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Scotland Autumn series post mortem and 6N look ahead

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Scotland Autumn series post mortem and 6N look ahead Empty Scotland Autumn series post mortem and 6N look ahead

Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:19 am

Results


Scotland 22 Australia 23 Sad

Scotland 19 Argentina 16 Yahoo

Scotland 43 Georgia 16 Very Happy

I think the Scotsman summed up our Autumn Series pretty well:

Scotsman wrote:Two wins, one desperately narrow loss that could have ended differently, ten tries, two ranking places gained and all of the above completed with the absence of a host of players who have proved crucial for Scotland in the past, including the two best props in the country. All in, there was much to admire about Scotland’s autumn series

6N fixtures

Scotland V Ireland
France V Scotland

Scotland V Wales

England V Scotand
Scotland V Italy

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:22 am

For further reading, BBC's Tom English again writes a very good article

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/38123003

BBC Sport wrote:For Scotland, the autumn Tests nearly always end in optimism for the season ahead.

Like fortune tellers reading the tea leaves, we analyse what's gone on and conclude that next year could be the one when it all happens: the breakthrough that everybody is so desperate to see.

This time around is little different. There were encouraging signs in a painful defeat against Australia, a clinical edge - eventually - in a tight endgame against Argentina and a six-try victory over Georgia, a side that many of us expected would scrummage and scrap their way to a much closer scoreline than 43-16.

Scotland's attacking game is improving, no question. Their ability to make things happen out of nothing is on the rise and the arrival of Huw Jones has been a boost.

That Scottish midfield is showing serious depth now - Jones, Alex Dunbar, Duncan Taylor, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne, Matt Scott. That's as good as it has been, possibly forever.

The Australia game showed that Scotland have the artillery to find space and the wit to score against the elite. It was the one that got away after the one that got away in the World Cup last year, but if they can learn the lessons then, come the Six Nations, it will have been worth the angst.

Against Argentina, in a brutal and second-rate game, Scotland dug it out, which says something about their mental strength. On Saturday against the Georgians, they put the game to bed in little over 30 minutes after a terrible beginning.

It is easy to see Scotland's upside, but just as easy to see their weaknesses. Their front-liners are strong and many of them have their best years ahead of them, but this is a paper-thin squad in terms of true Six Nations class.

There has been added depth this autumn in the front row. Alasdair Dickinson and WP Nel remain the first-choice props but Allan Dell and Zander Fagerson have done themselves a power of good.

Loose-head prop Allan Dell started all three of Scotland's autumn fixtures - his first three Test caps
Hamish Watson has been terrific and even if John Hardie was fit and well, Watson would surely be deemed the starting open-side flanker now. Magnus Bradbury was given a deserved crack against Argentina and did well in parts.

Coach Vern Cotter spoke about the work the young Edinburgh back-row needs to do in his intensity at the breakdown. He needs to have far more impact at ruck-time - the same can be said of Scotland as a whole - but he will come again.

Beyond Dell, Fagerson, Jones and, perhaps, Rory Hughes on the wing, Scotland haven't really deepened the player pool a whole lot.

Every international coach likes to have three options per position but Scotland are struggling even for two in some areas. There is no replacement for Stuart Hogg - you could move Sean Maitland there but you would still be weaker at 15 and also now weaker on the wing.

Jump media playerMedia player helpOut of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.
Autumn internationals: Stuart Hogg scores individual 'X factor' try for Scotland
There's no serious understudy to Finn Russell either. Ruaridh Jackson, Duncan Weir and Greig Tonks have all been given a shot at 10 over the last year-and-a-bit but none have made a big claim.

If anything happens to Greig Laidlaw, Scotland are in trouble at nine also. Henry Pyrgos is a fine player on his day, but he did not get it done when given the chance in Japan.

Ali Price is now on the scene but the Georgia game showed how reluctant Cotter is to live without his captain. He kept Price on the bench for the full 80 minutes against Australia and Argentina, which was understandable.

