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Scotland Team for Italy

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21st Century Schizoid Man
Notch
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George Carlin
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Post by Boston Exile Sat 06 Aug 2011, 8:03 pm

So who would you pick for Italy? Indeed who do you think AR will pick?

If it were my team I'd select:
Grant, Thomson, Murray, Hines, Kellock, Harley, Brown, Barclay, Cusiter, Laidlaw, Evans, De Luca, Cairns, Danielli, R.Lamont Subs: Ford, Low, Gray, Vernon, Blair, Parks, S.Lamont

Essentially I still see this as being a trial, if some of the players had put in compelling performances today then that would alter my thinking but few did.

The team I suspect AR will select is:
Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, Hines, Gray, Brown, Barclay, Beattie, Cusiter, Parks, S Lamont Morrison, De Luca, Danielli, R.Lamont Subs: Hall, Low, Kellock, Vernon Blair, Parks, Cuthbert

The style of the game will be rather different, Italy will be happy to keep things closer to the scrum than Ireland were and the onus will be on us to spread the ball more. Hence I'd take the plunge and let Laidlaw start. I'd also want to inject a bit of pace into the 3/4 line. If we are going to move the ball we need to select players who will look to move it.

I'm verging upon forgetting about Beattie, he still has not recaptured his form. Rennie and to a lesser extent Strokosch have made strong cases for b-r inclusion. Denton didn't really take his chance. Think all 4 second rows will travel as will today's front row. In the backs Lawson Jackson, S.Lamont, Ansbro and CP are sure to be picked, possibly Morrison too, but the rest of the positions I think are open.

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Post by Manky-Flanker Sat 06 Aug 2011, 8:18 pm

I agree on starting Laidlaw, Lawson's delivery today was on the slow side - he needs to stop pausing at the base of the ruck, looking around and issuing orders.

I'd give Beattie and Denton another run out against Italy as I think one of them needs to take the 8 jersey. The logic being that Kelly Brown's best position is 6 and thats where he should remain.

Denton needs more than 25 mins to show what he can do.


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Post by Boston Exile Sat 06 Aug 2011, 8:30 pm

I'd really hoped that both Beattie and Denton would put their hands up today, but Beattie still looked way off his best and Denton I barely noticed. But I'll accept this would mean putting our best 6 as a makeshift 8 or playing Vernon who is still a little on the light side (but is very quick in the Murray Mexted mould).

You couldn't even say they were let down by anyone, the flankers played well and the front 5 were steady, indeed won a heap of possession, there is no reason why they shouldn't have done better.

If either is given another chance then Vernon or Harley won't have any chance to stake a claim - be a shame for both.

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Post by Redrage Sat 06 Aug 2011, 8:36 pm

I felt we did a lot of good things today, especially in the first half. The same handling woes and decision making errors in the opposition 22 were still present but nothing they can't build on if they keep this sort of rugby up.

We moved the ball about as well as we have in recent memory, even with Morrison at 12.

Cross looks to have put his name forward for the tighthead spot.

Hamilton looked good at 2nd row (and I don't rare him usually) - plenty of competition there now.

Rennie had a good game at 7, should keep Barclay on his toes. Beattie was lively, if a bit rusty. I think he should play against Italy too, the sooner he is up to match sharpness the better.

Sean Lamont continues his promising form from the 6N, needs to learn to pass a little more often.

Cuthbert didn't look out of his depth, but never really took the opportunity to show what he has to offer either.


Team for Italy...

Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, Hines, Kellock (c), Brown, Barclay, Beattie, Cusiter, Laidlaw, C. Paterson, De Luca, Evans, R. Lamont. (Paterson in to take goal kicking pressure of Laidlaw while he gets a 60 minute run out at 10, Cuthbert can get another 20 mins for Paterson).

Subs: Hall, Low, Hamilton, Vernon, Blair, Parks, Cuthbert

This pretty much gives everyone a run out before the RWC.

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Post by Manky-Flanker Sat 06 Aug 2011, 8:42 pm

I've enjoyed watching Harley develop at Glasgow, but right now he has to be behind both Brown and Strockosh for the 6 jersey - so I don't see him getting on the plane next month.

As for Vernon, he has played both 7 and 8 at club level. At 7 Rennie and Barclay are ahead of him. At 8 I think Denton and Beattie are more physically imposing than Vernon. Furthermore, at Glasgow this year Wilson arguably outshone Vernon at 8.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Sat 06 Aug 2011, 10:33 pm

BE - I'm afraid I disagree with your approach. This isn't a trial, it's our final warm-up game. The players to travel to the WC who didn't play today MUST feature against Italy. Selecting players like Thomson (who is injured and out of the squad anyway) and Grant is pointless. They clearly aren't going to be on the plane. Strokosch was excellent today, and Brown is a certainty. Harley won't travel, so would be a wasted spot. Similarly Cairns. Ansbro and De Luca are ahead of him, and Evans and Lamont cover 13. It's too late to incorporate him, despite his talents.

