Scotland WC Chat

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Post by RDW on Mon 18 Mar - 8:39

First topic message reminder :

FORWARDS (23)

John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 71 caps; Rugby World Cup 2007 and 2011
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 19 caps
Jamie Bhatti (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh) – 7 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Allan Dell (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 19 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 33 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) – 2 caps
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 29 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Gordon Reid (London Irish) – 34 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 10 caps
Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs) – 5 caps
Grant Stewart (Glasgow Warriors) – uncapped
Josh Strauss (Sale Sharks) – 22 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – uncapped
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 18 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 25 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 43 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015

BACKS (19)

Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 4 caps
Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors) – 9 caps
Chris Harris (Newcastle Falcons) – 8 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 11 caps
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors) – 67 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 41 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints) – uncapped
Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 4 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 71 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 40 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Byron McGuigan (Sale Sharks) – 8 caps
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 24 caps
Henry Pyrgos (Edinburgh) – 27 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 44 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 50 caps; Rugby World Cup 2015
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 21 caps



World Cup Warmups

France V Scotland
Scotland V France
Georgia V Scotland
Scotland V Georgia

World Cup Fixtures

Ireland v Scotland
International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
Sunday 22nd September 2019
Kick Off: 8:45am

Scotland v Samoa
Kobe Misaki Stadium, Kobe
Monday 30th September 2019
Kick Off: 11:15am

Scotland v Russia
Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Shizuoka
Wednesday 9th October 2019
Kick Off: 8:15am

Japan v Scotland
International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama
Sunday 13th October 2019
Kick Off: 11:45am


Last edited by RDW on Wed 19 Jun - 9:54; edited 1 time in total

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 16 Sep - 8:19

Aye but he's never been quite the same player as then. He was good and physical but not much else. Still I'll never forget his runs against England on his debut.
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Post by tigertattie on Mon 16 Sep - 9:23

NeilyBroon wrote:Aye but he's never been quite the same player as then. He was good and physical but not much else. Still I'll never forget his runs against England on his debut.

Deffo a crash ball specialist.

Hands like Jubblies

Appartently a great all round guy off the park though.
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Post by SecretFly on Mon 16 Sep - 9:39

Hazel Sapling wrote:Bradbury and Skinner are going to be needed in this RWC as well as H Jones. I think we can safely assume that the injury bug is going to strike at some point. The first two would have made the squad with good health.

It is weird to think that some injuries may strengthen Scotland. I assume some other countries are in the same boat. L McGrath for me is worse than Marmion and Cooney.

I hear this often but for me this Luke has the potential to put real buzz on the ball and get Ireland into more uptempo moods. Now you might pin that opinion onto Marmion and Cooney too but if you get to play for Leinster, you ain't no slouch. Plus.... Sexton playing with an actual Provincial teammate at 9 at times during this WC might be just what the doc ordered to prise open some of the more rigid oysters.

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Post by bsando on Mon 16 Sep - 10:55

Sad news for Denton, he's had to retire from rugby due to his on going concussion issues.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/49712831

It didn't seem likely he'd make it back to be fair after his last injury update seemed to suggest his symptoms were pretty bad. Denton was a brilliant no.8 for Scotland and a key part of the successful run to the QF's and nearly the semi finals of the 2015 RWC.

I went to Murrayfield in 2012 to see Scotland vs England and despite the woeful loss, Denton really stood out in that game as a big ball carrier which I'll never forget.

Disappointing to lose him and you just wonder how he may have done had he stayed in the Edinburgh setup rather than moving to Bath, Worcester and finally Leicester. Leicester really looked after him well so credit to them for doing so despite their own difficulties on and off field over the past few seasons.

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Post by EST on Mon 16 Sep - 11:06

Really sad news for Denton - as mentioned above he was probably our best player in the 2015 WC, and is certainly a physical specimen that Scotland don't produce very often. His career kinda fizzled out after that point, with injuries and form hindering him at Bath and Leicester, although he did have a good season at Worcester the season before last.

