Six Nations round 4 Scotland vs Wales

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:09 pm

Sat, 9 Mar, 14:15
Murrayfield Stadium

Scotland.

Kinghorn, Seymour, Grigg, Graham, Horne, Russell, Price; Dell, McInally, Nel, Gilchrist, Gray, Bradbury, Strauss, Ritchie.

Reps: Brown, Reid, Berghan, Toolis, Watson, Laidlaw, Hastings, McGuigan



Wales.

Liam Williams; George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams; Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans., Ken Owens, Tomas Francis; Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones; Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty.

Reps: Elliot Dee, Nicky Smith, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Aaron Wainwright, Aled Davies, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.



Referee Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Scotland v Wales is on BBC One


Last edited by maestegmafia on Thu 07 Mar 2019, 3:07 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post by BigGee on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:19 pm

So, do you think Wales are planning on going easy on us, to save themselves for the Ireland game?

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:22 pm

Scotland normally play better at home than they do away. But if Scotland play like they did yesterday against France. 

And Wales play like they did against England. The i think Wales will win.

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:29 pm

Wales used up a lot of their reserve mental energy to meet England, resist them and then claw out the win. No doubt about it, that and the Ireland game were the big games in their heads. That build up of tension (at home) the release of it with such a positive result then on to what on paper looks an easier challenge on paper but away from home?
Townsend will be showing his weakness on the psychological front if he isn't ready to catch Wales between a high and the contemplation of another high the week after. Scotland have proven themselves much too good a side to be just a harmless diversion for an ambitious Wales now. They can ambush the Welsh.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:31 pm

BigGee wrote:So, do you think Wales are planning on going easy on us, to save themselves for the Ireland game?

Definitely ha ha ha...!

Out of respect for the great history of Scottish Rugby I would think Wales will be pitting out their very best team. This will be a Superb match, Wales on a 12 game winning streak and Scotland looking to take another scalp.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 7:55 pm

There may be some rotation. Tomos Williams, Halfpenny and Rhys Patchell could all be fit to play.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:06 pm

So perhaps we can discuss changes to our line up here. Among my family the consensus is that Biggar is our best fly-half but he’s also superb coming in off the bench. Anscombe doesn’t strike me as a game-changer from the bench but Patchell does. Anscombe was a little lively yesterday but made some bad errros which a pivotal player shouldn’t be doing, so for me he’s probably our third best with the talented Jarrod Evans hot on his tail.

I think Smith and Lewis have overtaken Evans and Lee. Whilst Evans is pretty good at the dark arts of the scrum he’s a little carry-shy (yeah a prop forward) and gave a shocking pass to Moriarty when Wales were in the ascendancy. Smith is strong in the scrum and is better around the field of play, all whilst being a little slight for a prop by today’s standards. Lee struggles with fitness and has been going backwards in the scrum this year, whilst Lewis reminds me a lot of Gethin Jenkins except on the other side of the scrum. No changes to the front-row and their reps is probably acceptable at this stage. Our lineout is still really bad.

Biggest changes are in the backs. Why are some people celebrating the fact that Aled came on with 4 minutes left and made a pass? It’s cringeworthy and we all know by now that he shouldn’t be near this team. Reminiscent of the Priestland and Cuthbert protests when they were no longer up to it - admirable but mistaken.
Parkes has to go to the bench doing a straight swap with Watkin. It’s simple rugby taking the crashball so not sure why some were celebrating that either. He’s too slow and for me his form hasn’t improved enough to keep a live wire like Watkin out of the team. Parkes has a good brain and boot, so I think he’d be better coming off the bench to help close out a game like Biggar would.
My cousins are convinced that Halfpenny should come back into the team or the bench, but I don’t see what we have to gain from that. Our back 3 has been going really well. I would leave Half at the Scarlets and consider him for the World Cup. Leave the halfbacks (not Aled) and a centre on the bench. Our backs still seem to be standing a little too deep in attack, not sure what’s up with that.