My team against Italy:

1.Dickinson
2.S Lawson
3.Murray
4.Hines
5.Kellock (c)
6.Brown
7.Barclay
8.Beattie
9.Cusiter
10.Jackson
11.Danielli
12.Morrison
13.De Luca
14.Evans
15.R Lamont

16.Low 17.Ford 18.Hamilton 19.Denton 20.Blair 21.Parks 22.Walker (if fit, if not I'd put S Lamont on the bench).

I want to see Jackson and Morrison play together again, and I want to see Jackson take on the kicking duties, to see how he gets on. Jackson also needs time with Cusiter at 9.

I thought Cuthbert was poor today, and he clearly can't kick a rugby ball. Rory Lamont needs 80 minutes at 15, and I don't think we need to see CP again.

Otherwise pretty self-explanatory. Those 1st and 2nd choice players used today get rested, with the 1st and 2nd choice players not used getting starts.

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Post by Boston Exile Sun 07 Aug 2011, 1:30 am

FES - quite happy to accept disagreement, I wanted to explain my thinking and why this side. As it was we still agreed on 10 of the 15 and the basic premise that those who missed out today would play against Italy.

Why I still see this as a trial is more down to the feeling that a number of established players are not playing that well, whilst some fringe players have finished good seasons. In effect what I'm hoping is AR picks to form over experience, otherwise it is going to be a short-lived venture. You may well be right though as AR has suggested he knows 25 (and hence a reasonable assumption is the starting 22) players and was looking for 5 to fill the quota.

I still remain unconvinced by Dickinson, Lawson probably gets 2nd hooker despite his misdemeanours, Beattie worries me as he just doesn't look the same player, Blair has been off for a while, Parks has had a mare at Cardiff, Morrison just back from injury. In short I'd hope there is still room for manouvre and it's not a done deal. I'm not a gambler but often have to take calculated risks. I would risk Laidlaw (I know you are not so keen and understand why but for me its a risk worth taking), I want RL in the team, only 1 big winger who can run but can't/won't pass, and desperately want to see speed in the backline.

I named the players I'd choose but do understand AR will do it differently and the team in italics is the one I think he'll actually go with (no Grant,Harley or Cairns).

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Post by donkeyprop Sun 07 Aug 2011, 1:16 pm

FES - Overall I think that is a reasonable side, although Beattie, Brown & Barclay should only play together if Robinson has already seen enough of his other back row options to decide who will travel. Otherwise Rennie, Denton, or Harley if he is in the mix, should get a run out.
Not sure why Jackson needs time with Cusiter & Morrison; he plays & trains with these guys at Glasgow and while 2 of them have been out injured for a while, they should still be familiar enough with each others game & Robinson should have a fair idea of how they play together. I'd rather see Laidlaw & Cusiter given a half each so they both get some game time (unless of course scrum half is a position where Robinson already knows who will travel).

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Post by funnyExiledScot Sun 07 Aug 2011, 4:13 pm

If Robinson doesn't know his 30 yet, we're in trouble.

Harley didn't finish the season playing particularly well and has never played for Scotland. It's too late, he isn't going to force his way into the side from here on the back of one game.

This is a warm-up, NOT a trial. The squad gets named only days after this game. It was between Harley and Strokosch, and Strokosch quite rightly (based on his performance yesterday) should get the nod.

AR has stated Brown and Barclay will play against Italy. We need our first choice back row warmed-up.

Rennie has already had a game and will surely be going already. The question is really the back-up player. Wasn't hugely convinced by Denton, but I'd have him on the bench for another cameo.

Beattie needs game time, that is clear.

Jackson needs time with Cusiter and Morrison because they have NEVER played international rugby together. Personally I think that's quite a big deal. I don't want AR to be "trying things out" in this final game, at least not as far as selections are concerned. Jackson has barely played with them both at Glasgow as it happens, due to injuries and the games played by Weir at the start of the season.

I'd also like to see Laidlaw have a half, but I assume that both Blair and Cusiter will be given a chance. Personally I'd just go with Laidlaw as the 3rd choice scrum half (possibly 2nd choice after yesterday), but I suspect Blair will be given an opportunity.

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Post by George Carlin Sun 07 Aug 2011, 4:35 pm

Some good posts here but let's not forget that the most worrying thing about the Ireland match was not our inability to score tries (that generally always improves with match time, tournament intensity and a dollop of luck), but that Ireland's spoiling at the breakdown was allowed by the eejit that is Wayne Barnes and we did nothing to deal with the situation.

The breakdown should have been meat and drink for us against their Irish counterparts (Rennie was actually very good indeed) and the source of endless quick ball but instead it was slower than an ice age.

This means two things:

1. Our first choice loosies have to start and play a full 80. No p!ssing around - this is the only chance before the tournaments starts where we can see how the combination works in light of everyone's current form and take a view on whether it is tournament quality.

As has been pointed out, the three Bs should be on the pitch for the entire match. Beattie was horrible at the weekend but the simple fact is that he has the potential to be so influential and we need at least some feel for how many of his issues can be cured by game time.

2. Cusiter has to start if fit and if anyone else gets on the paddock for any length of time whatsoever, it has to be Laidlaw, possessor of probably the quickest pass of anyone in the team. Anything else is a ridiculous waste of time. There's a reason that Blair shouldn't be anywhere near the jersey - he hasn't been up to par for about a year now.

