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Scotland 6N summary and post-mortem

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IanBru
tigertattie
Imperialbigdave
Solid8
Tattie Scones RRN
DrTreasure
InjuredYetAgain
Janecory
RuggerRadge2611
123skelm
GLove39
EWT Spoons
Majestic83
funnyExiledScot
reallybored
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MacKnocked-on
Heuer27
bsando
kiakahaaotearoa
TJ1
RDW
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Post by RDW Sun 17 Mar 2013, 10:34 am

If someone had told me in January that we were gonna come 3rd and score 7 tries I wouldn't have believed them! However I can't help but think we have played worse than last year, and regressed in several aspects. However the question is does that matter? Is 2 wins and 3rd place the be all and end all? I'm not convinced.

England 38 - Scotland 18

Try: Hogg, Maitland
Conversion : Laidlaw
Penalty: Laidlaw (2)

Forgot the scoreboard was so high against us! This wasn't the best start to the championship and we were pretty much 2nd best in every aspect. We were well and truly dominated but scored a couple of cracking tries, announcing our back 3 as a lethal threat that we should look to use more of.

Scotland 34 - Italy 10

Try: Visser, Scott, Hogg, Lamont
Conversion: Laidlaw (4)
Penalty: Laidlaw (2)

Much, much better. Dominated Italy in the 1st half and amassed a large lead. Took the foot off the gas and let Italy dominate possession but we still ran out comfortable winners. Scored 4 - yes 4 - tries and showed some great attacking intent. Hogg's solo effort was one of the tries of the tournament but my personal favourite was Matt Scott's - it came from a first phase move, which we haven't seen for a long time!

All in all a very promising performance and augured well for the future.

However....

Scotland 12 - Ireland 8

Penalty: Laidlaw (4)

The freak game in the championship. Scotland again 2nd best, and had the lowest possession and territory stats in living memory, but still somehow win. Completely reliant on Ireland messing up their chances but we stuck in well and Laidlaw's boot won us the game in the end. Major concerns at the breakdown however.

Scotland 18 - Wales 28

Penalty: Laidlaw (6)

Our lowest point in the championship. Dominated in most aspects of play and destroyed in the scrum. Farcical refereeing and negative tactics from both teams made it a difficult watch, and Wales out-thought us to the win. Back to earth with a bump.

France 23 - Scotland 16

Try: Visser
Conversion: Jackson
Penalty: Laidlaw (3)

Never been a better time to beat France, but we didn't exactly show that we were wanting to! Good first half where Laidlaw dominated but the 2nd half was one of the poorest performances in the championship I think. Fantastic Visser try but why did we wait until the 76th minute to pass it to the backs??


So a real mixed bag of results. I think we had good performances in individual areas over all the 5 games, the problem obviously being that we didn't manage to put them all together at the same time!



Front row

Probably gain pass marks on the whole. Dominated by England and Wales in the scrum, upper hand against Ireland and Italy and just held in against France. Ford's throwing is still suspect, but hew wasn't helped by his jumpers.

2nd row

Again probably just pass marks. Hamilton had a stormer against Ireland but let himself down again Wales. Gray was looking good and very physical up until his injury - hope he gets back playing soon.

Back row

Kelly Eye-brows led from the front in every match and put a huge performance in, even though playing out of position. Harley started off well against Italy but was a lot quieter in the following games. Beattie showed early promise but again faded through the championship. Made a few mistakes and I'm still not convinced by his mentality at this level. Overall though the backrow must take a lot of responsibility for the farce that was our rucking and ball retention.

We desperately need to get Brown back at 6 and a genuine openside fit and in form.

Halfbacks

Laidlaw grew into the little general role as the tournament went on. Best kickier in the 6N and marshaled the pack well. I think he takes too much responsibility on to himself though and there are times when he was needing to just be a scrum half and give some rapid service to the backline.