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Post by 123456789. on Mon 16 Sep - 11:11

I think this was news everyone involved was expecting but he seems to be taking it as a relative positive. I suppose it's the end of limbo and takes a bit of pressure of of him. Denton is a bit of an odd one in that he seemed to have the Number 8 shirt tied down for a decade when he came on the scene. That first six nations was brilliant and he was outstanding in 2015. I do wonder if he moved from Scotland at the wrong time. From what I can recall he went down to effectively play second fiddle to Faletau and never really kicked on at Bath. Worcester is a second rate English team at the moment and Leicester could have been a great fir for him had things worked out. As the sort of Manchester United of English Rugby it's hard to see that they wouldn't have turned themselves around in the next couple of years. As a seasoned International Denton could, and should, have been a big part of that becoming a leader in the process.

It is a reminder for those who promulgate the indiscriminate idea that senior Scottish players should always move abroad once they've broken through to clear space up that it doesn't always work out. I know that he could have had head knocks anywhere he played however he stopped being a fixture in the Scotland side when he moved south. It's a similar story to Richie Gray. In 2012 it would be a reasonable assumption to assume that these two big, blonde beasts were nailed on for a decade in the Scotland pack. Yet they have both moved on and never really kicked on, either through injuries or poor decisions transfer wise. Compare them to a Ryan Wilson, less talented than either of them by any measure (although almost guaranteed to have a Haskell-Hamilton esque podcast in retirement) yet he has become ever-present in the Scotland side.

Will Scotland miss Denton? On the face of it, yes. He was the sort of big carrier that we have been crying out for. However with Thomson coming in, Fagerson and Bradbury in the wings (and Ryan Wilson's "leadership skills") I think we're suddenly better placed at 8 than we have been for a long time.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 16 Sep - 12:47

Nah we're still struggling for 8

Denton had the hands of a flounder but he had great go forward. He was figured out though. As he couldnt/wouldnt pass, players just started hitting him low and he would go down like a giant redwood. An aspect I'm sure he was starting to work on.

Our other 8s:

Wilson is rubbish, even in a fight in a chip shop he's only there for moral support.
Fagerson is young and raw but he lacks in general bulk in the international game.
Thomson could be a prospect but we'll need to let him have a run of games to see how he does
Bradbury is still the front runner in my mind but he needs to get his head screwed on an knuckle down on getting a starting shirt at Edinburgh.
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Post by bsando on Mon 16 Sep - 13:22

This RWC is a great moment for likes of Bradbury and Thomson to step up and show the world that Scotland has some decent ball carriers. I'd say Bradbury is probably most explosive of the two but I also think Thomson may well surprise a few people with his physicality as well. There were glimpses in the warmups but the Ireland match will give us a better insight I imagine.

Cummings for me seems to be emerging as a huge ball carrier. I went to the Saracens vs Glasgow game in London earlier this year and despite the result I remember one big carry from Cummings that caused the Sarries crowd to go "ooohh" as he went into contact. His last outing against Georgia was obviously a great one.

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Post by EST on Mon 16 Sep - 13:26

bsando wrote:This RWC is a great moment for likes of Bradbury and Thomson to step up and show the world that Scotland has some decent ball carriers. I'd say Bradbury is probably most explosive of the two but I also think Thomson may well surprise a few people with his physicality as well. There were glimpses in the warmups but the Ireland match will give us a better insight I imagine.

Cummings for me seems to be emerging as a huge ball carrier. I went to the Saracens vs Glasgow game in London earlier this year and despite the result I remember one big carry from Cummings that caused the Sarries crowd to go "ooohh" as he went into contact. His last outing against Georgia was obviously a great one too.

I guess we'll have a team out in a few days! It's come around pretty fast.

Cummings is a surprisingly good ball carrier. He is very quick and runs really good lines, which seems to make up for the fact that he isn't a huge bloke - I would definitely have him on the bench over Toolis on current form.

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Post by bsando on Mon 16 Sep - 13:31

EST wrote:
bsando wrote:This RWC is a great moment for likes of Bradbury and Thomson to step up and show the world that Scotland has some decent ball carriers. I'd say Bradbury is probably most explosive of the two but I also think Thomson may well surprise a few people with his physicality as well. There were glimpses in the warmups but the Ireland match will give us a better insight I imagine.

Cummings for me seems to be emerging as a huge ball carrier. I went to the Saracens vs Glasgow game in London earlier this year and despite the result I remember one big carry from Cummings that caused the Sarries crowd to go "ooohh" as he went into contact. His last outing against Georgia was obviously a great one too.

I guess we'll have a team out in a few days! It's come around pretty fast.