He also kept him there long after the Georgians were beaten on Saturday. Price did superbly for Scotland's final try but the fact that he only appeared for his debut with six minutes left to play told you much about how Cotter feels about his options at scrum-half.

Scotland begin the Six Nations against Ireland at Murrayfield. Ireland have beaten New Zealand, Australia and South Africa this year. They beat the Wallabies on Saturday despite significant injury setbacks during the game. It was their squad depth that got them through.

Joe Schmidt, Ireland's coach, has given debuts to 18 players this year and a good portion of those are really banging on the door for the matchday 23.

Schmidt is very close to that magic number of three players per position in all but a few areas. After an indifferent 2016 Six Nations, Ireland are ready to launch a major bid for the title again next year.

It is not the ideal opening match for Scotland. If the Six Nations is all about momentum, then you do not want to play one of the big guns first-up.

Scotland are away to France after that. They have never won a Six Nations game in Paris, but you cannot look at what France have been doing over the last year and think that Scotland do not have a chance.

If everybody stays fit and in form, Cotter's team must have a big chance. They beat France comfortably last season in Edinburgh. The French played 10 Tests in 2016 and lost six of them. Sure, one of the losses was with a second-string team against Argentina, but Scotland's best would be good enough to go very close.

It is critical that Scotland enter the championship with a clean bill of health. You cannot keep players wrapped in cotton wool these days, so a few prayers will have to suffice not just for Hogg, Russell, Laidlaw, Dickinson and Nel, but for the Gray brothers, Richie and Jonny, and John Barclay too.

Jonny Gray made 43 tackles, and missed none, in Scotland's three autumn internationals
The Grays have been immense in this autumn series. Their work-rate is outstanding and the impact of their effort is huge.

Warren Gatland has an array of second-row forwards at his disposal for next summer's British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, and it is hard to know where the Grays fit into the picture. These are the games that will decide it, though.

The next one is against Wales at Murrayfield. That's a must-win if Scotland are to better last season's total of two victories. It's also a must-win in Lions selection terms.

Cotter's team can expect no more than two or three Lions places if they do not turn over at least one of the big shots. The more damage they do, the more they get on the plane to New Zealand.

Scotland have lost their last nine matches against the Welsh - and 13 of the last 14. It's a jaw-dropping record of failure, but it can stop next year. Wales are without Gatland, they are away from home and are showing increasing signs of vulnerability.

Scotland begin their 2017 Six Nations Championship against Ireland at Murrayfield
True, they are at their best in tournament play, and they have just beaten South Africa - who Scotland would have beaten too. However, it is a big chance for Cotter's players to finally put the Welsh monkey back in its cage. They are good enough if they believe they are good enough.

What can Scotland expect at Twickenham? More of the same, alas. They finish with Italy - another must-win and a will-win.

The target for Cotter, in his farewell season, has to be three wins. There are reasons to believe that it is possible, but only if everybody gets through the next two months unscathed. In an increasingly punishing sport, that is more of a hope than an expectation.

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Post by uncle_nigel Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:28 am

You left out the bit where Scotsman claimed Scotland were better than Wales; the 10 year mission accomplished!

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:32 am

Well that is the gist of Tom English's article I suppose. We have been here many times with Scotland - a positive AI series that isn't then backed up in the 6N.

Lots of pressure on the 6N this year but with Ireland, Wales and Italy at home we stand a chance of picking up 2 or 3 wins (France could be vulnerable too, not that we have ever won there!). Similarly though there is a high chance we'll go into the final game in a scrap to avoid the wooden spoon. The joys of following Scotland!

It is a shame we have Ireland first up - I don't see any team beating them other than the probable championship deciding game with England.

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Post by R!skysports Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:37 am

"Jonny Gray made 43 tackles, and missed none, in Scotland's three autumn internationals"

Crazy

How many has he actually missed in his professional career?

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:42 am

Riskysports wrote:"Jonny Gray made 43 tackles, and missed none, in Scotland's three autumn internationals"

Crazy

How many has he actually missed in his professional career?

Apparently he has gone 750 minutes without missing a tackle for Scotland - that's 9 and a bit games!