Standoff was a real mixed bag, but other than the Italy game they were given hee-haw ball. I am a big fan of Weir though and think he is worth sticking with. Jackson showed his usual mix of good touches combined with glaring flaws in his basic skills - i.e. kicking.

Centers

These guys had a real lack of ball in most games, and were resigned to defencive duties in most. Matt Scott had fantastic game against Italy, and showed up well against France. Lamont tries hard but definitely isn't a 13 - time to blood the next generation I think.

Back 3

The stars of the show but criminally underused. If we can keep these 3 together over the coming years they can be real superstars. They have a real good balance - Visser the finisher, Maitland the alrounder and Hogg the spark in attack. Question marks on defence but that should get better.


Summary

All in all disappointing performances but 2 wins and 7 tries. Massive amount of work required on the breakdown and ball retention - how has it gone downhill so quickly?? - but hopefully we can get a good coach in that can fix it. We have a lethal back 3 that can win us games - we just need to give them some ball.


Last edited by RDW_Scotland on Sun 17 Mar 2013, 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by TJ1 Sun 17 Mar 2013, 10:38 am

Seems about right. Recovering from the wasted year of Robinson. SJ and Ryan did OK as a bodged together management team

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Post by kiakahaaotearoa Sun 17 Mar 2013, 10:51 am

I think the Ireland result proved to be a curse for Scotland. SJ was convinced the kicking game could work where it so obviously did not against Wales and France. You have to be more attack minded and utilise players like Visser and Maitland in an intelligent way. When there are numbers you have to spread the ball wide. It's not rocket science. No need to go wide all the time but the counter attack and using numbers is not risky rugby. It's intelligent rugby.

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Post by bsando Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:03 am

Good summary RDW! I agree with most of what you said.

Kia you make a good point there, and I think many other teams could do with doing some of the same, especially England!

It was a very interesting tournament, and from a Scottish perspective I think there are huge positives. But some of those positives are merely conformation of what we already knew but had yet to see. By this I mean, the ability of Visser, Maitland and Hogg playing together. We all suspected they would be s**t hot pre tournament and so they proved to be.

I think thats why it saddens me to see no real effort by the coaches to utilise them properly. Under a different coaching team, i think this Scottish side will be very competitive and will continue to win more games.

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Post by Heuer27 Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:07 am

Kia it's Southern Hemisphere rugby. Which us oop north struggle to comprehend never mind execute. It's was glaringly obvious where Scotland were strongest ,even from the first game when we got our pants pulled down.
Quick ball on the counter attack utilised properly, equalled results.
Don't understand why they ignored what was staring them in the face.

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Post by MacKnocked-on Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:11 am

One thing that frustrated me about yesterday's tactics was Scotland stopping competing on the French throw-in in the second half. We, especially through Hamilton, were making a real mess of their lineout in the first half and then we stop. Why?

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Post by TJ1 Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:12 am

I think we have the core / makings of a decent team. Getting the right management will help a lot.

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Post by VinceWLB Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:19 am

MacKnocked-on wrote:One thing that frustrated me about yesterday's tactics was Scotland stopping competing on the French throw-in in the second half. We, especially through Hamilton, were making a real mess of their lineout in the first half and then we stop. Why?

Yeah that was baffling and it coincided with Scotland losing all their lineouts from there.
Kellock definetely didn't have a great cameo.

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Post by reallybored Sun 17 Mar 2013, 11:29 am

Pretty bang on summary, I thinks Eye-brows captaincy was good as well.

Matt Scott showed glimpse of class but he doesn't get on the ball enough. I know our backs didn't have much to work with but even so the likes of Roberts, Nonu, Barritt gets their hands on the ball every few phases.

The summer is huge for us, we'll face both Samoa and South Africa at the RWC so to get one over them now would be a massive confidence boost.


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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 18 Mar 2013, 12:43 pm

It's fair to say it was a pretty mixed tournament, and ultimately frustrating. We saw glimpses of what we were capable of with ball in hand, but only glimpses. The forwards came of second best on most occasions, and as noted by most fans above, the tactics were too conservative at times.