I don't care about winning or scoring tries against the Azzuri.

The breakdown is what we simply have to fix. At the risk of pre-teen oversimplification, matches will be won or lost at the RWC based on how this is refereed and we have to be twenty times smarter than we were.

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Post by donkeyprop Sun 07 Aug 2011, 5:36 pm

FES - I hadn't seen Robinson's comments about Barclay & Brown starting. Still not sure about Beattie; you're right that he needs game time, but what if he has another poor game? It will be hard to judge whether Denton is up to starting if he only has had two 20 minute spells off the bench to see how he copes in an international. I'd still like to see him start & Beattie come on during the second half. Hopefully Beattie can find form against Romania & Georgia. If not the at least AR will have an idea whether Denton is up to starting in his place.
I still disagree over the need to see Cusiter, Jackson & Morrison together, given that they have played together a fair bit for Glasgow over the last 2 seasons. With the competition at scrum half, I still think Cusiter and Laidlaw (or Blair if he is no 3 as GC suggests) need a half each.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Sun 07 Aug 2011, 5:54 pm

If Beattie has another poor game, I'd take a look at Denton again, as per my selection. If he fails to convince, I'd play Brown at 8 against Romania, and Strokosch at 6.

Actually I didn't think Beattie was that bad. Nothing like as good as we know he can be, but he made some decent carries (and some poor ones as well), and got pretty well involved. He just needs game time, he looked fit enough.

Cusiter hasn't played an international match for a while, and it may well be that AR wants him to have 80 minutes. I'd have no issue with Laidlaw getting 40 though. He made a postive impact yesterday. The real question is whether AR wants Parks to have game time. He probably needs 20 minutes or so I suppose. I don't really want to see it, but he is (rightly) the second choice 10, and will possibly need to play one of the first two WC matches, unless AR thinks Jackson can play every game. Still, it's a risk going into a WC without your 2nd choice 10 getting some game time. Morrison needs another game, perhaps give Lamont 15 minutes at 12 towards the end, but I think Morrison (along with Beattie and Cusiter) is in that camp of player that really needs to play.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Sun 07 Aug 2011, 5:55 pm

Oh, and GC, I certainly care about both winning and scoring tries against Italy. Confidence is an important factor, and we really need some of our backs to find the habit of crossing the try line.

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Post by Manky-Flanker Sun 07 Aug 2011, 6:13 pm

I wonder if Richie Vernon will feature against Italy. Denton and Beattie have both had a chance, it would be unfair not to give Vernon a similiar opportunity to show what he can do.

If he does get named for the Italy match, either Denton or Beattie (or both)will have no further chance to stake a claim for the WC. Can't see the team against Italy having three number 8's in the 22.

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Post by Boston Exile Sun 07 Aug 2011, 6:38 pm

M-F, exactly my earlier point, why bother having Vernon and Harley in the squad if they don't even get 20 minutes (although that's obviously short). If the team were done and dusted, the 22 playing to form etc., the 2 games work well in tandem with the first 2 RWC games. Why things are creaking is due to the form of some key players. If unestablished squad players can see certain other players are struggling, yet still don't get a chance, then that is not a good message. We should have had a 3rd game...., but no use crying over spilt milk, we need to make the best of. AR has done this before to good effect so I'll remain concerned but will trust him as he knows better then me.

Right now Barclay, Rennie and Brown are the only b-r definites. Beattie or Denton must go, Vernon's best chance is as cover for the entire b-r, notwithstanding AR seeing Hines as his backup 6 (let's face it he started that way several times this last season) and Hamilton's additional effort may have set him thinking. Will he start Hines at 6 again against Italy - I really hope not...

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Post by Imperialbigdave Sun 07 Aug 2011, 6:39 pm

Firstly, Donkeyprop. Cusiter, Jackson and Morisson have hardly played together even for glasgow. Jackson was injured for the first half of the 09-10 season, then cusiter was international duties, then he crocked himself up until recently, and Morisson also crocked himself up until recently. Theyve probably played together less than 5 times in 2 years.

BUT, I still dont like having Morisson in the team. I said on the other thread that he was alright, but after watching it again, I think i was more just surprised that he distributed the ball a bit. Its no coincidence that we only seem to score tries when he isnt involved in the phase. In fact, the last try Morisson actually handled the ball in for scotland was against ireland a year and a half ago. since then, any tries weve scored with him on the pitch have been because weve used the miss pass.

Sean Lamont or, and I hate to say it De luca, bring far more danger into the midfield. Both players can break the defensive line and get into open space, which we need to see happening closer in the field as our breaks are all coming right at the edges, so we have less support players, and the opposition can use the touchline as an extra defender. Putting either of them in the centre should alow them to make these breaks with more players around them to continue the attack once they get caught. The downside is, Lamonts problem is that he doesnt know what to do once hes in this space, De lucas is that he doesnt know what not to do.(no look reverse pass into touch that wouldve sent mike blair over against the argies)
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Post by Notch Sun 07 Aug 2011, 8:02 pm

Mad you guys are talking about your final warm-up game when we have four matches ahead of us before we reach the World Cup.

I'm really glad we have that schedule. I mean, Magners League teams generally have three pre-season friendlies to shake the rust off and get the patterns established and the World Cup is far more important.