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Post by tigertattie on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:20 pm

For Wales you need to start Biggar. He always has a good game against us. He’s an odd one thought as he goes missing from time to time which is why anscombe was starting. What that then does is light a fire in Biggar and coming off the bench he plays with a point to prove.

For us we need Nel back firstly. Berghan on the bench to provide energy after 50 mins. Zander just isn’t up to speed yet.

Second row we need GC and Toolis starting. Ritchie G on the bench with ickle Jonny “rested”

Back row should be Maggie, graham and Ritchie. No need to rush Watson back too soon. World Cup coming soon mind. Maybe have him on the bench? Him running at a tiring Wales after 50 mins would be impact.

We need Finn back

I’d start with price or George Horne to be honest. I think moving to France has made Finn raise his structured game so we don’t need Frodo to hold his hand.

Darcy needs to start of Tommy Seymour.

Wales will put out a full strength team as it would be bonkers to risk a potential GS by falling to Scotland at Murrayfield (Scotland won the fixture last time mind)

It’s entirely possible that we beat Wales and France beat Ireland which makes the last week utterly riveting
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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:21 pm

maes.

If Halfpenny comes back. what happens to Liam William's?

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Post by The Oracle on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:22 pm

Not looking forward to this one. Scotland beat us convincingly in this fixture 2 years ago. We have to be on our toes with their excellent back play and pace. Could be a long day at the office for our defence.

Someone else post in the Wales v England thread that Wales’ 2 toughest games are yet to come and I think I agree. Scotland will be extremely tough. Lose that and then we’re scrapping with Ireland in the last game to salvage something from the tournament.
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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:24 pm

In the backs I would really like to see Tomos Williams get some game time. I agree that Watkin is a better inside centre and would really like to see him play too. Back three to stay the same but I would add a back three to the bench. Holmes maybe.

Forwards I agree that Lewis is far more exciting than Lee. I would like to see Adam Beard get a fair chance whether bench or starter.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:27 pm

The Oracle wrote:Not looking forward to this one. Scotland beat us convincingly in this fixture 2 years ago. We have to be on our toes with their excellent back play and pace. Could be a long day at the office for our defence.

Someone else post in the Wales v England thread that Wales’ 2 toughest games are yet to come and I think I agree. Scotland will be extremely tough. Lose that and then we’re scrapping with Ireland in the last game to salvage something from the tournament.

I don’t disagree. Scotland have been a bad bounce of the ball away from taking a win in two games. They will be working very hard on how to counter Wales over the next two weeks. Ireland are still the best squad in this championship, maybe not firing on all cylinders at halfback though.

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Post by majesticimperialman on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 8:44 pm

Just wondering how many injuries are their to both teams?

Just learn't that Lawes is out for the rest of tournament with a calf injurie.

How are the injuries for Wales and Scotland? and will/could this be the deciding factor of the game?

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Post by mikey_dragon on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 9:28 pm

Hill was limping off yesterday, not sure if it’s serious as we may have heard by now.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sun 24 Feb 2019, 9:38 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:Hill was limping off yesterday, not sure if it’s serious as we may have heard by now.
hill put in a hell of a good game when he was on board and thoroughly justified his place.

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Post by RiscaGame on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 8:25 am

I am not sure our starting lineup will change. Anscombe played okay and Biggar closed the game out. I feel like Gatland will go for that again. Tomos Williams may start (if fit), as that was what was supposed to have happened v England. There's not a chance of Gatland taking Scotland lightly though, even if he has never lost to them. I am not sure why anybody would think he would.

I feel like Scotland will start Price over Laidlaw, after how they went on Saturday.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:09 am

RiscaGame wrote:I am not sure our starting lineup will change. Anscombe played okay and Biggar closed the game out. I feel like Gatland will go for that again. Tomos Williams may start (if fit), as that was what was supposed to have happened v England. There's not a chance of Gatland taking Scotland lightly though, even if he has never lost to them. I am not sure why anybody would think he would.

I feel like Scotland will start Price over Laidlaw, after how they went on Saturday.