Cummings is a surprisingly good ball carrier. He is very quick and runs really good lines, which seems to make up for the fact that he isn't a huge bloke - I would definitely have him on the bench over Toolis on current form.

Agreed, Toolis has looked a little sluggish in the warmups although he is one of those guys ho does a lot of work off the ball and in defence. Cummings would be a good option for Ireland I think when Scotland need an impact off the bench.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon 16 Sep - 15:01

We also need to rememeber that Bradbury isnt in the squad!
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Post by RDW on Mon 16 Sep - 15:28


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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 17 Sep - 6:48

I saw an article with a quote from Horne saying "he doesn't sulk" and thought oh God here we go...

It was Horne Jr.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/49704688
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Post by bsando on Tue 17 Sep - 7:07

tigertattie wrote:We also need to rememeber that Bradbury isnt in the squad!

I know! I only remembered a few hours after posting Laugh too late

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 18 Sep - 19:06

Every interview with the Scotland players is about defence.

I always find these interviews focussing on one aspect worrying as its usually the aspect we f**k up on come the actual game. I bet we'll now go on to leak 3 tries in 20 minutes.
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Post by carpet baboon on Wed 18 Sep - 19:54

NeilyBroon wrote:Every interview with the Scotland players is about defence.

I always find these interviews focussing on one aspect worrying as its usually the aspect we f**k up on come the actual game. I bet we'll now go on to leak 3 tries in 20 minutes.

Ooo could you please. I would appreciate it

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Post by bsando on Thu 19 Sep - 7:35

I see Bradbury has been hanging out with his teammates outside of training. Assume that’s okay then? But not actual training.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 19 Sep - 7:39

It seems that having contingency players called up is okay as it's not just Scotland who have. I think it would be daft considering the bulk of the nations are western based for world rugby to be overly strict on injury cover. As long as they're not selected and not obviously training with the squad unless there is an injury concern which has been announced officially then i think its ok.
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Post by tigertattie on Thu 19 Sep - 9:37

I'm pretty sure it is now allowed under normal circumstances and players should not even be in the country but having said this, I think Maggie is there as precausionary replacement for Ritchie. With all the focus on head injuries now, surely World Rugby can't say to teams they cant have back ups for players who could be ona return to play protocol???
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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 19 Sep - 9:43

According to various press reports, he's allowed in the country, but he's not allowed to train or stay with the team.

The assumption would be he's in a nearby hotel (with a decent gym) and has a conditioning plan to ensure he's as close to match fit as possible.

Also seems Ritchie has responded well to the treatment and is an outside bet for the Ireland game, so Bradbury may be on his way home after that game, depending on any new injuries.

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 9:57

It is a difficult one as I suspect Bradbury will be called up to replace any back 5 player who gets injured. What happens if no one gets injured against Ireland? Do you fly him home then potentially have to fly him back a week later after Samoa? not ideal to mess him around like that. Then again, it can't be fun for him being in limbo and not doing any proper rugby training or games and being an outcast in the squad. Edinburgh could very much use his services!

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Post by bsando on Thu 19 Sep - 9:58

Ah right I see. So he was probably as you say, staying somewhere else and just catching up outside of the hotel with the team. I guess he'll fly back if Richie is fit as you say RDW because he would be better off at Edinburgh.

How we feeling for Ireland? I am just hoping we don't get forced into an arm wrestle against them and manage to play a fast open game. What I'm liking about our pack compared to the 6N vs Ireland is we have our best poachers available. Thomson is a good ripper of the ball I believe and may win a few turnovers himself. Barclay is our best poacher in my opinion and Watson can get over the ball too. In the 6N we had Harley playing 45 mins in place of Wilson, Strauss and then Richie who was still adjusting to International level. So no real out and out poacher to help Scotland regain possession.

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 10:08

All stats point towards nothing but an Ireland win. They are #1 team in the world, have beaten the ABs twice since the last world cup, won a Grand Slam in 2018, Leinster have won several trophies and in the warmup games have looked like they're getting back to their best. They have won 5 out of the last 6 games against us.

By contrast we won 1 game in the 6N, flattered to deceive in the AIs and were beaten by the USA in the last summer tour. Hand on heart we haven't actually put in a decent 80 minute performance since England at home at the beginning of last year, and there have been some real concerning performances since. To add that that we're relying on a number 8 with a game and a half's worth of international experience and a centre combo who have played a similar length of time together. Our likely 13 will be playing his 3rd game in 2 years. We have major concerns over our physicality and defence - we're going to need to significantly improve in those areas very quickly.