The last Matt Scott try was a great example of what teams can do when prepared to take a risk. The problem is that we only take those risks once the game is lost, rather than taking those risks to win the game from the outset. If it's on teams should be prepared to attack from anywhere, and if you don't ask, you don't get. Sure, the French defender slipped in that last attack, but had we not chanced our arm it wouldn't have mattered. It was ultimately a well taken opportunity, and a really good exhibition as to why Matt Scott is worth sticking with at 12.

For the summer I'd like to see a few tweaks to the side:

1.Grant 2.MacArthur 3.Murray 4.Hamilton 5.Gray/Swinson 6.Brown(c) 7.Rennie 8.Beattie/Denton 9.Laidlaw/Pyrgos 10.Weir 11.Visser 12.Scott 13.Dunbar 14.Maitland/Seymour 15.Hogg/Tonks

16.Cross 17.Ford 18.Welsh 19.Gilchrist 20.Wilson 21.Cusiter 22.Jackson 23.S Lamont

Where a player has a chance to go with the Lions, I've nominated the alternative.

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Post by Majestic83 Mon 18 Mar 2013, 12:58 pm

I think overall the tournament has more positives than negatives for Scotland. Finished our highest position for years and the team is still young and over the next few years will get better and better.
There were a few areas mentioned already by others that i agree with, the ball retention was very poor at time and the breakdown/contact area was the poorest i have seen for a long time even though Kelly Brown did finish the championship with one of the highest figures for winning turnovers.
The lineout worked well especially on the opposition throw and despite Ford not having the best lineout throwing the stats seem to show a significant improvement and we seem to have had the best lineout in the championship.

As much i have been against Ruraidh Jackson in the past I think with him at 10 he looks as if he can get the backs moving better and score some tries. The games against England and Italy the backs looked very threatning and when he came on against Wales and France the backs seemed to look more free.
He still isn't the answer for being a controlling stand off but with a 9 like Greig Laidlaw who is more of the little general style 9 do we need him to be the controlling 10?

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Post by RDW Mon 18 Mar 2013, 1:50 pm

To be honest I think we've missed an in form Dave Denton big time. The Scotsman raised the point this morning that the pack was lacking ball carriers, especially with Gray injured. Beattie started well but faded through the tournament after the Italy game and the last couple of games made a couple of high profile mistakes.

Denton has his faults but there is one thing he will do - he will get you over the gainline, and take 2 or 3 players with him!

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Post by Majestic83 Mon 18 Mar 2013, 2:05 pm

I'd agree with that, there wasn't enough players offering themselves as ball carriers from the forwards or ones who were making effective yards. It seeemed to be Ryan Grant who carried the most.
I'd agree an inform David Denton would make the yards but also I think we were missing Ross Rennie who makes a lot of yards as well.
Strokosh and harley aren't big ball carriers, they are more for the tackling, rucking and contact work. They are effective at what they do but need to be brought into it more or a better rounded 6 needs to come in who can do those plus the ball carrying. Hopefully getting Denton back into form and playing at 6 could be a solution.

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Post by EWT Spoons Mon 18 Mar 2013, 2:46 pm

Personally when Rennie or Barclay are fit I would move Brown back to 6 rather than looking to bring Dents into that role.

Brown, Rennie/Barclay and Beattie/Dents is a decent back row.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 18 Mar 2013, 2:53 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:To be honest I think we've missed an in form Dave Denton big time. The Scotsman raised the point this morning that the pack was lacking ball carriers, especially with Gray injured. Beattie started well but faded through the tournament after the Italy game and the last couple of games made a couple of high profile mistakes.

Denton has his faults but there is one thing he will do - he will get you over the gainline, and take 2 or 3 players with him!