I think Scotland will change quite a few players from Saturday, if we don't then we are truly fu*#ed!

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 9:59 am

BigGee wrote:
RiscaGame wrote:I am not sure our starting lineup will change. Anscombe played okay and Biggar closed the game out. I feel like Gatland will go for that again. Tomos Williams may start (if fit), as that was what was supposed to have happened v England. There's not a chance of Gatland taking Scotland lightly though, even if he has never lost to them. I am not sure why anybody would think he would.

I feel like Scotland will start Price over Laidlaw, after how they went on Saturday.

I think Scotland will change quite a few players from Saturday, if we don't then we are truly fu*#ed!

We (Townsend) needs to change the team up.

Yes we are absolutely riddled with injuries but this injury crisis has made some players even more complacent on their places. "Why would I be dropped, when there's no one else to replace me"

Dead wood players need cut out or a rocket fired up their jacksie. Jonny Gray doesn’t strike me as the type of player to be complacent or get lazy, maybe he’s carrying some game limiting injury, I don’t know. Seymour has been utterly awful as has Laidlaw. Maitland has been iffy at best. Horne tries but he’s just not international quality. Strauss, after two good games, went missing again.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Dell topped the tackle chart. He was pinged twice for a penalty in the scrum but in the world of the ref lottery at scrum time, that means nothing. 2nd was Maggie (who did nothing wrong) just wasn’t his barnstorming self (hard to be though when the whole team is coming off second best). Gilco played well and I’ll forgive his couple of penalties as a couple were 50/50 ones and he was trying to do something to get some go forward. Both Graham boys (no relation) paled well when they came on. Ritchie continues to impress for Scotland (was often the only chaser going for kicks).

Tactically we need to sort things out. We are not completing for the kicks we put up. If we are not competing, then we are just handing the ball to the other team. We’re also poor at fielding kicks from the opposition. We also looked to throw it wide at every opportunity. You need to go forward before you can go looking for space outside. This was where most of our issues were. We tried to throw things out too quick to the wings and we fluffed our lines by rushing it each and every time. You need to play the basics first then do the fancy dan stuff after. We’re going right for fancy dan and it just doesn’t work unless the other team are standing back and letting you play.

I jokingly said it in another post “come back Duncan Weir” but if Dancer isn’t going to be playing then I think Duncan would be a good option at the moment. Play him at 10 with Horne at 12. Duncan’s job is to do the Worcester Warriors style basic play, put the team into the position and graft for the hard yards. Then when it’s time for fancy dan stuff, Horne can step into first receiver if you want.

Toonie needs to really look at our tactics and varying our game. I still think England will be too strong at Twickers but he’s got Wales at HQ to look to address things.


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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:04 pm

This game will be decided by the form of Finn Russell. He can go from the sublime, to liability all in a few minutes.

If he is on song, then Wales can look out !!!!!!

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:17 pm

As I said previously, Townsend needs to learn his lessons from the autumn test. I've found my comment from after that game:

Congratulations wales thoroughly deserving of the win. They didn't do a lot of flash or fancy rugby but did the basics of international rugby very well - physicality, good set piece, and playing the ref well. You could see they had much more experience at this level.

That was a really disappointing Scotland performance.

Price and Hastings didn't play well and Hastings has showed he still has a lot to learn. They certainly weren't helped by the forwards though who just didn't win the collisions and didn't work well as a unit. When will Townsend learn that you just can't win at this level if you don't front up physically? I know our hands were tied selection wise but that back row lacked balance. Nice wee cameo from Graham at the end - showed he's hungry and willing at this level too. wrote:

My memory of that game was that Wales were brutally physical, really organised defence, caused carnage in the breakdown and took their opportunities - they didn't do anything flash or elaborate in attack, they just played hard international calibre rugby.

And we had no answer for that - our attacking play didn't function as we didn't get good go forwards in our carries and quick rucks, and our set piece wasn't reliable. We were a bawhair away from scoring a few times which might have changed the game, but ultimately we didn't do enough to deserve the win.