I really hope your two warm-up games works out. You do have a kind draw to be fair.
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Post by 21st Century Schizoid Man Sun 07 Aug 2011, 9:08 pm

fES,

not Dickinson. He has had plenty of chances and blown them all - including his less than startling cameo on Saturday ! Cool
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Post by George Carlin Mon 08 Aug 2011, 7:56 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:Oh, and GC, I certainly care about both winning and scoring tries against Italy. Confidence is an important factor, and we really need some of our backs to find the habit of crossing the try line.

As I suspect you know (fun though e-pedantry undoubtedly can be), what I meant was that I care about them too.

Just not as much as getting what is supposed to be a key battleground and an area of substantive strength of ours working properly!
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Post by George Carlin Mon 08 Aug 2011, 8:13 am

Notch wrote:Mad you guys are talking about your final warm-up game when we have four matches ahead of us before we reach the World Cup.

I'm really glad we have that schedule. I mean, Magners League teams generally have three pre-season friendlies to shake the rust off and get the patterns established and the World Cup is far more important.

I really hope your two warm-up games works out. You do have a kind draw to be fair.

Notch - agreed - the contrast is stark and this is the kernel of things for us now and will be the basis on which we decide whether AR has prepared the team properly. There has to be a balance between establishing combinations and making better decisions in game time and not risking player injuries where there is little benefit to doing so (the unfortunate Morgan Stoddart being a good example).

Kidney didn't appear to get it right last time round but then again as you say Ireland had a much tougher itinerary in the pool than Scotland have. The only possible explanation is that Robinson is regarding the first two matches as part of the learning process, which is dangerous but understandable.
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 08 Aug 2011, 9:48 am

Dreams lost in time like tears in Scottish Rain

I was going to post a seperate article but I'll just post my reflection on Saturdays game.

It was difficult to gauge Scotland in comparrison to Ireland in a rather dreech afternoon at EH12. Before the game I did say however I would be disapointed with less than a 14 point win against this side. Well we got a lot less. After the match whilst disecting the game in pubs along Rose Street I found it very hard to see the positives.

Our forwards had a good game, carried well, bossed the breakdown although perhaps needed to be a bit more abrasive and combative. Beattie whilst not back to his best is certainly on an upward trajectory and Richie Gray played well, Kellock too was excellent when he came on. Stroks too did exactly what was needed of him. Rennie was great at the breakdown. Geoff Cross I'll single out for "special treatment". He was fantastic all game long, did exactly what is expected of a tighthead and unless Murry or Low does something fantastic against Italy I would say he is the man in possesion.

I said before if we did not go out there and really put that Ireland side to the sword our RWC could be a tough one. We had a lot of arguably 1st team starters and it took us 78 minutes to reach the try line. I'm sorry but that is unacceptable.

Ireland were dogged in defence ok, I get that. At every breakdown we were the better team, however Ireland got away with absolute murder at the breakdown making our ball slow and hurting our offensive efforts by giving the defence time to reset. These are all moot points however because now I am fed up with the fact our backs just can't unlock defences. For nearly 60 minutes we were inside the Irish 22 and I'm certain had it been a competative game we would have kept the score line ticking over but I'm sorry for me it's just not good enough.

Who would have thought that NDL would provide the spark that ignited our backline. NDL has taken some stick from a lot of posters here and on the old 606, however he saved our blushes on Saturday. Lamont again for the most part looked like the only back who cared, he looked busy and hungry.

Some posters here have said Morrison looked sharp, I agree he did. However sharp he looked he was still Graeme Morrison. Crashing the ball up the middle all game does not constitute a good shift. How long do we have to wait before Robinson does something differant in the middle to get some flair and movement in the backline. Yet again Murrayfield was a torture chamber for the 29000 fans who turned out to support them. Knock ons, spilled balls and no cutting edge, it was like the 6N all over again.

Perhaps it is time to just face facts, it is going to be years before we can seriously threaten opponent's try lines. After all the pressure, territory and possesion we got one try.

SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

However it is hard to pick a team for Italy mine would look something like this :

1. Dickinson
2. Lawson
3. Murray
4. Kellock
5. Hines
6. Brown
7. Barclay
8. Beattie

9. Cusiter/Laidlaw
10. Jackson
11. S. Lamont
12. NDL
13. Ansbro
14. Evans
15. R. Lamont

Bench to be composed of anyone else AR feels worthy.

I want a backline who can get quick ball from the breakdown, get running better lines and start cutting defences up. Too long now have I been subjected to a lack of tries for the hundreds of pounds I have spent at Murrayfield.

I am now starting to lose faith in Scotland as a rugby team.






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Post by nickj Mon 08 Aug 2011, 12:43 pm

Radge - you've got to keep the faith mate! You'll have a rubbish September if you dont.

I have to agree with your team for the Italian game though.

However I'd pick:

1. Dickinson
2. Lawson
3. Murray
4. Kellock
5. Hines
6. Brown
7. Barclay
8. Beattie
9. Cusiter
10. Jackson
11. Danielli
12. Morrison
13. NDL
14. Evans
15. R. Lamont

I think he will have the following on the bench:

Ford
Low
Harley
Vernon
Laidlaw
Parks (although I'd go for Cairns, we know what Parks can and can't do)
Cuthbert

I think the following guys have booked their places on the plane after Saturday's game, and despite me wishing they would get some more game time, I don't think they will.