Precisely why I've suggested him ahead of Ryan Wilson in my suggested summer team above. Wilson would be the form pick, but against South Africa there's no question that Denton is the more suitable player. But, Denton is never a 6. He's a number 8 through and through. He needs that freedom from defensive duties to get into positions where he can make the most telling carries. Beattie at 8 and Denton at 6 is the wrong balance. Brown should move to 6, we should employ a proper openside and then pick between Beattie and Denton at 8. I think Beattie has a shot at the Lions, purely because Heaslip's form has been so poor. If that happens then I think Denton should be given the summer to redeem himself.

It starts at Edinburgh though, and Denton needs to finish the season strongly from the number 8 position.

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Post by RDW Mon 18 Mar 2013, 2:55 pm

Let’s just hope we don’t get back into the Denton at openside pre-6N debate… picard

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 18 Mar 2013, 3:02 pm

The Talei, Denton, McInally back row was certainly one of Bradley's more stupid inventions, and there is a long list to choose from in that regard.

For me, the back row options are as follows (in order of preference):

6. Basilia, McInally, (Grant)

7. Rennie, Grant, Watson

8. Denton, Talei, (McInally)

I've shown in brackets where I see potential versatility, but other than that I don't want to see any messing about. I certainly don't want to see Cox or McAlpine (or VDW) ever again play in the back row. No need, and completely hinders our game plan.

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Post by RDW Mon 18 Mar 2013, 3:04 pm

Did you mean to post that here FES or the Edinburgh thread??

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 18 Mar 2013, 3:08 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:Did you mean to post that here FES or the Edinburgh thread??

I meant to post that here. Edinburgh/Scotland, same difference.....

I brought it up in the context of the Denton discussion, and making the point that he needs to pick his back row position (in my view 8) and stick to it.

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Post by RDW Mon 18 Mar 2013, 3:10 pm

Fair enough, I'll let you off then!

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Post by GLove39 Mon 18 Mar 2013, 5:10 pm

Some interesting stats from the 6 Nations regarding Captain Kelly.
2nd top tackler with 69 (1 behind Wood) and 2nd top in the turnover chart with 7. Now just think when Rennie comes back, or Barclay or any other out and out 7 and Brown reverts back to his native 6 how potent our backrow will be. Almost like having 2 sevens on the pitch!

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Post by 123skelm Mon 18 Mar 2013, 7:56 pm

Felt sorry for backs and Weir who when he eventually got a pass from Laidlaw the french forwards were right on top of him, never had the fast ball to get thye backs moving.

Then in second halve when we had 3 against 2 Laidlaw again went for the kick, this change though when Pyrgos came on suddenly the ball moved a little to late though.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 18 Mar 2013, 7:59 pm

I'm going into self imposed exile in here for a week or so. Cannot be arsed with all the dooshbags on here at the moment.

catch you guys later! Hug
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Post by Janecory Mon 18 Mar 2013, 8:07 pm

123skelm wrote:Felt sorry for backs and Weir who when he eventually got a pass from Laidlaw the french forwards were right on top of him, never had the fast ball to get thye backs moving.

Then in second halve when we had 3 against 2 Laidlaw again went for the kick, this change though when Pyrgos came on suddenly the ball moved a little to late though.
Spot On !

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Post by InjuredYetAgain Mon 18 Mar 2013, 8:16 pm

A definite curate's egg of displays. We were bullied by what seemed to be a very good English team, played well against an Italian team who had a bad day at the office and were so-so against Ireland, Wales and France.
Overall, I didn't like our style of play and must confess was totally unabel to work out what our game plan was. At times, it was back to Capn Haddock days of get rid of the ball and let the opposition cough it up and we will get 3 points.
Plusses
The back 3 although Visser needs to work on his positioning and defence.
Matt Scott looked pretty good
Kelly Brown
One brainless moment apart against Wales, big Jim H played well
Negatives
Backrow balance was all to buggery
Johnnie Beattie dropping restarts twice after we score to allow the opposition good field position
Ross Ford can't throw (actually, he can throw. He just can't do it to our man)
Out-smarted by the Welsh front-row at scrum time
No big hairy-arsed ball carrier a la Heaslip, Morgan etc

The foundations are there - we just need to play a more expansive game

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Post by Janecory Mon 18 Mar 2013, 8:21 pm

InjuredYetAgain wrote:

The foundations are there - we just need to play a more expansive game
With Laidlaw at 9 thats never going to happen.