So on that basis, with the key points being physicality, ball carrying, breakdown and set piece I would pick the following (making assumptions on injuries)

1 Dell
2 McInally
3 Nel
4 Gilchrist
5 Toolis (lineout significantly improved with him on)
6 Ritchie
7 Watson
8 Bradbury

9 He'll pick Laidlaw but i'd start Price
10 Russell Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed Fingers Crossed )
11 Matiland (on final warning to perform)
12 Horne
13 Johnson
14 Graham
15 Kinghorn (can't imagine Hogg will be fit)

Subs - Bhattie, Brown, Fagerson, R Gray, Strauss, Laidlaw, Hastings, Grigg

The return of Watson making up for the loss of carrying without Struass, and a very meaty forwards bench to come on and make an impact.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:24 pm

Thank God for someone using their real names. It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

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Post by LordDowlais on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:28 pm

Andy Robinson was out on the town with Finn Russell on the weekend, and apparently he was told that Finn Russell would be available for the Wales game.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:37 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Andy Robinson was out on the town with Finn Russell on the weekend, and apparently he was told that Finn Russell would be available for the Wales game.

Great hopefully Stuart Hogg too. Always best to face the best team they can play despite the Scots still suffering further injuries to top players.

We’ve all been there before. Wales lost several of their top players pre-RWc 2015

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 12:49 pm

I think the entire Scottish nation will be raging if Racing play him this weekend - if he passes the HIA technically there's nothing stopping him getting picked.

Will certainly test our apparent good relationship with Racing.

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:14 pm

RDW wrote:I think the entire Scottish nation will be raging if Racing play him this weekend - if he passes the HIA technically there's nothing stopping him getting picked.

Will certainly test our apparent good relationship with Racing.

I thought young Hastings looked very good on Saturday. Brought back a lot of memories of watching his father play fullback in NZ in 1993.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:18 pm

We can't wrap him in cotton wool as racing will want thier monies worth from Finn.

Likewise you don't want Finn Russell going into the Wales game having not played for 3 weeks. Damned if you do, damned if you don't
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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:32 pm

Disagree with SecretFly in the strongest possible terms. RDW nope you’ve gone all corporate since you became Founder. Nicknames or no names in my opinion!

Jokes aside I’m terrified for these next two games. The pundits can harp on about injuries and playing the right way and all the rest of it, but the fact is we are mentally so fragile and completely rudderless.

Some tough decisions ahead for Toony before the Wales game but I’d like to see Wee George, GG2, Graham major and Graham minor start and King Horneblare, Captain Jonny and Glacial Greg to warm the bench.

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Post by rodders on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 1:47 pm

I don't think this a forgone conclusion at all. Scotland have missed Russell badly and they'll be a different team if he is back, with home advantage I wouldn't be surprised to see Scotland get a badly needed win.

They are good side and to potentially come away with one win would be a terrible return in a RWC year.
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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:02 pm

rodders wrote:I don't think this a forgone conclusion at all. Scotland have missed Russell badly and they'll be a different team if he is back, with home advantage I wouldn't be surprised to see Scotland get a badly needed win.

They are good side and to potentially come away with one win would be a terrible return in a RWC year.

I completely agree and said the same earlier in the thread, they have been an unlucky bounce a way from a great try a number of times.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:14 pm

I think Gary Graham has to be in the match squad and possibly starting. He showed a level of physicality when he came on that none of our other backrows got even closed to. You have got to reward players who perform and Strauss and Maggy really did not.

If Watson is fit then he comes in as a Watson/Ritchie/Bradbury or Strauss Combo, with Graham on bench

If he is not, then go Graham/Ritchie/Bradbury or Struass, with the other on the bench

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Post by RDW on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:26 pm

I would agree with that back row choice Biggee, depending on Watson.

I'm willing to give Bradbury the benefit of the doubt - it was only his 2nd game back after 4 months out. Really was a big ask to play 80. I actually think he improved as the game went on which is a good sign.