Hall (by default)
Jacobsen
Cross
Hamilton
R Gray
Stroks
Rennie
Lawson
Ansbro
Sean Lamont
Paterson

Guys like Fordy are nailed on but even Robbo thinks they need game time.


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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 08 Aug 2011, 2:11 pm

Hall will travel by default sadly.. His accuracy in the line out is nothing short of woeful.

If his accuracy and aiming is that bad in the line out I would hate to see what his toilet at home looks like.
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Post by red_stag Mon 08 Aug 2011, 2:33 pm

With only 80 minutes of rugby standing between Scotland and the RWC, do Scottish fans know their best team?
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 08 Aug 2011, 2:39 pm

I know what our best pack would be. Further than that probably not no. I have heard murmerings of a game vs Glasgow and Edinburgh behind closed doors if AR does not have all the answers he needed. I reckon this will probably happen at some point.
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Post by Notch Mon 08 Aug 2011, 2:40 pm

George Carlin wrote:
Notch wrote:Mad you guys are talking about your final warm-up game when we have four matches ahead of us before we reach the World Cup.

I'm really glad we have that schedule. I mean, Magners League teams generally have three pre-season friendlies to shake the rust off and get the patterns established and the World Cup is far more important.

I really hope your two warm-up games works out. You do have a kind draw to be fair.

Notch - agreed - the contrast is stark and this is the kernel of things for us now and will be the basis on which we decide whether AR has prepared the team properly. There has to be a balance between establishing combinations and making better decisions in game time and not risking player injuries where there is little benefit to doing so (the unfortunate Morgan Stoddart being a good example).

Kidney didn't appear to get it right last time round but then again as you say Ireland had a much tougher itinerary in the pool than Scotland have. The only possible explanation is that Robinson is regarding the first two matches as part of the learning process, which is dangerous but understandable.

It's a risk, I think. If the performances are poor in the first two pool games there may be a bit of panic. I'm probably speaking with my ireland hat on- we did exactly the same thing in 2007 of course and nearly lost to a fired-up Georgia side. We took our lack of confidence and momentum into the last two group games and lost both.

I hope Scotland dodge a similar fate. Bonus points are going to be important in your pool and you need to run in a good few tries in those first two games. I'm concerned about your attacking game.
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Post by Notch Mon 08 Aug 2011, 2:41 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I know what our best pack would be. Further than that probably not no. I have heard murmerings of a game vs Glasgow and Edinburgh behind closed doors if AR does not have all the answers he needed. I reckon this will probably happen at some point.

Good idea.
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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 4:30 pm

21st Century Schizoid Man wrote:fES,

not Dickinson. He has had plenty of chances and blown them all - including his less than startling cameo on Saturday ! Cool


He's still our second best loosehead though, and Chunk won't be able to play every minute of every game. Accordingly we need Dickinson warmed-up and fit.

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Post by nickj Tue 09 Aug 2011, 4:34 pm

Can Cross play both sides of the scrum or am I imagining it?

Agreed, Dickinson has to make the plane and needs game time following his injury.



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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 4:36 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:I know what our best pack would be. Further than that probably not no. I have heard murmerings of a game vs Glasgow and Edinburgh behind closed doors if AR does not have all the answers he needed. I reckon this will probably happen at some point.


Agreed, I had that thought as well. I'm sure there'll be some sort of closed-doors probables/possibles run-out this week, to test the likes of Denton further.

I think most of us know what the pack should look like, with a few disagreements at lock (but that's a good head-ache rather than a bad one) and perhaps number 8 and 6 (although I think most would go for the three Bs if fit).

I also think most of us would agree on the half backs - Cusiter (if fit) and Jackson would seem to be in the box seat. After that it's quite tricky really. If fit, Max Evans would probably be on the wing for most people, and I think Ansbro has made a decent fist of 13. CP is the obviously choice at 15 as well. I suspect where we'll have disagreement is at 12 and wing, with two from S Lamont, Morrison, R Lamont, Danielli, Walker and NDL in some form of contention. A bad head-ache really, with no perfect solution.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 4:38 pm

nickj wrote:Can Cross play both sides of the scrum or am I imagining it?

Agreed, Dickinson has to make the plane and needs game time following his injury.




I don't think so, I've only ever seen him at tighthead. I'm actually not such a detractor from Dickinson. Provided he stays at loosehead and NEVER at tighthead, I don't mind him. I've seen him hold his own in the GP against some pretty decent props, and in the loose he's very good indeed.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 4:43 pm

Manky-Flanker wrote:I wonder if Richie Vernon will feature against Italy. Denton and Beattie have both had a chance, it would be unfair not to give Vernon a similiar opportunity to show what he can do.

If he does get named for the Italy match, either Denton or Beattie (or both)will have no further chance to stake a claim for the WC. Can't see the team against Italy having three number 8's in the 22.