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Post by InjuredYetAgain Mon 18 Mar 2013, 8:25 pm

On the 6N experience, you are right sadly although some of the fault was probably caused by our "tactics" - whatever they hell they may have been. Pyrgos and Kennedy are the future as Cusiter is too injury prone and is ridiculously slow at clearing the ball from rucks

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Post by reallybored Mon 18 Mar 2013, 10:34 pm

Mmm, like the prospect of Rennie AND Eye-brows wreaking havoc at the breakdown, frees up Beattie to go wanderings. Plus Rennie is an intelligent ball carrier and link man, he'd speed our game up a bit.

What do people think of our Lions chances?

Obviously the squad will be dominated by Welsh but it's not like the English or Irish were overly impressive throughout. Genuinely believe we've got a reasonable chance of getting 7/8.

Grant, Murray, Gray, Brown, Beattie, Laidlaw, Visser, Maitland and Hogg all have a good chance considering the competition in the positions.

Ford, Hamilton, Scott could all possibly make the back-up list.

Be great if we got a good number on the plane to Australia, while they potentially become great players there's a chance for new guys to stake a claim in the Scotland team. Hopefully we'll see the likes of MacArthur, Welsh, Gilchrist, Harley, Fusaro, Wilson, Kennedy, Weir, Heathcote, Horne, Dunbar, Bennett, Fife, Murchie and Tonks getting a chance to show what they can do.

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Post by DrTreasure Mon 18 Mar 2013, 11:05 pm

I would love to see as many scottish lions as possible as it has been so frustrating with previous tours and having so few scots involved. I love the british lions but wouldnt watch the 2005 tour as was so dissapointed by the selection despite such a massive tour party.

I dont think we will have as many as 8 given the competition for places particularly in certain positions. I think Hogg will go because he is young, quick and showed more flair in attack than any other player in the tournament and I think he could thrive in the Lions environment.

Richie Gray if fit will go because of what he adds in the loose and lineout which will be an asset to the Lions.

I would like to see Grant go. He was 5th top tackler in the tournament, is a strong scrummager and I think deserves to go but I doubt Murray will make the tour as I dont feel he is the scrummaging power he used to be and has weak aspects to his game that were shown up in the 6 nations as well as better options being available.

I think Beattie could really benefit from being a lion as I think he can be a better player than he is currently showing and has the talent to do well but I worry he hasnt shown enough of that this six nations and the two drops were bad errors that exposed him. I think there is too much competition there but maybe he will get the chance with Montpelleir to further put his hand up in the HC, I hope so.

Kelly Brown thoroughly deserves to go for his effort, ability and workrate but its an area of real strength for the lions with a lot of competition. I think he has done enough and will travel.

Laidlaw I am unsure of, interesting reading the thread on him. He is a bit underratedthere but I dont think he did his Lions chances much good with his consistent kicking the ball away and not giving quick ball to the backs. I worry he will be 4th choice at the moment but he is good enough and would bring a lot to them.

Only one of Maitland and Visser in my opinion especially if Bowe recovers. Maitland for me. Better all round, Visser still exposed in defence and I think Maitland could thrive for the lions and play himself into a test spot on the tour.

Hamilton definitely not for me, Ford doesnt deserve it with current form and Scott hasnt been given enough chance to show his worth which is a shame as centre is a position of weakness for the lions and if he had more chance to show what he can do with the ball he may have gone.

So for me - Hogg, Brown, Grant, Maitland, Gray to tour - 5

PS random though but maybe its time for Sean Lamont to move into the backrow, he doesnt play like a back anymore and might be quite a useful option for Glasgow there!

