6N 2019: France v Scotland

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 11 Feb 2019, 9:40 am

First topic message reminder :

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

France
6N 2019: France v Scotland - Page 13 Gorden-Kaye-581659

Scotland
6N 2019: France v Scotland - Page 13 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 George Carlin on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:45 am

I think that it's very helpful for all Scotland fans to press the 're-set' button on their expectations as to what can be achieved with this tournament. It will also mean that we have to take fewer sedatives and kick fewer cats around the living room.

However inconvenient it is for the press and all fans (Scottish and opposing) to recognise, we have a freakish dumptruck of injuries to a number of players that are not only regarded as first choice selections but leaders and strategic thinkers on the field. No other team has anything approaching this level of injuries and only the wilfully blind or wildly ill-informed would try to claim otherwise.  

This 6N can therefore have no bearing on how we will do in Japan away from the disadvantage of playing teams away from home and presumably with almost all players fit and available. The teams playing there and these national selections will (hopefully) be unrecognisable.

So what do we want from this tournament now:
- Play Hastings in every game if Russell is not back and bench him if he is.
- Start with Price and get used to seeing how we cope without Laidlaw. Frodo is 87 years old.
- Play Hardie. Why wouldn't you want to see what sort of form he can conjure up?
- Persist with Sam Johnson, who is one of our few success stories from this month.
- Be competitive.
- Calm the hell down and demonstrate composure in the red zone.

I want to see the squad develop. That's the key for me now. I am tired of seeing young players not capped when the likes of Luke Morgan, Tom Curry and Josh Adams are grabbing their opportunities.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 6:46 am

I don't think many of us went into the 6Ns expecting anything revolutionary, most of us just wanted a decent showing after patchy form since the summer tour.

Is the current squad capable of winning the 6 nations? No. Are they capable of putting in a decent fight in each game? Yes. It's not like we've been beaten by teams playing well, they've all looked pretty average.

On squad development you could argue that blair kinghorn is now established (same as adams) and Jamie ritchie (same as curry). But you are right we should just go for it in a few positions. Tommy seymour needs dropping and Graham took his chance in his 15 minute cameo. Time to see how he gets on.

I also think for the WC, if Barclay doesn't make it to form in time, we should be looking at McInally at captain rather than Laidlaw. The latter has shown incredibly poor leadership when it was most needed and really has lost my respect this tournament, as he seems to spend most his time griping at the refs decisions. That's where we've really missed Barclay i feel, and McInally is in a similar mould, so I think he deserves his shot.

Win against Wales would be good but i just want them to play how we know they can. Toonie needs to start putting structure in. I think he needs an assistant coach to do that, or maybe cockers can consult the national team. The harum scarum tactics of the last year will simply not cut it.

I hope this will not be another wc year to forget, especially considering how remarkable the last was.


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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 8:34 am

So, how are we all this happy Monday morning? Sad

Nothing like Scottish sport to raise the spirits!

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:02 am

RDW wrote:So, how are we all this happy Monday morning? Sad

Nothing like Scottish sport to raise the spirits!

Well at least Glasgow won!

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Post by EST on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:47 am

NeilyBroon wrote:I don't think many of us went into the 6Ns expecting anything revolutionary, most of us just wanted a decent showing after patchy form since the summer tour.

Is the current squad capable of winning the 6 nations? No. Are they capable of putting in a decent fight in each game? Yes. It's not like we've been beaten by teams playing well, they've all looked pretty average.

On squad development you could argue that blair kinghorn is now established (same as adams) and Jamie ritchie (same as curry). But you are right we should just go for it in a few positions. Tommy seymour needs dropping and Graham took his chance in his 15 minute cameo. Time to see how he gets on.

I also think for the WC, if Barclay doesn't make it to form in time, we should be looking at McInally at captain rather than Laidlaw. The latter has shown incredibly poor leadership when it was most needed and really has lost my respect this tournament, as he seems to spend most his time griping at the refs decisions. That's where we've really missed Barclay i feel, and McInally is in a similar mould, so I think he deserves his shot.