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:44 am

I'm really pleased with this AI series. Some new players stood up well, the team seems to know what it's about and, most crucially, we beat Argentina. That was always going to be the real test for us in this AI series and I think our workmanlike performance on the day reflected the tension felt by the players in knowing that. We did it, we beat them, and so many times in the past it's been a case of playing well and losing. Putting teams away, ranked above us, is the next step in the progression of this side. Our best performance of the series was in the game we lost. I take far more satisfaction beating Argentina and playing relatively poorly. Against Georgia we had to win well and we did win well. Again, not something we've managed in the past.

One question that is gnawing away at me. Have the SRU done the right thing in letting go of Cotter? I watched Glasgow on Friday night, shorn of their front line players (and most of their first choice replacements), and it was a shambles. You may well point to the fact that Glasgow have been victims of their own success, having so many players involved in internationals, but the replacements signed by Toonie and the structure of the squad is far cry from the depth Glasgow had a few years ago. In contrast I think Scotland are going from strength to strength. If Cotter beats Wales, France and Italy in the 6 Nations, and Glasgow only scrape into the playoffs, there will be case to answer at SRU HQ as to why they effectively sacked our most successful coach in 20 or so years, having forced us to endure Scott Johnson whilst they recruited him.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:47 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:
Riskysports wrote:"Jonny Gray made 43 tackles, and missed none, in Scotland's three autumn internationals"

Crazy

How many has he actually missed in his professional career?

Apparently he has gone 750 minutes without missing a tackle for Scotland - that's 9 and a bit games!

Let's not forget Tim Visser. According to ESPN stats he has gone 750 seconds without missing a tackle for Scotland - that's 12 and a bit minutes....

Epic contribution from Jonny Gray. I really do hope he makes the Lions. He would do us proud.

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 9:51 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
RDW_Scotland wrote:
Riskysports wrote:"Jonny Gray made 43 tackles, and missed none, in Scotland's three autumn internationals"

Crazy

How many has he actually missed in his professional career?

Apparently he has gone 750 minutes without missing a tackle for Scotland - that's 9 and a bit games!

Let's not forget Tim Visser. According to ESPN stats he has gone 750 seconds without missing a tackle for Scotland - that's 12 and a bit minutes....

Epic contribution from Jonny Gray. I really do hope he makes the Lions. He would do us proud.

Tim Visser has gone 750 minutes without making a tackle for Scotland!

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Post by tigertattie Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:07 am

What have we learned from this AI series?

1. OZ are a pain in the backside
2. John Barclay is still worthy
3. Visser might not play for Scotland again
4. Hogg is the best attacking fullback in the NH (maybe the world?) but his defense is his weak spot
5. Jonny Gray is a monster
6. Ritchie Gray is still epic
7. Our backrow is tasty
8. Our scrum was horrendous, we need Dickenson and Nel back

I'm in two minds about the Georgia game! It was a fairly convincing performance but we seriously took the foot off the gas in the 2nd half! I think the players felt that the job was done so eased off entirely. Other teams would probably smell blood and turn the screw to have put 60+ points passed the Georgians. Until we find that cutting edge an ruthlessness, we'll always struggle against teams in the top 8.

Also, does anyone know the details of CDP's contract? I know he was a project player with views to playing for Scotland, but is he tied to playing for us? I know he's been injured and this counted against a possible call up for him, but he remains uncapped and now SA could very well be sniffing around him shortly as their backrow this autumn has been absolutely dire! Are we at risk of losing CDP?
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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:08 am

You would hope that Townsend would have the attributes to take on what Cotter has installed in the team and keep them moving forward. Townsend's coaching philosophy is similar to Vern's in that he wants a positive way of playing, and I am sure Townsend will have a similarly good bond relationship with the players.

I'm not sure how much criticism you can level at Townsend for his signings given the budget he would have had available to him and the specific circumstances - he had to basically sign any professional rugby player he could find leading up to the world cup!

There's not a lot we can do about it - the decision has been made!

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:12 am

tigertattie wrote:What have we learned from this AI series?

