Scottish Rugby 2019 - A year to forget, but a developing side

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Post by bsando on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 8:56 am

Yesterday's match completed a disappointing and rather mixed year for Scottish Rugby. As the players fly home and rejoin their clubs, there is a lot to digest before the start of the 6N next year. From the 13 test matches played in 2019 Scotland won 6, lost 6 and drew 1. From those 6 wins Scotland only took two wins from Tier 1 opposition (Italy and then France at home during the RWC warm ups). Of all of these results, the comeback draw at Twickenham was perhaps the best due to scoring 6 unanswered tries in one of the most remarkable comebacks in rugby union history.

Scotlands 2019
Sco 33 - 20 Ita W
Sco 13 - 22 Ire L
Fra 27 - 10 Sco L
Sco 11 - 18 Wal L
Eng 38 - 38 Sco D
Fra 32 - 3 Sco L
Sco 17 - 14 Fra W
Geo 10 - 44 Sco W
Sco 36 - 9 Geo W
Ire 27 - 3 Sco L
Sco 34 - 0 Sam W
Sco 61 - 0 Rus W
Jap 28 - 21 Sco L

In comparison, 2018 resulted in 3 wins in the 6N, a win over Fiji and Argentina and a hard fought loss to SA. 5 Losses 7 Wins. In 2017 we also had 7 wins and only 4 losses. There is no doubt in the minds of Scotland fans that we have stuttered. However, it is just a stutter, not a fall. This side still has a good balance to it.

The team that took on Ireland at home in 2017 and won with some style was a Scotland squad at their peak. Many of them had battled to a close QF loss at the RWC 2015 and they were well coached by Vern Cotter and his team. Hogg was at his best with multiple 6N player of the tournament awards, several players were being touted for the Lions (although injuries reduced selection) and Scotland inflicted away and home defeats to Australia.

The group of players that have just been well beaten by Japan are a side in development and in 2019 there has been an obvious changing of the guard taking place. Kinghorm, Graham, Bradbury, Ritchie, G Horne, Johnson, Hastings. These players are all young and beginning their careers in a Scotland Jersey. Their big moment was not now, but most likely in France 2023.

For Laidlaw, Seymour, Hogg, Maitland, Russell, Horne, Wilson, Barlcay, Nel, Brown, Reid. This may have been their last world cup playing for Scotland.

For all the flack Townsend will receive, he should be judged on the 2020 6N rather than this Rugby World Cup. This year has revealed a lot in terms of the gameplan and its flaws and the players abilities to execute under pressure. Townsend will need to make bold decisions to move Scotland forwards and save his job. That starts with admitting some of the players he selected in that World Cup squad didn't merit their inclusion. He needs to be brave and wield the axe! Then he needs to re-evaluate his strategy and devise a game plan that will see Scotland take their first win in Ireland since 2010.

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Post by R!skysports on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:16 am

Sorry, but I can not agree with this

We have now been a 'developing side' for 20 years and I am so bored with our inability to learn from our mistakes

We finally has a decent coach who was making real progress and threw him out for a one hit wonder who was not even a very good Glasgow coach. ( he was found out after the league win and has not been able to make any changes since)

We have gone RAPIDLY backwards since he came on and have an embarrassing away record.
A good half here and there papers over cracks of a man and a SRU completely at seas with the modern game

"Then he needs to re-evaluate his strategy and devise a game plan that will see Scotland take their first win in Ireland since 2010."

As he can not as he is a bad coach (and not shown any indication he wants to) I hold no expectations

The only good thing to come out of this is I was coaching my Kids for their Rugby during most of the matches at the weekend so did not need to suffer - and the sad thing is,

this is the first time I have missed the Scottish matches in a world cup and have had no desire to watch the recordings and don't give a fudge about it.

I am not a lost fan and unless something changes, don't know if I can be bothered to what this mess of Scottish nepotism ruining any potential in our game

PS #Townsend out

PS Yes I am angry :0)

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Post by bsando on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:24 am

R!skysports wrote:Sorry, but I can not agree with this

We have now been a 'developing side' for 20 years and I am so bored with our inability to learn from our mistakes

We finally has a decent coach who was making real progress and threw him out for a one hit wonder who was not even a very good Glasgow coach. ( he was found out after the league win and has not been able to make any changes since)

We have gone RAPIDLY backwards since he came on and have an embarrassing away record.
A good half here and there papers over cracks of a man and a SRU completely at seas with the modern game

"Then he needs to re-evaluate his strategy and devise a game plan that will see Scotland take their first win in Ireland since 2010."

As he can not as he is a bad coach (and not shown any indication he wants to) I hold no expectations

The only good thing to come out of this is I was coaching my Kids for their Rugby during most of the matches at the weekend so did not need to suffer  - and the sad thing is,

this is the first time I have missed the Scottish matches in a world cup and have had no desire to watch the recordings and don't give a fudge about it.

I am not a lost fan and unless something changes, don't know if I can be bothered to what this mess of Scottish nepotism ruining any potential in our game

PS #Townsend out

PS Yes I am angry :0)

I would argue that Townsend had a very well thought out way of how he wanted to develop the national side. Since getting the job he has touted "The fastest brand of Rugby in the world" line many times. Two years on, a whole bunch of players capped and Scotland are not winning as many games as they should be and more concerningly, losing some in a very weak fashion. The game plan is flawed, no question about it. Does that warrant his sacking? No. Does he need to change the game plan? Yes, absolutely. His team need to use the next 4 months wisely and figure out a new way forward that suits his crop of players because the current plan is unquestionably flawed or difficult for the players to implement correctly.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:36 am

My post somehow disappeared, I will try again.