I think there's a pretty decent case for Vernon actually. Beattie still didn't look back to his best (although was better than some are suggesting), and Denton looked like a young player who has been promoted slightly too soon.

According to my selection I've gone for Beattie starting again with Denton on the bench, but I could certainly be pursuaded to have Vernon on standbye instead. Now that Strokosch looks back to his best and carried well, and Rennie looks as comfortable in international rugby as we all knew he would, perhaps Vernon's maverick style could be the missing piece to our second string back row. The forwards offloaded pretty well generally against Ireland and at times created some good momentum. That sort of game plan would suit Vernon perfectly.

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Post by Boston Exile Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:03 pm

Nickj - I am pretty sure Low played some games at LH, and did surprisingly well. Doubt he's done it enough though to be considered as a LH, but I too am unimpressed by Dickinson at international level, we will be in trouble if Jacobsen is injured. I'd hoped either Welsh, Traynor or Grant could have advanced a bit more by now but...

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Post by nickj Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:10 pm

Reckon Robbo has settled on Dickinson as Chunk's back up.

Do you guys think Low will make the plane?

I think he has to, especially if we're going to cover Euan's leave on a Sunday.



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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:10 pm

Boston Exile wrote:Nickj - I am pretty sure Low played some games at LH, and did surprisingly well. Doubt he's done it enough though to be considered as a LH, but I too am unimpressed by Dickinson at international level, we will be in trouble if Jacobsen is injured. I'd hoped either Welsh, Traynor or Grant could have advanced a bit more by now but...


Yes, Welsh in particular stalled this season. Real shame that, because the previous season he looked the business. Hopefully one of them will step up next season, and obviously Traynor (who has played both sides before) should get a decent run at loosehead for Edinburgh during the WC.

Not AR or Dickinson's fault though, and although Grant had the Glasgow jersey towards the end of the season, I really don't think he's done enough to oust Dickinson.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:12 pm

nickj wrote:Reckon Robbo has settled on Dickinson as Chunk's back up.

Do you guys think Low will make the plane?

I think he has to, especially if we're going to cover Euan's leave on a Sunday.



Apparently Euan is also currently carrying an injury. If he can't start against Italy, we should play Low and not take Murray. Murray is only worth his place if he can start against Italy and win his battle with the Italian front row. Any of the nonsense we saw in the 6 Nations and I rather we took an extra back row player.

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Post by Boston Exile Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:15 pm

FES - I've always liked Vernon, he is very quick for a big guy, although he does tend to make some errors (thinking of SA game) but that's experience. How many B-R do we take though, I've seen 5 suggested as the normin which case - Brown, Barclay and Rennie have clinched spots for me. I feel beaten into taking Beattie (despite him only being at 70%) as Denton not quite ready. That leaves maybe one spot which is between Strokosch, Vernon and Denton. Unless Denton plays against Italy or any other in-house game, and has a blinder, then I think it is 2015 for him. Vernon give you speed and lineout height. Strokosch is hard as nails and tackles all day long, he's also in good form.

The deciding factor could be AR's view of Hines and of Barclay's ability to spend the last 20 on the blind side. My gut reaction after Saturday was to pencil Strokosch in, but an indication is if he uses Vernon against Italy. If Vernon performs and the above 2 factors are favourable in AR's view then Vernon could snatch the last position.

But then again he may go with 3 2nd rows and 6 b-r, stranger things have happened.

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Post by nickj Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:17 pm

FES. That's my view on Murray and his fitness too, but I think Robbo will take him.

Unfortunately everyone seems to see the Euge of 3 years ago, when he was fit, interested and open to playing on a Sunday.



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Post by nickj Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:23 pm

Boston Exile wrote:FES - I've always liked Vernon, he is very quick for a big guy, although he does tend to make some errors (thinking of SA game) but that's experience. How many B-R do we take though, I've seen 5 suggested as the normin which case - Brown, Barclay and Rennie have clinched spots for me. I feel beaten into taking Beattie (despite him only being at 70%) as Denton not quite ready. That leaves maybe one spot which is between Strokosch, Vernon and Denton. Unless Denton plays against Italy or any other in-house game, and has a blinder, then I think it is 2015 for him. Vernon give you speed and lineout height. Strokosch is hard as nails and tackles all day long, he's also in good form.

The deciding factor could be AR's view of Hines and of Barclay's ability to spend the last 20 on the blind side. My gut reaction after Saturday was to pencil Strokosch in, but an indication is if he uses Vernon against Italy. If Vernon performs and the above 2 factors are favourable in AR's view then Vernon could snatch the last position.

But then again he may go with 3 2nd rows and 6 b-r, stranger things have happened.

I'm with you too Boston. It seems to be Beattie's position to lose and he hasn't delivered twice now. With only having two games Robbo has a massive decision to make: give Beattie another chance, give Denton a proper chance or play Vernon and really muddy the water.

My call is 2 guys for each position, Brown's flexibility allows us that luxury:

Barclay / Rennie
Brown / Stroks
Beattie / Brown

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Post by Boston Exile Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:25 pm

Well if Murray not going to be at 100%, in tandem with the Sunday games, it is a waste of time taking him (shame at one point he could have built a name like Carmichael or Milne but just not going to happen - another might have been).