1. OZ are a pain in the backside
2. John Barclay is still worthy
3. Visser might not play for Scotland again
4. Hogg is the best attacking fullback in the NH (maybe the world?) but his defense is his weak spot
5. Jonny Gray is a monster
6. Ritchie Gray is still epic
7. Our backrow is tasty
8. Our scrum was horrendous, we need Dickenson and Nel back

I'm in two minds about the Georgia game! It was a fairly convincing performance but we seriously took the foot off the gas in the 2nd half! I think the players felt that the job was done so eased off entirely. Other teams would probably smell blood and turn the screw to have put 60+ points passed the Georgians. Until we find that cutting edge an ruthlessness, we'll always struggle against teams in the top 8.

Also, does anyone know the details of CDP's contract? I know he was a project player with views to playing for Scotland, but is he tied to playing for us? I know he's been injured and this counted against a possible call up for him, but he remains uncapped and now SA could very well be sniffing around him shortly as their backrow this autumn has been absolutely dire! Are we at risk of losing CDP?

I think number 3 is a bit harsh - it's not like our backup options are significantly better options. Hoyland's defence can be Visser-esque at times and Rory Hughes seems more in the Sean Lamont mould than Tommy Seymour - his time may come though.

As for CDP, his contract is up this season and I suppose the idea was that he would be capped by now. SA have no more games and we've got the 6N coming up so, making assumptions on fitness and form, he'll probably still get capped at some point.

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Post by IanBru Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:15 am

Before I dive into the post-mortem proper, I'll say a quick word for Allan Dell: My expectations for the third-choice Edinburgh loserhead to suddenly become an international-standard player were lower than low. I fully expected a prison shaming on a scale of the 1842 retreat from Kabul.

Instead, he has been quietly, consistently good. Maybe he isn't a long-term option for Scotland, but on the basis of a competent first three caps against strong-scrummaging opposition, I'm willing to admit that he might be.
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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:18 am

RDW_Scotland wrote:You would hope that Townsend would have the attributes to take on what Cotter has installed in the team and keep them moving forward.  Townsend's coaching philosophy is similar to Vern's in that he wants a positive way of playing, and I am sure Townsend will have a similarly good bond relationship with the players.

I'm not sure how much criticism you can level at Townsend for his signings given the budget he would have had available to him and the specific circumstances - he had to basically sign any professional rugby player he could find leading up to the world cup!

There's not a lot we can do about it - the decision has been made!

laughing

There's not a lot we can do about anything on here - doesn't stop us talking about it though!

I think Toonie is an outstanding coach, don't get me wrong, I just feel that all things being equal, we would keep Toonie at Glasgow and Cotter with Scotland. I realise offers were no doubt made to attract Toonie away from Scotland, and the SRU moved to keep him, but for the first time in decades I feel we have a really top quality coaching team with Scotland, and we have volunteered to let them go.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:20 am

IanBru wrote:Before I dive into the post-mortem proper, I'll say a quick word for Allan Dell: My expectations for the third-choice Edinburgh loserhead to suddenly become an international-standard player were lower than low. I fully expected a prison shaming on a scale of the 1842 retreat from Kabul.

Instead, he has been quietly, consistently good. Maybe he isn't a long-term option for Scotland, but on the basis of a competent first three caps against strong-scrummaging opposition, I'm willing to admit that he might be.

I would also add that he's been exactly like that for Edinburgh as well. He's a very consistent player and whilst very rarely is he a destructive scrummager, he holds up consistently well. He's also very busy in the loose. I think he's going to be a real asset to Edinburgh and Scotland over the years.

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:20 am

I suppose the other facet of this is that there is going to be a complete coaching swap. Our improved performances aren't just about Vern Cotter, they are about the forwards, backs, defence coach etc and they are all being changed for the Glasgow lot.

There will be a period of change generally that will no doubt have an impact on our short term results.