Would Scottish rugby not benefit from two extra professional teams?

Having only two limits the amount of talent you can develop.

I don’t know much about European players, therefor I have to ask.

If you took the best players in the Scottish team, how many would make the starting line up for Wales, Ireland and England?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:39 am

Hogg for england. Albeit in better form than he showed this wc. Like the look of Bradbury.

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:41 am

Sorry bsando but it's not just the game plan he needs to change (when I say 'he', I mean his successor).

Most of us knew at the time of squad announcement, that a good number of those players shouldn't have been there. They haven't delivered or performed in the past, and they sure as hell weren't going to this World Cup. So straight off, we haven't honestly got the best squad available to us.

Add to that the combinations, tactics, 'reactive' coaching etc. etc. etc.

It hasn't been working for a while, and it won't work next year. We are in danger of wasting the best crop of talent we've had in 20 years and at the current failure rate, the team will go nowhere which will impact the interest in the national team, the interest in playing rugby and so forth. Just look at the football team. Do we really want to go there?

Nah, it's time for a fresh coaching team, not just Toonie. I mean WTF has Danny Wilson been doing the last few months?

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Post by gowershowerpower on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:44 am

Everyone is improving, Scotland aren't. They have been developing for ever, being how underdeveloped they are. They simply haven't got the resources, population, interest etc etc etc. So no, the couldn't have 2 more pro teams. Regards who would make the other nations teams, just look at how many got to the Lions. It's just the way it is, they're not very good.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 9:57 am

Old Man wrote:My post somehow disappeared, I will try again.

Would Scottish rugby not benefit from two extra professional teams?

Having only two limits the amount of talent you can develop.

I don’t know much about European players, therefor I have to ask.

If you took the best players in the Scottish team, how many would make the starting line up for Wales, Ireland and England?

Can't afford more than two sides. Sorting out Edinburgh stadium (that should drive some revenue and growth) and a semi-pro tier at the moment with Glasgow's stadium next on the agenda. A surplus of £1 - 1.5 million does not support a third side. In >8 years time, we may have the finances to take a shot on one if Edinburgh can get attendances up to where Glasgow is now and Glasgow can get to 10 - 12k mark.

The best players in Scotland could get into the other sides. As a Lions member not sure. Take for example Wales who have one very good lock who may not be there after the RWC (AWJ) and three okay locks next to him (Hill, Beard, Ball) compared to Scotland who have three good locks (Skinner, Grays). Nel would be a starter or a very good sub for England and Wales, but maybe not Ireland who have Porter and Furlong. Dell would be competing for a jersey in Wales but not in Ireland and England.

We could go through the squad but our players are good enough to put in performances and would not look out of places in the other home nation sides. It is the mentality, tactics and player selection to implement a plan A AND B that is costing us.


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Post by BigGee on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 10:22 am

As a few of us feared, selection was an issue for this WC.

You can see why Toonie went for the experienced players, the 'you don't win anything with kids' mantra is still pretty prevalent in professional sport despite it being proved wrong on many occasions.

The fact that most of our best players in the tournament came into the inexperienced category: Horne G, Bradbury, Cummings, Harris, Ritchie and it was the old stagers like Barclay, Laidlaw and Wilson as well as Taylor, who in truth never looked match fit, that did not perform.

How things might have worked out had he chosen Jones, Hutchinson and Matt Fagerson and had Skinner and Price available for the whole tournament, we will never know but it did mark Toonie down as quite a conservative selector, something we not have been saying in his Glasgow days and I think a lot of that came from having had a poor 6N and the confidences issues around that.

If he does stay on and I think that is likely until at least after the next 6N, he is gong to have to seriously rebuild the team but I think he probably does have the players to do this.

Despite what other posters say, plenty of other sides in the 6N would love to have a George Horne available to them, or a Darcy Graham, a Kinghorn or Jones (if he ever re finds his form) or Hutchinson. The Fagerson brothers both have the skills and attributes to be decent international players as well and Bradbury, Ritchie and Cummings all showed up well.

All these players are young and have another one or two WC cycles in them. The talent is definitely there, it just needs to be harnessed and directed properly.

Are Toonie and his team the ones to do this?

He certainly needs to give us some indications about that and soon!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 10:34 am

I just can't bear the thought of another terrible 6Ns. For what? To show Toonie isn't the man for the job? The last time I saw a Scotland team looking so dejected before the games even started was under Andy Robinson. Toonie could do irreparable damage to the national side through his stubbornness. It took 3-5 years to fix it the last time around, and now we're staring down the barrel of a gun and saying "just pull the trigger once more, there's only one bullet".
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Post by bsando on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 11:59 am

Agree with you Big G, well said! 

And as for having a poor 6N, believe you me, I don’t want another one either. I love the 6N and have desperately wanted Scotland to win it, above all other competitions.

Tattie and Risky, I understand where you’re coming from, I was a big supporter of AR continuing on and believed he could turn things around in 2012. However, it turned out not to be so. I personally think Townsend is not the same scenario. Even if we do have an awful 6N and wooden spoon it, I think the SRU will find a really good replacement and avoid the interim coach scenario we had before Cotter arrived. 

Tom English has written today that the 6N will be huge for Toonies future and unfortunately for him it’s come down that. I hope he does well personally because to have a successful Scottish coach would be a big boost for Scottish rugby moving forwards.

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Post by TJ on Mon 14 Oct 2019, 8:19 pm

certainly going backwards not developing and the blame must be laid at Towsends feet.

If he stays we will be rubbish in the 6N again and he will have wasted the best talent we have seen in a scotland jersey for many a year

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