If it is Cross, Jacobsen, Low and Dickinson then gives either 6 b-r or we take an extra back - think I'd favour that 2nd option .

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:28 pm

Boston Exile wrote:FES - I've always liked Vernon, he is very quick for a big guy, although he does tend to make some errors (thinking of SA game) but that's experience. How many B-R do we take though, I've seen 5 suggested as the normin which case - Brown, Barclay and Rennie have clinched spots for me. I feel beaten into taking Beattie (despite him only being at 70%) as Denton not quite ready. That leaves maybe one spot which is between Strokosch, Vernon and Denton. Unless Denton plays against Italy or any other in-house game, and has a blinder, then I think it is 2015 for him. Vernon give you speed and lineout height. Strokosch is hard as nails and tackles all day long, he's also in good form.

The deciding factor could be AR's view of Hines and of Barclay's ability to spend the last 20 on the blind side. My gut reaction after Saturday was to pencil Strokosch in, but an indication is if he uses Vernon against Italy. If Vernon performs and the above 2 factors are favourable in AR's view then Vernon could snatch the last position.

But then again he may go with 3 2nd rows and 6 b-r, stranger things have happened.


Personally I'll think we'll see a 17/13 split regardless of whether Murray makes it or not, because of the versatility we have in the backs. I think it then all comes down to whether Euan Murray is fit and can show some form, or not. If not, then we should take 4 props, 3 hookers, 4 second row and 6 back row players.

For me the back row certainties are Brown, Barclay, Beattie and Rennie. I know Beattie isn't at 100%, but he was good enough, he'll get more time against Italy, and frankly even at 70% he's probably our best bet.

My view is that we should take Strokosch as well. He's experienced, finished the season strongly and played well against Ireland. Most importantly he carried the ball well, and better than Denton. I think he gives us the option of putting Brown to 8, and having Strokosch and Barclay on the flanks.

Then it's down to Vernon or Denton for 6th choice. I'm willing to give Denton another chance to make a case, but equally wouldn't mind seeing Vernon. In short, don't have a strong view on who should be 6th choice between those two. If Murray is fit and firing against Italy, it's all academic.

I'd be extremely surprised if Hamilton, Hines, Gray and Kellock don't all go. Just hope AR doesn't think Hines at 6 is still a good idea. Hopefully now that Strokosch is fit, there's no need for that.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:31 pm

Regarding whether or not to take an extra back, I'd go with the extra back row player.

When you look at our back options, you can pick 13 players without really leaving anyone decent out:

Lawson, Cusiter and Laidlaw
Jackson and Parks
Morrison and S Lamont
Ansbro and NDL
Danielli and Evans
CP and R Lamont

That's your 13, and other than perhaps Nikki Walker (who played a decent 20 minutes but is now carrying an injury), it's hard to make a strong case for anyone else.

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Post by Boston Exile Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:43 pm

FES - don't disagree with your 13, think most of us would have picked the same. So in effect that gives us 7 on the field, 3 on the bench and 3 to cover injuries. If we have the 6th b-r it gives and option to rest the first choice against say Romania, and also a change of tactic (tight game/loose game).

For clarity, although no-one has suggested it, I do not advocate Hines as a 6, merely that AR will use him there. I think we have at least 3 maybe 4 better 6s. Indeed I think the Lions moving him there on the last tour destroyed his chance of a test spot (conspiracy theories racing) when he was showing as the best 2nd row in the 1st half of the tour. For me Hines and Gray are our best 2nd row, though the other 2 are formidable and won't let us down.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 5:47 pm

AR has only used Hines at 6 when Beattie was injured (and therefore he used Brown at 8) and Strokosch was unavailable to cover Brown. I would make no sense to use him there now that both Strokosch and Brown are fit.

Agreed on Hines and Gray, they are the best two players of the four. I'd use Hamilton and Kellock against Romania or Georgia (whichever game is chosen to rest 1st XV players).

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Post by Boston Exile Tue 09 Aug 2011, 7:52 pm

Yep, it was when Beattie was injured, but there were at least 2 other possibilities at 8. AR viewed Hines and Brown (in his 2nd position) as preferable to Brown and Vernon or Brown and Hogg (who had started to show well at Newcastle but I'm sure is now permanently out of the frame. That gives an insight into AR's view of pecking orders.

I was pleasantly surprised at De Luca and hope he is given a starting role against Italy to see if he can replicate this form. With Evans, De Luca R.Lamont and Ansbro in the backs we'd look quite a bit quicker and slicker. If this is meant to be a honing of the best backline then forget my original team lets try Cusiter, Jackson, Evans, S.Lamont, De Luca, Ansbro and R.Lamont with Laidlaw, Danielli and CP on the bench.


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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 09 Aug 2011, 8:51 pm

It is true that AR preferred Hines at 6 than trusting Vernon or Hogg at 8. Wouldn't have been my decision.

Whether anyone likes it or not, I'm almost certain Parks will either start or be on the bench to play a role in the next game. We can't afford him coming on for the first time in a big game without any warm-up. Similarly Danielli needs a start as well. I'd certainly use R Lamont at 15 though, and obviously the sooner Max Evans returns the better.