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Post by MacKnocked-on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 11:25 am

I think Dell has been, in many ways, the main find of the AIs. He has looked perfectly capable of playing International rugby. We obviously expected great things of Bradbury, who played very well, whereas Dell was really a unknown quantity who has proved to be a really good addition to the squad.
As for Hughes, I'm still not sure. He's obviously aggressive and direct but I feel he might not be fast and elusive enough to be an international standard winger. He's similar to Lamont (who isn't the fastest in the Glasgow squad no matter what he claims). Hoyland has the better attacking game but looks defensively weaker. Is Johnny McNicholl going to be an option when he moves to the Scarlets? What about Josh Bassett?

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Post by BigGee Mon 28 Nov 2016, 11:39 am

I think Dell will be right in the mix for LH now and Allan not that far behind him, they both did very well.

Its funny but I watched the Quins game on sunday and Visser looked everything that he does not for Scotland, hungry, looking for the ball, even tackling. He may just be one of those players who does not quite step up.

We have got two good wingers and a few others like Hughes and Hoyland who are putting in a case. I certainly don't think we would be in a position to turn down other good options if they came knocking at the door. bassett looks a good player as does McNicholl, but I would be amazed if his contract allowed him to go off and play for another country now that he is resident in Wales. I don't imagine we will be seeing him in blue.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:34 pm

Question:  Maybe it's already been raised above.  But considering Scotland's largely positive AI series, sensing the growing confidence that they can mix it with the big boys (admittedly that happened even earlier at the last WC)...but given that sense that Scotland could pop up even higher in the rankings after the 6N...... are there any qualms now about Vern Cotter leaving just when he's really beginning to get his tractor tires moving?

Will not the new coaching crew next year risk the growth at an awkward period in a WC cycle?

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:36 pm

SecretFly wrote:
are there any qualms now about Vern Cotter leaving just when he's really beginning to get his tractor tires moving?

Yes

SecretFly wrote:

Will not the new coaching crew next year risk the growth at an awkward period in a WC cycle?

Yes!

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Post by uncle_nigel Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:37 pm

Shouldn't be an issue as Townsend will pick more players from the best Scottish team.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:38 pm

I think the SRU are the only sports governing body in the world to effectively sack their staff when they're doing a good job!
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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:40 pm

uncle_nigel wrote:Shouldn't be an issue as Townsend will pick more players from the best Scottish team.

But Townsend will find out that the weekly rhythms of club are quite different to the stop/start processes at International. If he's lucky he will adapt quickly, but International is that very real step up - and even Vern needed time.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:42 pm

tigertattie wrote:I think the SRU are the only sports governing body in the world to effectively sack their staff when they're doing a good job!

Has there ever been a genuine reason posted as to why? Is it simply that the SRU want their own man in there and believe Townsend is that man (and they don't want to lose him to overseas)...or did Cotter look for too much of a hike in any 'stay' contract?

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Post by RDW Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:42 pm

And given that Townsend's tactics have fallen short at European Cup level I hope he doesn't think he can just do the same for Scotland!

Townsend is a clever coach and if it wasn't for the fact that Cotter was doing so well i would be quite happy about his appointment.

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Post by R!skysports Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:43 pm

SecretFly wrote:Question:  Maybe it's already been raised above.  But considering Scotland's largely positive AI series, sensing the growing confidence that they can mix it with the big boys (admittedly that happened even earlier at the last WC)...but given that sense that Scotland could pop up even higher in the rankings after the 6N...... are there any qualms now about Vern Cotter leaving just when he's really beginning to get his tractor tires moving?

Will not the new coaching crew next year risk the growth at an awkward period in a WC cycle?

I personally was very Peed off with the decision.

Finally get a world class coach, starting to make the improvements we have, then he is thrown out for the 'Golden Boy'

Townsend had better delivery - - otherwise, the pitch forks will be out

Think it is a terrible terrible way to do business


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Post by BigGee Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:44 pm

Well a lot of us felt the same when Toonie was parachuted in ahead of Lineen, who was felt to be doing a decent job there, into Glasgow, but that worked out quite well.

Its done now and so we will just have to reserve judgement. What he does have on his side is that there are quite a few decent players now, not something every recent Scottish coach could claim and he knows them well as most of them play for Glasgow. It really should not be the most turbulent of transitions.