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Post by GLove39 Tue 19 Mar 2013, 12:15 am

DrTreasure wrote:
PS random though but maybe its time for Sean Lamont to move into the backrow, he doesnt play like a back anymore and might be quite a useful option for Glasgow there!

Only if Vernon gets his centre spot!

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Post by RDW Tue 19 Mar 2013, 12:21 pm

I've been looking to discuss the Lions, but don't overly fancy venturing into any of the thousands of Lions threads that have been on here recently - the trolling and Wumming just does my nut in. Let's hope that as neutrals (Scotland are likely to be the least represented, hence we are the closest you can get to neutrals!) we can have a civilised discussion without descending into bickering! Famous last words...

For what it's worth here is what I think the squad of 35 will be (rightly or wrongly). I think there are a few definites and where I am not sure I have listed a couple of options

LH – Healy, Jenkins, James/Grant/Vainapolu (sp)
H – Hibbard, Best, Ford/Youngs
TH – Jones, Cole, Murray/Ross
SR – AWJ, Gray, Parling, Jones, Hamilton/Launchberry/Ryan
BR – SoB, Brown, Warbuton, Tupiric, Robshaw, Faletau/Beattie/Heaslip
SH – Phillips, Youngs, Care/Laidlaw/Murray
SO – Sexton, Farrel, Biggar/Flood/Parks (joke!)
C – JD2, Roberts, Tuilagi, BoD
W – North, Cuthbert, Brown/Visser/Maitland/Zebo
FB – 1/2P, Hogg

So I think that is 2 definite Scots, 8 potential. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say 4 Scots will travel.

My stab in the dark at a test team (again rightly or wrongly, and depending on who will tour):

1 Healy
2 Hibbard
3 Jones
4 Gray
5 AWJ
6 SoB
7 Warbuton
8 Faleau/Beattie/Heaslip
9 Phillips
10 Sexton
11 North
12 Roberts
13 BoD
14 Cuthbert/Visser/Maitland/Zebo
15 1/2P

Subs: Jenkins, Ford, Cole, Parling, Robshaw, Youngs, Farrel, Hogg

Right bring on the abuse….

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 1:43 pm

I don't think Brown will go, and I can't see Grant going either. Gray will only go if he can prove his form and fitness before the end of the season. Laidlaw won't go either.

In the forwards I think it comes down to whether Gatland takes a 3rd specialist tighthead, in which case I think Euan Murray will tour again, and whether Beattie gets the nod at 8 ahead of Heaslip.

In the backs I see Maitland and Hogg in contention, but think only one will go, most likely Hogg given Halfpenny's ability to play wing.

This would be MY touring party at the moment (38):

1. Healy, Jenkins, Vunipola
2. Best, Hibbard, Youngs
3. A Jones, Cole, Murray
4. Evans, Launchbury, Ryan
5. Wyn Jones, Lawes (Gray if fit)
6. Wood, Robshaw
7. Warburton, Tipuric, SOB
8. Faletau, Beattie
9. Youngs, Phillips, Care
10. Sexton, Farrell, Flood
11. North
12. Roberts, Barritt, Twelvetrees
13. Tuilagi, Davies
14. Cuthbert, Maitland
15. Halfpenny, Hogg, Kearney

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Post by RDW Tue 19 Mar 2013, 2:05 pm

Lawes?? Shocked

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 2:35 pm

Yep. An absolute brute of a player and a superb athlete. Played nicely since coming back from injury for the Saints as well.

I rate him very highly indeed. He's the sort of opposite of Al Kellock.

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Post by RDW Tue 19 Mar 2013, 2:37 pm

Don’t get me wrong I rate him as a player but he has not been involved much in the 6N, and hasn’t made much of an impact when he has – especially compared to other locks.

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN Tue 19 Mar 2013, 2:43 pm

Plus he's a dirty barsteward.

I'm with RDW....there are far better options out there than him. I also think Gray will tour regardless of his current injury.

My bolter though is Matt Scott for the midweek team.