2 of our warmup games were decent performances, 1 was pretty meh and 1 was a complete humping. None of them were even close to the intensity that Ireland are going to bring.

If Ireland can bring 80% of the intensity that they can do I think we won't be able to cope with it. Saying that, if Ireland can't keep that up all game, start making their mistakes and their lineout begins to fall apart again we have a chance.

It will be a big upset if Scotland win this game!

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN on Thu 19 Sep - 10:35

Scotland by 10 then.....

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 19 Sep - 10:40

RDW wrote:It is a difficult one as I suspect Bradbury will be called up to replace any back 5 player who gets injured. What happens if no one gets injured against Ireland? Do you fly him home then potentially have to fly him back a week later after Samoa? not ideal to mess him around like that. Then again, it can't be fun for him being in limbo and not doing any proper rugby training or games and being an outcast in the squad. Edinburgh could very much use his services!

I can't find the link to the story, but Danny Wilson was quoted as saying they'll review injuries after the Ireland game and if Bradbury's not needed he'll be sent home to Edinburgh, with an eye to him being available for the Zebre game. If I can find the link I'll add it here later.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 19 Sep - 10:41

RDW wrote:All stats point towards nothing but an Ireland win. They are #1 team in the world, have beaten the ABs twice since the last world cup, won a Grand Slam in 2018, Leinster have won several trophies and in the warmup games have looked like they're getting back to their best. They have won 5 out of the last 6 games against us.

By contrast we won 1 game in the 6N, flattered to deceive in the AIs and were beaten by the USA in the last summer tour. Hand on heart we haven't actually put in a decent 80 minute performance since England at home at the beginning of last year, and there have been some real concerning performances since. To add that that we're relying on a number 8 with a game and a half's worth of international experience and a centre combo who have played a similar length of time together. Our likely 13 will be playing his 3rd game in 2 years. We have major concerns over our physicality and defence - we're going to need to significantly improve in those areas very quickly.

2 of our warmup games were decent performances, 1 was pretty meh and 1 was a complete humping. None of them were even close to the intensity that Ireland are going to bring.

If Ireland can bring 80% of the intensity that they can do I think we won't be able to cope with it. Saying that, if Ireland can't keep that up all game, start making their mistakes and their lineout begins to fall apart again we have a chance.

It will be a big upset if Scotland win this game!

Agreed. Whilst we have a chance, Ireland are (rightly) heavy favourites.

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Post by jimbopip on Thu 19 Sep - 10:45

EWT Spoons wrote:
RDW wrote:All stats point towards nothing but an Ireland win. They are #1 team in the world, have beaten the ABs twice since the last world cup, won a Grand Slam in 2018, Leinster have won several trophies and in the warmup games have looked like they're getting back to their best. They have won 5 out of the last 6 games against us.

By contrast we won 1 game in the 6N, flattered to deceive in the AIs and were beaten by the USA in the last summer tour. Hand on heart we haven't actually put in a decent 80 minute performance since England at home at the beginning of last year, and there have been some real concerning performances since. To add that that we're relying on a number 8 with a game and a half's worth of international experience and a centre combo who have played a similar length of time together. Our likely 13 will be playing his 3rd game in 2 years. We have major concerns over our physicality and defence - we're going to need to significantly improve in those areas very quickly.

2 of our warmup games were decent performances, 1 was pretty meh and 1 was a complete humping. None of them were even close to the intensity that Ireland are going to bring.

If Ireland can bring 80% of the intensity that they can do I think we won't be able to cope with it. Saying that, if Ireland can't keep that up all game, start making their mistakes and their lineout begins to fall apart again we have a chance.

It will be a big upset if Scotland win this game!

Agreed.  Whilst we have a chance, Ireland are (rightly) heavy favourites.

I agree 100% with all of the above.

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Post by jimbopip on Thu 19 Sep - 10:46

Tattie Scones RRN wrote:Scotland by 10 then.....

I agree 100% with all of the above.

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 10:47

Tattie Scones RRN wrote:Scotland by 10 then.....

Laugh

Pretty much.