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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:51 pm

Read a bit of the England thread. A bit sad that a rugby forum full of supposedly full grown adults has threads getting locked because people can't behave. I don't think it's worth dredging that stuff up here but rugby is getting a bit of nastiness online these days I've noticed whereas before I didn't particularly notice it.

Anyway, on Scotland Wales two years ago we beat Wales primarily because Barclay and Watson (who came on for an injured Hardie) absolutely beasted the breakdown. Both were demons that day and caused all sorts of issues so I'm all for Toony trying the same trick again with Ritchie and hopefully Watson if he's back from his injury. Does seem awful quick return for a hand injury though! Incidentally, Ali Price started as Laidlaw was injured and Hooray Henry came on in the second half to close it out. Getting the ball out quickly didn't allow the Welsh defence to rest whereas teams have all the time in the world when Laidlaw his playing.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 3:58 pm

RDW wrote:I would agree with that back row choice Biggee, depending on Watson.

I'm willing to give Bradbury the benefit of the doubt - it was only his 2nd game back after 4 months out. Really was a big ask to play 80. I actually think he improved as the game went on which is a good sign.

Bradbury is the player with the potential, so yes, he is worth sticking with

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:02 pm

Just watching the premiership highlights from the weekend.

Rory Hutchinson had another really good game for Saints at 13. He seems to be nailing down that shirt now he is back from the early season injury.

Toonie really should be having a look at him, it is not as if we are overflowing with 13s atm and he does look to have a bit of class about him. Maybe to late for this WC cycle or maybe not, Toonie has never traditionally been afraid to throw a curve ball.

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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:04 pm

SecretFly wrote:Thank God for someone using their real names.  It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

Genuinely. I love nicknames and colloquial speech and, done well, it's amazing and creative and genuinely one of the best things about language. But it does make it hard coming onto Scotland threads. At least with the English, their useless nicknames just involve putting a 'y' or an 'o' at the end of their names...

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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:12 pm

miaow wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Thank God for someone using their real names.  It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

Genuinely. I love nicknames and colloquial speech and, done well, it's amazing and creative and genuinely one of the best things about language. But it does make it hard coming onto Scotland threads. At least with the English, their useless nicknames just involve putting a 'y' or an 'o' at the end of their names...

The nicknames on Scottish threads frighten off the crazy people who pick forum-fights with strangers on the internet that end up derailing threads and getting them locked.

The forum should be carefree like Dancer and Frodo oot his face with the tie round his bunnet and less macho bullcrap like Batman, Red Crayon and the minion picking a fight with Tweedledee.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:14 pm

miaow wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Thank God for someone using their real names.  It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

Genuinely. I love nicknames and colloquial speech and, done well, it's amazing and creative and genuinely one of the best things about language. But it does make it hard coming onto Scotland threads. At least with the English, their useless nicknames just involve putting a 'y' or an 'o' at the end of their names...

To be fair, when you hear the Scottish players talking about each other, they always just use y and o as well, Hoggy, Jacko etc

The Scottish fans however (especially on this forum) make a point of being more creative. It is not like we have got any decent rugby to focus on in any case!

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Post by EST on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:20 pm

RDW wrote:I would agree with that back row choice Biggee, depending on Watson.

I'm willing to give Bradbury the benefit of the doubt - it was only his 2nd game back after 4 months out. Really was a big ask to play 80. I actually think he improved as the game went on which is a good sign.

Do you think Bradbury had that bad a game? He didn't stand out hugely, but I thought he looked physical and his tackle count was very good - Toonie name checked him after the game as well.

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Post by BigGee on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:25 pm

EST wrote:
RDW wrote:I would agree with that back row choice Biggee, depending on Watson.

I'm willing to give Bradbury the benefit of the doubt - it was only his 2nd game back after 4 months out. Really was a big ask to play 80. I actually think he improved as the game went on which is a good sign.

Do you think Bradbury had that bad a game?  He didn't stand out hugely, but I thought he looked physical and his tackle count was very good - Toonie name checked him after the game as well.