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Post by DrTreasure Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:22 pm

I agree about some of the other lions threads and not wanting to get involved. Also inclined not to predict a test 15 as there is still plenty of time to go and there are usually casualties before and during the tour as well as those that play themselves into contention in the warm up games.

I was wondering if Hogg may get considered also as a 13 in the o'driscoll mould of the last Aussie tour especially give the lack of good centre options currently. I haven't seen him play outside centre apart from his hat trick against Munster. He has the talent to be a threat there and with halfpenny being so consistent in defence and safe under the high ball maybe hogg will have a better about away from full back. His attacking ability could be such a threat out there. Those that have seen him play 13, is he competent there, particularly in defence?

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:23 pm

Surely Gray only tours if fully fit? If you want crocks, then surely Lydiate and Ferris come back into the equation.

I think Matt Scott has an outside chance, but I don't think you can really justify picking him ahead of Roberts and Barritt, and there are other good young 12's out there as well (Billy Twelvetrees and Luke Marshall for example).

Scott does have a chance though, and finishing the tournament with a nice break and a composed pass to put away Visser is a nice memory to leave in Gatland's mind when he comes to pour over the tapes from the tournament. Pity Scott has to come back to Edinburgh - hardly the arena to showcase talent between now and decision day.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:25 pm

Hogg is a 15.

Yes, he's competent at 13 and can do a job, but he's a international class 15, whereas a club class 13.

There should be no reason to use Hogg at 13 for the Lions, not unless Andy Robinson is part of the coaching set-up and I haven't heard about it??

If so, John Barclay should stitch that number 8 jersey to his back, and Nathan Hines should prepare to face the Aussie back row.....

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Post by RDW Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:26 pm

I’d be really surprised if Scott goes – delighted but surprised. He has come on leaps and bounds though and he says himself he is an infinitely better player than a year ago, due to his test experience.
That’s why I think these calls to drop him are crazy. It takes a long time for these young guys to get up to speed at this level and there is no point in dropping someone who has finally found their groove – especially when they have being doing OK!
With regards to Gray, I hope he is fit as I think he will be a great asset to the Lions. Guaranteed he will be doing everything in his power to recover in time (oxygen chambers etc) so hopefully there is a good chance he will have a game or two under his belt before the end of the season. He then has 3 weeks to get himself as fit as possible before the Lions meet up.

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Post by DrTreasure Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:28 pm

This is a British lions that played Neil Jenkins at full back. My point being that often guys get used in different positions to play on their strengths.


Last edited by DrTreasure on Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:30 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by RDW Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:30 pm

DrTreasure wrote:This is a British lions that played Neil Jenkins at full back.


.....because he kicked goals and they had to put him somewhere.

Unless BoD, JD2 and Tuilagi get injured I don't think we need to start moving players from their best positions.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:31 pm

I think what probably helps Gray is that second row isn't a position with bucket loads of options.

Bradley Davies, POC and Luke Charteris are all still out (as far as I know), meaning that the only real certainties are Alan Wyn Jones and Ian Evans. That potentially leaves 2-3 places.

There are no Scottish alternatives in my view, Big Jim just isn't suited to the sort of game I think the Lions will be playing, and of the Irish (assuming POC is out), only Donnacha Ryan is really up to scratch. That leaves the England options, of which there are three, Launchbury, Parling and Lawes.

It certainly gives Gray an excellent incentive to recover quickly.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:36 pm

RDW_Scotland wrote:
DrTreasure wrote:This is a British lions that played Neil Jenkins at full back.


.....because he kicked goals and they had to put him somewhere.

Unless BoD, JD2 and Tuilagi get injured I don't think we need to start moving players from their best positions.

Agreed - you have to put that decision in context. McGeechan knew that Jenkins had to play, he was the best goal kicker in that 1997 squad by some distance, and yet McGeechan wanted Townsend's playmaking abilities to work Gibbs and Guscott into some space.