I'm actually pretty relaxed about this one as there's no real benefit for whoever wins other than a bit of momentum at the start of the tournament - it's not like SA is much of a consolation from NZ in the QFs (assuming NZ win). It would take a bit of pressure off the Japan game but even if we won it could still transpire that we would need a result against Japan, remembering that Japan were knocked out last time despite only losing once.

I would take a good performance and no injuries, as pessimistic as that sounds!

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 19 Sep - 10:59

Listen, if Ireland beat us 36-0 and then we go on to meet them again in a competitive final, I'll be happy!!!
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Post by Tramptastic on Thu 19 Sep - 11:10

The pressure is off in this game. We aren't expected to win so I expect to see the Scotland team at least looking relaxed and making a good game of it.

However a loss against Ireland means we absolutely have to win against Japan which means 3 weeks of hype and build up to the final pool match game of the tournament against the hosts, 4 days after playing against Russia. Thats a fair whack of pressure for them to contend with...

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Post by alive555 on Thu 19 Sep - 11:14

Team still not out?
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Post by Tramptastic on Thu 19 Sep - 11:21

Maybe we'll get it towards the tail end of today or tomorrow morning.

The saturday teams have only just finished being announced so likely to be tomorrow we get them

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Post by alive555 on Thu 19 Sep - 11:25

Hard rain forecast. Perfect for forward dominated kick chase rugby. Sad((
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 19 Sep - 11:33

Same training applies then:
Gats baby oiled his balls,
England used water on them.
Scotland we hear were more regular, choosing soap.
Ireland used butter.... but that's just coz they watched Last Tango in Paris when they heard what Gats was at.

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 11:41

Team will be announced at 10:30 tomorrow apparently.

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 19 Sep - 11:52

SecretFly wrote:Same training applies then:
Gats baby oiled his balls,
England used water on them.
Scotland we hear were more regular, choosing soap.
Ireland used butter.... but that's just coz they watched Last Tango in Paris when they heard what Gats was at.

Technically it was shampoo we used. We got it from Ali Price and Adam Hastings' "emergency" supply.

Apparently Gordie Reid was confused as to why he ended up smelling like Lavendar and Eucalyptus (He had to be told what it was that he smelled off as he only uses "good old Coultar soap and a pumace stone fur scrubbin"
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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 19 Sep - 13:56

Well, the Guardian and their 'experts' don't fancy our chances in the WC.  Most, if not all of them, suggest we will go out in the group stages, losing out to Japan.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/sep/19/rugby-world-cup-2019-guardian-predictions

Guardian wrote:New Zealand still formidable, Fiji to prove tricky opponents with Semi Radradra turning on the power: our pundits set out their forecasts for the tournament

Guardian sport



Who will win the World Cup?
Rob Kitson South Africa, unless they are flattened in the final by a free-wheeling England team boasting even more dynamic power. The side that hits hardest for longest – with and without the ball – will ultimately prevail.

Ben Ryan England are genuine contenders but I can’t see past the All Blacks although Beauden Barrett needs to avoid the Kiwi World Cup fly-half curse. In a parallel universe, Mosese Rauluni and Nicky Little return after a 12-year hiatus at half backs for Fiji and they edge a formidable Namibia in the final.

Nick Evans Despite injuries, form of some senior players and a belief from everyone outside New Zealand that they are in decline, the All Blacks are still in the box seat to three-peat the World Cup.

Andy Bull Given the form the smart answer is South Africa, so my head’s annoyed with my heart for persuading me to commit to this in print but I just wonder if the Welsh may pull it off.

Gerard Meagher New Zealand. I have a feeling they may lose to South Africa on the tournament’s first Saturday but end up exacting revenge back in Yokohoma 42 days later.

Paul Rees New Zealand, ahead of England and South Africa. With the ball-in-play time expected to be high and humidity a factor, they are supremely fit opportunists, menacing when questioned.

Claire Tolley New Zealand on paper, just about, simply because they are best equipped to do so. But, frankly, picking a winner is like trying to pin a tail on a moving donkey.

Who are the dark horses?
RK Wales. The rugby fates were cruel in 2011 when they could have made the final. Anyone writing off Warren Gatland and his durable players before a knock-out showdown against England is ignoring their World Cup history.

BR Japan. At home. On form. Better than their 2015 side. Beware Ireland and Scotland.

NE Although Australia traditionally remain a big side they have been widely written off but the Wallabies have a habit of turning up at World Cups. Three performances such as that in Perth against New Zealand could see them lift the cup.