I don't think he had a bad game, in that he did not make any howlers, but he did not stand out either.

He has got some mitigation though, having been out for so long and he probably would never have been picked so soon after his comeback, had anyone else been available.

If he gets the nod next time, we will have higher expectations of him.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 4:42 pm

He (Maggie) made the 2nd highest number of tackles (behind Dell)

Wasn't a game for anyone to really shine (in a Scotland shirt) but he did as much as anyone on the day.

Going forward I'd look to drop Gray, at least for a couple of games. Toolis' line out game is generally brilliant (played a lot of volleyball apparently) and we could do with winning some more of them. As others have alluded to Gray hasn't looked his old self for a while now, he's still a young man, so maybe it's just catching up with him a bit, as he's played a lot, and a lot is expected of him each game.

In terms of the Wales game, before the tournament, I think i suggested this and the Italy game were possible winners (this being the far harder of the two, obviously) however after seeing Wales' form and our form, I can really only see one winner here.

If Toony was sensible he would adapt his gameplan slightly to reflect that we have lost the spine of our creativity, in Russell (he might be back), Jones & Hogg. Sure Jones was out of form anyway, but it would be good to see Toony look at grinding out results, rather than trying to outplay everyone. Every 6 nations we seem to come into the tournament with a host of injuries, this year it's probably the worst yet, but we always face some kind of crisis. Therefore trying a plan b might be beneficial when "chuck it about" isn't working for us.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:06 pm

Tactically we are all at sea.

We dont have enough variety in our play. You need to bosh up the middle then kick over a rush defence. Then when the kick hold the defensive line back a bit you then spread it wide and look for space. Once the defence is spread out thin you then look to pick and go and offload in the narrow channels where there are then holes.

We're not doing that. We're going side to side most of the time and rushing the pass resulting in knock ons and forward passes. England decimated France with thier kicking game yet when we rocked up, hardly a kick was used.

Yes you need to stick to your own game, but your own game needs to have plenty variety in it these days.
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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:08 pm

Was my comment on Tuilagi removed? No issue if it's because you want to stop the trolling/WUMming, just a shame it's leading to heavy moderation.

In any case, back to this game...

From a Welsh perspective, despite the title very clearly being within Wales' grasp now, this is still a tournament for RWC preparation. Gatland spoke about preparing for the group games in twos: basically, Australia and Fiji, and Georgia and Uruguay, will see Wales put out two different teams and gameplans.

Quite clearly, Wales are going to have to grind Fiji in the tight 5 and play with similar control and poise as we saw against England. We're potentially looking at a golden generation of Fiji players, with the 15s team stacked full of the 7s Olympic champions, many of whom are playing for some of the best club sides in the world, in both hemispheres.  Likewise, Australia - with all their hoodoo over Wales - will be playing it loose and Rugby League+ style, and Wales are already working on countering that. Having seen the Waratahs push the Hurricanes (bottling it at the death by 1 point) and the Brumbies absolutely hammer the Chiefs in Super Rugby, as ever, Australia will be a threat at the RWC. As in a potential winner kind of threat. They have quality players, particularly some young front rowers who have broken through recently, but have clearly been less than the sum of their parts for a while now.

The basic takeaway is - Wales' two toughest group games will be against teams who will look to turn it into fast and loose, end to end games of rugby. Particularly Fiji. The weaker games will be as we saw against Italy: the kind of grinding, possession-based, controlling arm wrestle Wales are so good at in the NH. The problem is Aus and Fiji have far more natural flair and threat, and set themselves up to play more running rugby, than Italy or indeed even England. So, Wales need to find a different kind of control against the 'flair' teams than they will against the forward-oriented teams. I'd expect Wales to rotate similarly against Georgia as they did against Italy and still claim the bonus point win, and of course Uruguay is a gimme 5 points with the 3rd choice players getting their performance in.