There's no such necessity this time round, as Sexton will play 10 and Halfpenny likely play 15, so plenty goal kicking options. Farrell still looks odds on to play dirt track 10, so again, kicking taken care of, and Laidlaw may possibly go as a kicking 9.

Perhaps a better analogy than Jenkins at 15 was Sir Clive Woodward's "winning" suggestion to play both Jones and Wilkinson at 10 and 12 against New Zealand, still one of the worst selection decisions of all time, both pre-match and with the benefit of hindsight.

Use players in the correct position, unless you absolutely have to do otherwise.

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Post by Solid8 Tue 19 Mar 2013, 3:48 pm

I have to admit that I would not be too upset if Scotland were under-represented in the Lions tour.

Don't get me wrong I love the Lions and think that there could well be a good few of our boys who are in with a shout but there are options that could well go before them in almost every position. In the meantime if we are allowed to retain our core team it gives us the opportunity to tour under the radar and away from the attentions of the notoriously fickle British rugby media. This would provide an opportunity to play in what looks set to be a very interesting tour/tournament against varied opposition and allow time for the team to build a style of rugby that suits our strengths and can go some way to making up for the weaknesses that a nation with our limited player pool will always have. If we find ourselves with a new coaching team in the coming months it also gives them the opportunity to work with the squad and build a good relationship with the players.

Of course if we are under-represented in 'Stralia there will be disappointment amongst some of the guys but I hope that their professionalism will shine through and they will see the opportunity that lies before them. While I cannot realistically say that Scotland has turned a corner and left the dark days behind we certainly have the opportunity to build on our achievements from the 6N and Lions snubs for some of the boys will in my opinion help to accelerate this process.

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN Tue 19 Mar 2013, 4:43 pm

Sorry fES I did mean if he recovers fully of course.

Does anyone else, even though he's currently our most potent weapon, think that Gatland will overlook Hogg? I just have a funny feeling that he'll look at 1/2p, Foden and Kearney first.

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Post by DrTreasure Tue 19 Mar 2013, 5:03 pm

I think hogg probably looked a little vulnerable under the high ball and with his tackling but his ability to counter attack is unrivalled currently. He is perfect for the lions because he is young, confident, fast and elusive as well as being entertaining. He offers something few else do and that will appeal to the lions selectors. He will have to up his game out there to contend for a test place but will be a better player for the experience. That's why I think he may get a bit of game time at 13 in the warm up games. The bonus of the tours is the ability to play with options and combinations. If earls can tour last time then hogg definitely should this time. I know the context of Jenkins and watched in the second test as South Africa fully exploited it but thankfully couldn't convert their tries which is why they lost.

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Post by InjuredYetAgain Tue 19 Mar 2013, 5:09 pm

What may count against Hogg a bit is the missed tackle on Fofana - it was one of the last pieces of action in the 6N and, rightly or wrongly (well, wrongly) it may stay fresh in Gatland's mind. On balance, though, he has the potential to be an Andy Irvine - prone to mistakes but can produce a real bit of class two minutes later.
Thinking about my earlier post, one downside to the campaign was that pat McArthur was an unused sub and then replaced by Dougie Hall on the bench when Ford came back. We need to blood guys like him sooner than later

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 19 Mar 2013, 5:19 pm

I think what counts against Hogg is his tackling and more particular his ability to field the high ball. He isn't a weak tackler at all, but that was a really bad miss against Fofana. Halfpenny and Kearney are both more solid in the tackle and under the high ball.

What counts very much in Hogg's favour are his attacking abilities. He is the best attacking option at 15, even better than Foden in my opinion.

I'd love him to go - I think he'd become an even better player as a result, and his high energy personality will be an asset to the tour.

Scotland can make do with either moving Maitland to fullback (assuming he also isn't called-up) and either Seymour or Sean Lamont onto the wing, or using Greg Tonks at 15 (the option I'd go for).

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Post by Imperialbigdave Tue 19 Mar 2013, 5:23 pm

I see were debating Hogg at 13.

Is it that time of the week again?
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