AB After the four years they’ve had, Australia are well back in the betting. Michael Cheika is an expert at pulling a team together over the course of a tournament.

GM France have such firepower among their backs and raw power up front that stringing a run to at least the semi-finals is not inconceivable. Fabien Galthié appears to be making a positive impact too.

PR Wales, who are often judged on style rather than substance, and Scotland, whose counterattacking game should suit the conditions, although rain is forecast ahead of their opener against Ireland.

CT When there’s no favourite and a tightly-bunched set of rivals is anyone a dark horse? Wales, possibly, if a team that was world No 1 a few weeks ago can be called that.


Who will be the star player?

RK Semi Radradra (Fiji). Do not be surprised if Fiji give Australia a scare on the opening weekend. Either way, the powerful Radradra has all the tools to be the most lethal midfield ball-carrier in the tournament.

BR Three Fijian back-rowers – Peceli Yato, Semi Kunatani & Bill Mata. Container Office.

NE Damian Penaud from France is a quality wing who has pace, power and a slipperiness about him. Expect him to score a lot of tries.

AB Springbok wing Cheslin Kolbe, short, squat, but whip smart and sharp, with the best step in the game, a welcome reminder that even today size isn’t everything.

GM Handré Pollard. The Springbok fly-half has everything in his armoury the complete modern-day No 10 would want. South Africa are well fancied for the tournament but not if Pollard goes down early.

PR Injuries and red cards are likely to be factors, but Beauden Barrett if New Zealand are to win. Maro Itoje, Makazole Mapimpi and James Ryan to polish their reputations.

CT High hopes of someone such as Fiji’s Semi Radradra stunning everyone while given the pool lineup, think heaps of visibility will go to the All Blacks’ Sevu Reece or Springbok back-row Pieter-Steph Du Toit.

Who will be the biggest flop?

RK New Zealand? Just kidding, but there is bound to be a grim-faced inquest should they miss out on a third straight World Cup title. This is not, relatively speaking, a vintage All Black pack and their opponents are improving.

BR I hate to say it but Ireland. Can’t see them going past the quarters.

NE Hard one this. One of either Ireland or Scotland if Japan end up getting out of the pool, or Argentina. Take your pick.

AB Apart from all of us making these predictions? For all their talented young players France have the air of a side who might blow up spectacularly in the group stages.

GM Canada have made the quarter-finals only once, in 1991, so it may be harsh to suggest they will flop but they are at their lowest ebb and only squeezed through by beating Hong Kong. In the same pool as New Zealand and South Africa, we could see a new record points margin.

PR France, if they look to 2023 rather than now, or Australia, who for all their victory over New Zealand in the summer, have been brittle since the 2015 final.

CT Not who, but what. A proper tier two challenge, sadly. Happy to have egg on my face after a few days but I can’t quite see anyone reaching the knockout stages.

How far will the home nations go?
RK At least two should reach the semis, injuries and typhoons permitting. Given Ireland, Wales and England are all guided by Kiwi or Australian head coaches, however, the old north-south battle lines are blurred these days.


BR I think England could very well play Wales in the quarters so only one home nation to go through to semis. Others to fall before that.

NE England to lose to New Zealand in the semi-finals, Wales to make it to the last four as well, Ireland and Scotland to fall one hurdle earlier in the last eight.

AB Further than they did in 2015, for sure. England and Wales should both make the semi-finals, beyond that it all feels too close to call.

GM England to reach the semis before familiar failings return, Wales and Ireland to go out in the quarter-finals and Scotland to go out in the pool stages, going down in a decider against Japan.

PR At least three in the quarter-finals, probably four; two in the semis.

CT One or two to reach the semi-finals depending on whether England or Wales play each other. Not sure mentally if they can get past that hurdle to the final.


Who will surprise us?
RK Aside from Fiji, the hosts Japan will be more awkward opponents than many expect. France are bound to have at least one irresistible half of rugby in them and, off the field, cosy European assumptions will be tested on an hourly basis.

BR Possibly a typhoon. Under RWC regulations if a group game has to be cancelled it’s deemed a 0-0 draw. Spanner. Works.


NE I’m looking forward to seeing Fiji play in the warm conditions of Japan. They are a very dangerous team who could scare both Wales and Australia.

