couple of errors . Regarding Horne, I was a advocate of him starting and he certainly didn't play well. What I would say, is that I don't particularly think he played any worse than anybody else. When he was at 10 he was being fed slow ball by Greig against a fresh French defence, while Hastings, who was brighter, was playing when the game had loosened up considerably. There is not doubt the latter played better though.

One final note on the weekend, what I wouldn't give for a player of the stature of Alun-Wyn Jones - a hard nosed leader who doesn't accept mediocrity, he was absolutely colossal against England.

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