Win against Wales would be good but i just want them to play how we know they can. Toonie needs to start putting structure in. I think he needs an assistant coach to do that, or maybe cockers can consult the national team. The harum scarum tactics of the last year will simply not cut it.

I hope this will not be another wc year to forget, especially considering how remarkable the last was.



A key point I think - he has been really, really poor this tournament, both in managing the ref and playing. There have been times where the criticism of him slowing down play have not been founded, but he has played like his very worst stereotype this tournament, especially against Ireland in that passage just before half-time.

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:48 am

BigGee wrote:
RDW wrote:So, how are we all this happy Monday morning? Sad

Nothing like Scottish sport to raise the spirits!

Well at least Glasgow won!

Rub it in why don't you!

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 10:15 am

EST wrote:
NeilyBroon wrote:I don't think many of us went into the 6Ns expecting anything revolutionary, most of us just wanted a decent showing after patchy form since the summer tour.

Is the current squad capable of winning the 6 nations? No. Are they capable of putting in a decent fight in each game? Yes. It's not like we've been beaten by teams playing well, they've all looked pretty average.

On squad development you could argue that blair kinghorn is now established (same as adams) and Jamie ritchie (same as curry). But you are right we should just go for it in a few positions. Tommy seymour needs dropping and Graham took his chance in his 15 minute cameo. Time to see how he gets on.

I also think for the WC, if Barclay doesn't make it to form in time, we should be looking at McInally at captain rather than Laidlaw. The latter has shown incredibly poor leadership when it was most needed and really has lost my respect this tournament, as he seems to spend most his time griping at the refs decisions. That's where we've really missed Barclay i feel, and McInally is in a similar mould, so I think he deserves his shot.

Win against Wales would be good but i just want them to play how we know they can. Toonie needs to start putting structure in. I think he needs an assistant coach to do that, or maybe cockers can consult the national team. The harum scarum tactics of the last year will simply not cut it.

I hope this will not be another wc year to forget, especially considering how remarkable the last was.



A key point I think - he has been really, really poor this tournament, both in managing the ref and playing.  There have been times where the criticism of him slowing down play have not been founded, but he has played like his very worst stereotype this tournament, especially against Ireland in that passage just before half-time.

Laidlaw has not had a good tournament so far, on and off the pitch. Whinging about the ref after the Ireland game was very bad form and did him no credit. McInally is the obvious replacement if Laidlaw was to get dropped.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 11:25 am

Here's an odd one for you. How about making Ickle Jonny Captain? He's in a bit of a slump at the moment but maybe making him the skipper would focus his mind and make him lift his game to lead by example?

Or are we then rewarding poor form?/
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Post by cakeordeath on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:18 pm

What a frustrating weekend to be a Scottish rugby fan (let's face it most weekends are like that) Once again we have been bullied off the park. It happens at both club and international level time and time again, yet we do not seem willing to address it. At this point I firmly put the blame at the feet of the SRU. They have managed to create this comfortable boys club around the game in Scotland.

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Post by EST on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:18 pm

tigertattie wrote:Here's an odd one for you. How about making Ickle Jonny Captain? He's in a bit of a slump at the moment but maybe making him the skipper would focus his mind and make him lift his game to lead by example?

Or are we then rewarding poor form?/

It looks to me like he is nursing an injury, he took a long time to get up of the floor at break in plays on the weekend. He has played a lot of rugby in an attritional position for such a young man - maybe he just needs a bit of a rest?

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:26 pm

I've said this a few times before but Gray has had a lot of rest weeks/minor injuries this season, particularly over the Christmas period where he didn't play for something like 5 weeks. Gilchrist and Toolis have significantly higher playing times this season but still look fresh.