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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Wed 10 Aug 2011, 8:19 am

Just back from a long (and very enjoyable) weekend in France with no chance to watch the game as yet. However, from what I've read in the papers and the comments on here, it appears that in the two areas where we were looking for clarity or answers (backrow ball carrying and penetrative backs), we didn't really learn a great deal.

Backrow: sounds like Rennie did his case a good turn, and joins Barclay with a plane ticket, likewise Stroks prob did enough that if 6 back-rowers go (with two blindsides), then he would get the nod alongside Brown. I read that neither Beattie or Denton really advanced their case, and who know whether Vernon will be given his shot, or even whether Robbo will revert to playing Brown at 8, with Hines at 6, if he decides that we don't have an 8 in good enough form. Does sound like Harley will likely miss out tho, but there are still places up for grabs. It will be interesting to see whether Beattie and or Denton are given more gametime against Italy - that may be some indication of their relative performances in training.

Backline: from what I've read, it sounds like M Evans, Danielli and R Lamont all need a run out, and after that it's all about finding the best combinations. Seems like Cairns will miss out and the 13 named above (Lawson, Cusiter and Laidlaw; Jackson and Parks; Morrison and S Lamont; Ansbro and NDL; Danielli and Evans; Mossy and R Lamont), but I would expect M Blair to be given a chance against Italy before he is discarded. Sounds like Cuthbert didn't quite do enough to earn his plane ticket either.

All-in-all, it strikes me that we'll need the extra match to which Radge alludes against a Glasgow/Embra-pro-district comb team

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Post by George Carlin Wed 10 Aug 2011, 8:26 am

Boston Exile wrote:Yep, it was when Beattie was injured, but there were at least 2 other possibilities at 8. AR viewed Hines and Brown (in his 2nd position) as preferable to Brown and Vernon or Brown and Hogg (who had started to show well at Newcastle but I'm sure is now permanently out of the frame. That gives an insight into AR's view of pecking orders.

I was pleasantly surprised at De Luca and hope he is given a starting role against Italy to see if he can replicate this form. With Evans, De Luca R.Lamont and Ansbro in the backs we'd look quite a bit quicker and slicker. If this is meant to be a honing of the best backline then forget my original team lets try Cusiter, Jackson, Evans, S.Lamont, De Luca, Ansbro and R.Lamont with Laidlaw, Danielli and CP on the bench.


Boston - yes, Cusiter, Jackson, Evans, S.Lamont, De Luca, Ansbro and R.Lamont would seem to be the backline that looks most likely to perform that most highly unorthadox and uncharacteristic of manouvres, Scoring A Try. Even accidentally.

Which leaves a couple of questions:

1. What about Dan 'Revolving Door' Parks? How can you add him to the mix when it is clear that an offloading game is what Robinson wishes to play and which we appear fit enough, if not currently skillful enough, to carry out?

2. With that backline, will Jackson's kicking for goal lose games for us? And we're back to the age old problem of whether Lord Mossy is worth retaining with the devil of keeping out a strike runner like R. Lamont who is more likely to actually make line breaks.

3. Why, oh why, do people continue to rate Danielli? I have watched Ulster all season and can only conclude that he has something of a consistent brainfart on international duty. I simply cannot countenance another home national persisting with a winger who never scores. How can it possibly be good enough? Let's stop aiming for mediocrity, shall we?

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Post by George Carlin Wed 10 Aug 2011, 8:28 am

AsLongAsBut100ofUs wrote:Just back from a long (and very enjoyable) weekend in France with no chance to watch the game as yet. However, from what I've read in the papers and the comments on here, it appears that in the two areas where we were looking for clarity or answers (backrow ball carrying and penetrative backs), we didn't really learn a great deal.

Backrow: sounds like Rennie did his case a good turn, and joins Barclay with a plane ticket, likewise Stroks prob did enough that if 6 back-rowers go (with two blindsides), then he would get the nod alongside Brown. I read that neither Beattie or Denton really advanced their case, and who know whether Vernon will be given his shot, or even whether Robbo will revert to playing Brown at 8, with Hines at 6, if he decides that we don't have an 8 in good enough form. Does sound like Harley will likely miss out tho, but there are still places up for grabs. It will be interesting to see whether Beattie and or Denton are given more gametime against Italy - that may be some indication of their relative performances in training.

Backline: from what I've read, it sounds like M Evans, Danielli and R Lamont all need a run out, and after that it's all about finding the best combinations. Seems like Cairns will miss out and the 13 named above (Lawson, Cusiter and Laidlaw; Jackson and Parks; Morrison and S Lamont; Ansbro and NDL; Danielli and Evans; Mossy and R Lamont), but I would expect M Blair to be given a chance against Italy before he is discarded. Sounds like Cuthbert didn't quite do enough to earn his plane ticket either.

All-in-all, it strikes me that we'll need the extra match to which Radge alludes against a Glasgow/Embra-pro-district comb team

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Wonder how many tries Visser will score against 'us' in that one.
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Post by AsLongAsBut100ofUs Wed 10 Aug 2011, 8:59 am

George Carlin wrote:Wonder how many tries Visser will score against 'us' in that one.
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Just the one, or both brothers together?!?! Wink

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