The beauty of this Scotland game, then, is the fact that Scotland play far and away the most attractive and inventive (even if Scottish fans probably don't feel that right now) running rugby in the 6Ns. At the very least, they run it from 10 far more consistently than the other 6Ns teams. They are as close as you will find to a SH team like Australia in the NH: France, for all their renewed attacking vigour, still don't really attack off 9 and 10 like Scotland do. France are idiosyncratic - they're uniquely French in many ways. Let's just forget about them for this argument!

What does this mean for Wales? It means Wales will play Scotland 3 times in 12 months. After losing in humiliating fashion in Edinburgh in 2017 - well in the game, controlling it up front, and then seeing a points swing just before half-time (think Wales were odds on to score, maybe missed a kick, and Scotland went down the other end and scored, maybe a try as well?) - Wales cannot repeat what happened in the second-half of that game. Scotland got their tails up and tore Wales apart; their quicker players were more used to running wide, finding support angles, and keeping the ball alive, and they deservedly hammered Wales. One of Wales' worst games in the 6Ns - the 2014 games against Ireland and England are up there alongside this as probably the 3 worst 6Ns games post 2013 Lions for Wales, and credit goes to Scotland for that. In response, Wales really did 'batter' Scotland last year - a mix of forward power and then utilising Wales' own running threats out wide to rack up the tries - and in the autumn, Wales again simply ground out a win without playing too much attacking or 'positive' rugby. RDW's assessment of the game is absolutely spot on.

So in this 3rd game, what will Wales try to do? They're going back to Murrayfield, having to face a Scotland team that took them apart the last time they played there. The 2 wins in 2018 count, but they might not count for very much in this game.

And what does the RWC mean? Typically, Gatland prioritises the big games - and holds back gameplans as a consequence. We've seen that bear fruit at the weekend, as we've seen it time and again. That said, whereas Wales have played some really poor (anti) rugby the 6Ns before a RWC, this year is slightly different. Wales aren't coming into it on the back of a disappointing Summer Tour and Autumn campaign. They're not having to focus on fitness, basics, staying in the game and trying to fix a shaky mentality. For all the jibes about best Welsh team ever this really is a strong looking squad - not just team anymore. Arguably, the first XV aren't as good as the crop from 2011, or even 2013, but the squad is much better and I've said elsewhere, the absence of big names (secure in their positions) has made for a much better Welsh team overall. So they're able to play a bit mroe rugby - maybe even use some of the tactical stuff they're working on for Fiji and Australia...but not too much.

Scotland are a good team. They're potentially an electric team and even without Hogg, Kinghorn showed what a devastating natural runner he is in space against France, even if they weren't capitalised upon. The simple question about this game is: can Wales batter Scotland up front/in the set piece/in the tight carries as they have done for the last two games in Wales, in Edinburgh?

To me, on form, yes they can. But we're talking about 3 games of form here, really, and perhaps looking back to the AIs and maybe Summer Tours as well. Form in that sense is pretty unreliable. I'd be much more worried if Hogg was playing, and if Wales can get to Farrell they can definitely get to Russell, but that doesn't mean Scotland can't still play some magic rugby and score 3 coast to coast tries in 5 minutes to turn a game on its head. What Wales won't be doing is what Fiji did in Murrayfield in the Autumn - and that's going tit for tat. Expect to be ground down - in which case Scotland's poaching game (and Ritchie looks fantastic, Watson obviously great too) at the breakdown becomes key.

Honestly, Wales become favourites going into this but most Welsh rugby fans won't be making the mistake English ones made about 'strong' favourites or thinking we just have to turn up. This could very easily see Scotland click and take Wales apart. I don't think it will happen often enough to win the game, but this should be a nice clash of styles - and hopefully a good prepartion for what is to come later in the year in Japan.

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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:13 pm

Eejit wrote:
miaow wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Thank God for someone using their real names.  It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

Genuinely. I love nicknames and colloquial speech and, done well, it's amazing and creative and genuinely one of the best things about language. But it does make it hard coming onto Scotland threads. At least with the English, their useless nicknames just involve putting a 'y' or an 'o' at the end of their names...