Something's not right with him, but I don't think overplaying is the culprit. Overplaying over a number of years perhaps, but not this season.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:17 pm

JG has never really been a great captain when he has been given the chance. He is just to quiet

McInally, Gilchrist or even Ritchie (as a longer term option) would be much better choices

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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:39 pm

Agree about Jonny’s lack of Captain credentials. More of the strong silent type. He’s definitely lost a step and maybe needs a spell on the bench to heal up or reflect.

I’m a bit outspoken about this and I understand entirely that most disagree with me, but I’m a huge fan of Fraser Brown. I think he’s probably a better player than McInally and Glasgow in particular are a better team when he’s playing. He would make a cracking captain in my opinion.

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Post by EST on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 2:45 pm

Eejit wrote:Agree about Jonny’s lack of Captain credentials. More of the strong silent type. He’s definitely lost a step and maybe needs a spell on the bench to heal up or reflect.

I’m a bit outspoken about this and I understand entirely that most disagree with me, but I’m a huge fan of Fraser Brown. I think he’s probably a better player than McInally and Glasgow in particular are a better team when he’s playing. He would make a cracking captain in my opinion.

We are very lucky having both of those players - each bring something different and there really is nothing in it in terms of quality, i'd be happy with either starting.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 2:56 pm

Both are good players, but Brown's lack of robustness is a slight concern if you are going to make him captain, he does seem to get injured a lot.

McInally has probably got the shirt at the moment but he has not really stood out in this campaign so far. Of all the hookers available though, Turner is probably the most improved and is coming up hard on the rails. He may end up being the best of the three of them.

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:01 pm

McInally is a top class hooker but I wonder if benching him will give him a kick up the arse - he is partly responsible for the dodgy lineout and hasn't been influencing games like he did last 6N and the Ais before that.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 8:17 am

George Carlin wrote:I think that it's very helpful for all Scotland fans to press the 're-set' button on their expectations as to what can be achieved with this tournament. It will also mean that we have to take fewer sedatives and kick fewer cats around the living room.

However inconvenient it is for the press and all fans (Scottish and opposing) to recognise, we have a freakish dumptruck of injuries to a number of players that are not only regarded as first choice selections but leaders and strategic thinkers on the field. No other team has anything approaching this level of injuries and only the wilfully blind or wildly ill-informed would try to claim otherwise.  

This 6N can therefore have no bearing on how we will do in Japan away from the disadvantage of playing teams away from home and presumably with almost all players fit and available. The teams playing there and these national selections will (hopefully) be unrecognisable.

So what do we want from this tournament now:
- Play Hastings in every game if Russell is not back and bench him if he is.
- Start with Price and get used to seeing how we cope without Laidlaw. Frodo is 87 years old.
- Play Hardie. Why wouldn't you want to see what sort of form he can conjure up?
- Persist with Sam Johnson, who is one of our few success stories from this month.
- Be competitive.
- Calm the hell down and demonstrate composure in the red zone.

I want to see the squad develop. That's the key for me now. I am tired of seeing young players not capped when the likes of Luke Morgan, Tom Curry and Josh Adams are grabbing their opportunities.

I agree with all of this. As frustrating as Saturday was, the injury situation just cannot be ignored. Townsend needs to use these last two games thoughtfully with regards to team selection, and in particular Ali Price needs to be restored at 9. Without energy and tempo this Scotland team struggles horribly and just looks lightweight. We need a 9 that can challenge around the fringes and get those quick taps going. Laidlaw is creaking.

Thought Gary Graham had a good cameo off the bench as well. I'd keep him there though, drop Strauss and recall Hardie to play 7 with Ritchie at 6 and Bradbury at 8. Wales have a mobile back row and we absolutely need to match that to play our preferred game plan.

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Post by bsando on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 11:49 am

So I’ve rewatched the match and here were my take aways.

Horne cannot play at 10 for Scotland again. We may as well use Hastings and let him grow into the position. Hastings made one mistake early on, a no look pass to no one but he got up to speed quickly after that. He looked better in the 10 shirt, more comfortable.

The lineouts and set piece and this new maul tactic Scotland seem to do in open play aren’t really working. At lineout time Scotland need to be faster and more assured about what they are doing.