AB Japan, even though we’ve all been forewarned by that match against the Springboks four years ago. The big beasts in their group, Ireland and Scotland, both look a little vulnerable.

GM It would be a pleasant surprise if World Rugby shows transparency over controversial decisions and does so as a priority, with coaches also displaying restraint but that feels like wishful thinking.

PR Japan will dream and it could come down to their final group match against Scotland, and Fiji will be a handful for Australia and Wales having worked on their discipline.

CT France. Which is probably a surprise to read for a start but they’ve been in camp for months unlike during other tournaments, so they will be better than we think. I still think they may pip Argentina in their opening match.

I can’t wait for ...

RK The invitation from Eddie Jones to share a few relaxed beers and join his squad for a spot of karaoke. If the top teams spend the first Asian-hosted Rugby World Cup entirely cocooned in their hotel rooms the whole sport will have missed a massive trick.

BR Upsets. The game needs a bigger top table and maybe, just maybe, RWC 2019 is going to finally see that. We live in hope.

NE I’m not exactly waiting for it but I have a feeling with the tackle and ruck laws as they are, a red card could have a massive bearing in a big game for a big team. Keep everything crossed it isn’t your team.

AB Japan v Russia, the very first game. Despite everything you’ve just read I’ve absolutely no idea what’s going to unfold in the next seven weeks, no one does. Finding out is the fun part.

GM The knockout stages. If there is always a touch of inevitability about the pool stages – give or take the odd shock – this year there is likely to be a genuine case for all quarter-finalists going on and winning the final.

PR A referee to crack down on encroachment behind. It’s time to make defences sweat.

CT New Zealand v South Africa on the opening weekend; learning some of the tales less told from the smaller nations.



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Post by BigGee on Thu 19 Sep - 14:09

I am fine with that. Stay under the radar and keep the expectations low

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 14:12

Same!

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Post by Tramptastic on Thu 19 Sep - 15:03

The guardian always has sub-par coverage of the Scottish game so its no surprise there!

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Post by RDW on Thu 19 Sep - 15:04

Tramptastic wrote:The guardian always has sub-par coverage of the Scottish game so its no surprise there!

Fixed that for you!

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Post by Tramptastic on Thu 19 Sep - 15:11

Ha! Very good!

To be honest it's difficult to find a decent outside opinion on Scottish Rugby. Outside of watching the european games or watching Russell at Racing there's very few pundits at the BBC or the guardian who follow or give a to$$ about scottish rugby.

The rugby pod is quite balanced but the bbc rugby podcast tends to miss the mark most of the time

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Post by bsando on Thu 19 Sep - 15:27

I was going to post this as well! Glad they think Scotland are a write off.

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Post by bsando on Thu 19 Sep - 15:29

Glad Bill Mata got a mention though

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 19 Sep - 21:08

Hmmm...Scotland are at least.... wait for it, wait for it, dark horse candidates in the eyes of at least one of those 'experts'.  I don't think most of those Guardian guys, however, truly think Ireland are even in Japan.  Isn't it amazing what a year's go-slow will do to your reputation.

Like you Scots, I'm happy enough with Ireland being classed as a No Hoper side by the Guardian experts.  They're crying out for sweet'n'sexy frilly rugby.  We'll give them acres of drudging, inch-by-inch grinding boredom. And as Bogart once said as he slapped a bad guy, "You'll take it, and you'll like it". Cool

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 20 Sep - 8:57

Well the time has come fellas, flying out to Japan this morning! To say I’m excited would be an understatement! Scotland  WC Chat - Page 18 3933776953

Keep a look out on tv for a wide-eyed, overexcited skinny bloke in a kilt Yahoo

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Post by RDW on Fri 20 Sep - 8:59

Have a great time Llama!

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Fri 20 Sep - 9:02

Cheers Flounder! Hug

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 20 Sep - 9:31

Totally jealous Llama

I wanted to go over but my brother was too chicken and my mates are either non rugby followers or under the thumb.

So I'm forced to watch on the tele and I'm already pee'd off with the coverage on the Beeb

BBC breakfast had a Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland rep all gathered up to discuss the WC and this is how the discussion went

So Wales, how have you been building up to try and win the world cup?
So England, just how good a chance to England have of Winning the World Cup?
Ireland, as Number 1 team in the world, you must be expecting good things this WC?
Hi Scotland, are you excited to be here?

You can see why folk want independence sometimes!
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