The nicknames on Scottish threads frighten off the crazy people who pick forum-fights with strangers on the internet that end up derailing threads and getting them locked.

The forum should be carefree like Dancer and Frodo oot his face with the tie round his bunnet and less macho bullcrap like Batman, Red Crayon and the minion picking a fight with Tweedledee.

Hahah, na I have no issue with the names, I'm sure they're great, it's just really confusing dipping into a Scottish thread and not having a clue what is going on. Feels a bit like Dougal for Father Ted - sort of here, and sort of keeping up, but there's so much slipping by me I have no idea about. I love the Scots...I have many Scottish friends...well, ok, some...well, ok, one who has a Scottish parent...grandparent...father in law. Ok...fine...whiksy's great...and Limmy's funny...and...

BigGee wrote:
miaow wrote:
SecretFly wrote:Thank God for someone using their real names. It can get pretty confusing for the rest of us when the nicknames are all over the place

Genuinely. I love nicknames and colloquial speech and, done well, it's amazing and creative and genuinely one of the best things about language. But it does make it hard coming onto Scotland threads. At least with the English, their useless nicknames just involve putting a 'y' or an 'o' at the end of their names...

To be fair, when you hear the Scottish players talking about each other, they always just use y and o as well, Hoggy, Jacko etc

The Scottish fans however (especially on this forum) make a point of being more creative. It is not like we have got any decent rugby to focus on in any case!

That's because I get the sense half the Scots are just as posh as most of the English players? It's a public/private school thing? Scottish fans, on the whole, less likely to come from that background, if only through averages of population? Could be wrong though but, removing the SH imports, feels like a pretty even split between someone like Hogg or Russell and then the 'posh Scots', no?

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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:20 pm

miaow wrote:That's because I get the sense half the Scots are just as posh as most of the English players? It's a public/private school thing? Scottish fans, on the whole, less likely to come from that background, if only through averages of population? Could be wrong though but, removing the SH imports, feels like a pretty even split between someone like Hogg or Russell and then the 'posh Scots', no?

It doesn't stop at the players, the Edinburgh fans on these boards are mega posh too. RDW has all his shopping delivered from Harvey Nics by a gentlemen named Bentley and Tattie owns a castle.

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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:36 pm

Also, having thought about this, the reason I think the Scottish nicknames are so annoying is because, generally, the quality of Scottish rugby chat is better than any other country in the rest of the forum. Can't think of a Scottish WUM on the forum, for instance. England obviously has its fair share of really good posters and then a few contrarians - Wales has a few shockers, clearly, and Ireland has lots of good ones but can be prone to being about as fair-handed as a Pro14 ref when discussing their own team. So that's probably the frustration. The general decline of this forum doesn't seem to have really been a Scottish issue - more the aforementioned driving away the better posters from elsewhere. Scotland threads always seem to be knowledgeable, enjoable, but indecipherable haha!

For instance, FES doesn't seem to post here anymore - thought he was a great poster when he was around as well. Just one example really.

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Post by Eejit on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:42 pm

Firstly, this should be Jimbo's custom title.
miaow wrote:knowledgeable, enjoyable, but indecipherable

Pretty sure fes is still around as he was posting on the Glasgow Cardiff thread last week.

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Post by miaow on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 5:58 pm

Ah right fair play - where if he reads that sure it'll be a nice ego boost haha!

What are Scottish fans thinking score wise for this then?

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Post by EnglishReign on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 6:01 pm

Could Hogg be in contention for this one?

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Post by maestegmafia on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 6:05 pm

EnglishReign wrote:Could Hogg be in contention for this one?

Hopefully but he was seen arm in sling at the weekend.

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Post by EnglishReign on Mon 25 Feb 2019, 6:14 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
EnglishReign wrote:Could Hogg be in contention for this one?

Hopefully but he was seen arm in sling at the weekend.

Hmm, maybe bench at best then. Kinghorn looks decent but feel a player of Hogg's ability is integral to Scotland getting anything from the game, IMO.

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