You could tell Scotland’s side was a B side. There was a lack of zip in attack usually provided by Russell. He gives the backline more time and space to find holes in defences. Horne was merely distributing and that meant less time for Johnson and Grigg to make decisions.

Laidlaw had a poor game, slow service due to lack of front foot ball really and his kicking was off. No variation of play either but he wasnt awful. Price looked much sharper when he came on and seemed to be directing play quite well.

Johnson has a brief but poor second half. He butchered a good attacking opportunity in the second half with a poor pass to no one out wide. He was under pressure to pass but should have looked first. Prior to that a forward pass to Ritchie.

There was a good 20 min period in the second half where Scotland had momentmun and numerous opportunities to score but mistakes ruined them all. France were tired and Scotland just couldn’t be clinical or organised to take advantage. They finally found the hole and had a support runner in Price to get the single score after it was too late.

Scotland to be fair were so unlucky to concede the last try. The French were just awesome at the breakdown all game long and got two great turnovers and Hastings had a heel on the chalk as France were kicking for touch for what would be the lineout that setup the final try.

One thing I would like to point out is the complacent nature of Scotland at the start of the second half. France setup the maul but no one in the Scottish pack looked interested in making it difficult for France. Gray was lazily hanging onto it at the side and should have disconnected once he realised he was not doing anything useful and got back in defence. As such, France got the shove on slightly and that means Ritchie decided to add his weight which left McInally and the blindside exposed. Bradbury reacts poorly as the French break off and France have loads of time to get the ball to the danger man Pernaud who Bradbury eventually tackles but he’s so slow to react that Seymour has come into help out. Pernaud offloads to Dupont who now has no Seymour to tackle him and runs well in to the Scottish half. Basteraud magic follows, try. Awful awful start. And it is all from Scottish indecision. Bradbury needed to be in there preventing the French prop from offloading to Pernaud instead of merely watching everything unfold.

As I said, it was obvious a B side were playing because there was no cohesion amongst the players in attack. You could tell these guys hadn’t played those combinations together much before. Despite their best efforts to make it work the mistakes kept creeping in.

The lack of grit at the breakdown from Bradbury, Ritchie and Strauss was a problem. The French has a field day. Graham could be the answer here, he has a nastiness about him I like.

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Post by Tramptastic on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 12:19 pm

what has concerned me most in this tournament is our ball retention in attack - mostly at ruck time

I dont know if its because players are running the support line for the offload but that 2nd man in support of the ball carrier is getting to the breakdown half a 2nd slower than the defensive jackler which means the ball is slowed down more often as not. Whether this is due to unfamiliar combinations etc, it shouldnt matter, you need to be dominant at the breakdown and at the moment we are letting teams mess us up at ruck time.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 12:36 pm

Tramptastic wrote:what has concerned me most in this tournament is our ball retention in attack - mostly at ruck time

I dont know if its because players are running the support line for the offload but that 2nd man in support of the ball carrier is getting to the breakdown half a 2nd slower than the defensive jackler which means the ball is slowed down more often as not. Whether this is due to unfamiliar combinations etc, it shouldnt matter, you need to be dominant at the breakdown and at the moment we are letting teams mess us up at ruck time.
Completely agree - the way that Wales protected and recycled through the phases against England was amazing.

Never seemed like they would get turned over, even with very few folk at the breakdown.

Whither JB and the Mish.
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Post by tigertattie on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 1:08 pm

For me there are three reasons for "slow ball"

1. The ruck isn't cleared out and the ball presented to the base quickly enough. There's a variety of aspects for this but the big ones in your control are A) when you are tackled, you need to present the ball backwards at a full arm stretch and B) Your supporting players need to get to the ruck early and effectively.

2. The scrum half is presented the ball but is slow to either get to the ruck or decide to get the ball away.

3. The scrum half is there, ball ready to be shipped, but the backline isn’t set to be ready for the ball.

Sooooo many times I saw Frodo at the ruck with one hand on the ball (so the issue 1 was not the factor) and he would be crouched there pointing at the backs shouting. Either he was not ready to get the ball out or the backs were not lined up property and he was having to wait on them.

Having not recorded the match, I can’t go back and look to see what it what. But I still believe that the forwards were providing "quick ball" but the backs were the ones not ready to use it. As our approach seems to be to swing it wide every time, we're then not in a position for "slow ball" to be trucked up by the forwards a few more times until the backs are ready.
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Post by Tramptastic on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 1:22 pm

tigertattie wrote:For me there are three reasons for "slow ball"

1. The ruck isn't cleared out and the ball presented to the base quickly enough. There's a variety of aspects for this but the big ones in your control are A) when you are tackled, you need to present the ball backwards at a full arm stretch and B) Your supporting players need to get to the ruck early and effectively.

2. The scrum half is presented the ball but is slow to either get to the ruck or decide to get the ball away.

3. The scrum half is there, ball ready to be shipped, but the backline isn’t set to be ready for the ball.

Sooooo many times I saw Frodo at the ruck with one hand on the ball (so the issue 1 was not the factor) and he would be crouched there pointing at the backs shouting. Either he was not ready to get the ball out or the backs were not lined up property and he was having to wait on them.

Having not recorded the match, I can’t go back and look to see what it what. But I still believe that the forwards were providing "quick ball" but the backs were the ones not ready to use it. As our approach seems to be to swing it wide every time, we're then not in a position for "slow ball" to be trucked up by the forwards a few more times until the backs are ready.

I would argue that it's point 1. Whenever Scotland play slow its because the "B" player, the player clearing out the ruck, is 2nd in the race to the ruck against the opposition jackler. The amount of crocodile rolls on saturday by scotland players is indicative that they are slow to the breakdown. Frodo is ponderous but a cr*p clearout doesnt help speed things up. Bring Back Richie Gray (the coach).

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Post by EST on Tue 26 Feb 2019, 2:21 pm

Tramptastic wrote:
tigertattie wrote:For me there are three reasons for "slow ball"

1. The ruck isn't cleared out and the ball presented to the base quickly enough. There's a variety of aspects for this but the big ones in your control are A) when you are tackled, you need to present the ball backwards at a full arm stretch and B) Your supporting players need to get to the ruck early and effectively.

2. The scrum half is presented the ball but is slow to either get to the ruck or decide to get the ball away.

3. The scrum half is there, ball ready to be shipped, but the backline isn’t set to be ready for the ball.

Sooooo many times I saw Frodo at the ruck with one hand on the ball (so the issue 1 was not the factor) and he would be crouched there pointing at the backs shouting. Either he was not ready to get the ball out or the backs were not lined up property and he was having to wait on them.

Having not recorded the match, I can’t go back and look to see what it what. But I still believe that the forwards were providing "quick ball" but the backs were the ones not ready to use it. As our approach seems to be to swing it wide every time, we're then not in a position for "slow ball" to be trucked up by the forwards a few more times until the backs are ready.

I would argue that it's point 1. Whenever Scotland play slow its because the "B" player, the player clearing out the ruck, is 2nd in the race to the ruck against the opposition jackler. The amount of crocodile rolls on saturday by scotland players is indicative that they are slow to the breakdown. Frodo is ponderous but a cr*p clearout doesnt help speed things up. Bring Back Richie Gray (the coach).

Laidlaw, at his best, controls the tempo of the game by knowing when opposition defences are set, and organising his forwards appropriately. This usually results in criticism that isn't particularly warranted, as in those circumstances when there are overlaps/mismatches, he generally does get the ball away quickly.

At his worst, his conservative nature seems to override the latter of those, and he just refuses to trust those outside him - see every game this 6N. I think we got a decent amount of quick ball at the weekend, but he didn't get it away quickly, for whatever reason. The worst example this 6N was definitely the 5 mins before half time against Ireland - he was the main reason we didn't manage to score.

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