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Post by IanBru Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:51 pm

MacKnocked-on wrote:
As for Hughes, I'm still not sure. He's obviously aggressive and direct but I feel he might not be fast and elusive enough to be an international standard winger. He's similar to Lamont (who isn't the fastest in the Glasgow squad no matter what he claims). Hoyland has the better attacking game but looks defensively weaker.
I was watching The Last King of Scotland this week, and I'm reminded of the swimming race between Idi Amin and his party guests - Amin just jumps in a few seconds before the others, and they're clearly too afraid to overtake him.

That might be the reason.
"I'm the fastest player in the squad, aren't I?"
"Yes Sean, of course you are. Now would you let me down please? The blood is rushing to my head."

Note: I'm not suggesting that Sean Lamont actually eats human flesh, has multiple wives or sponsors state terrorism. He is the last king of Scotland though.
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Post by MacKnocked-on Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:53 pm

At least O'Halloran is staying within the SRU's employ at Glasgow, he's obviously started to have an impact on our attacking play given the increased number of tries being scored. If Toonie makes a horlicks of things then there will be O'Halloran and Rennie waiting in the wings to take over.

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Post by George Carlin Mon 28 Nov 2016, 12:58 pm

I am not convinced that Cotter going will be fatal to the development of our test side - in fact, I think that what you can also take from Tom English's article is that a fresh pair of eyes will be welcomed when it comes to selection. I think that Wales could have been about 25% better than they currently are with a different coach to Gatland prior to the last RWC and I think that a lot of good coaches would take that job. Longevity itself is not necessarily a badge of success and it wasn't too long since a lot of people on these boards were expressing reservations about whether Cotter has taken us as far as he can. 

I can see both sides to the argument that we should have done what Schmidt did and give international debuts to more people this time around. Getting into the second pool of seeds in the RWC is absolutely crucial and is probably a performance bonus milestone for Cotter to have achieved. We could not have done that with a bunch of rookies on the field because if anything won that awful second match against Argentina, it was experience. There is then the very obvious point that Ireland have a greater number of more talented youngsters than we do. I would love to say that the likes of Nick Grigg and Sam Johnson would definitely have made the same impact for Scotland as Garry Ringrose did for Ireland if they'd just been given the chance, but frankly I don't believe that's true.

I am very excited that Dave Rennie is coming over. If Toonie does not work out, he would be an incredible replacement and I am frankly surprised he isn't an international coach already. 

I also (and I don't give a toss if this is disloyal/non-local/sacrilegious) think that Edinburgh deserve and can get a much better coach than Hodge. More importantly, Edinburgh need a better coach than him if they are to move forward.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 1:18 pm

George Carlin wrote:I am not convinced that Cotter going will be fatal to the development of our test side - in fact, I think that what you can also take from Tom English's article is that a fresh pair of eyes will be welcomed when it comes to selection. I think that Wales could have been about 25% better than they currently are with a different coach to Gatland prior to the last RWC and I think that a lot of good coaches would take that job. Longevity itself is not necessarily a badge of success and it wasn't too long since a lot of people on these boards were expressing reservations about whether Cotter has taken us as far as he can. 


Jesus, George. Cotter has only been in the job a wet week in comparison to the great Welsh Pharaoh Gats! Let's not retell this tale with too much spin Wink

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Post by George Carlin Mon 28 Nov 2016, 1:28 pm

SecretFly wrote:
George Carlin wrote:I am not convinced that Cotter going will be fatal to the development of our test side - in fact, I think that what you can also take from Tom English's article is that a fresh pair of eyes will be welcomed when it comes to selection. I think that Wales could have been about 25% better than they currently are with a different coach to Gatland prior to the last RWC and I think that a lot of good coaches would take that job. Longevity itself is not necessarily a badge of success and it wasn't too long since a lot of people on these boards were expressing reservations about whether Cotter has taken us as far as he can. 

 

Jesus, George.  Cotter has only been in the job a wet week in comparison to the great Welsh Pharaoh Gats!  Let's not retell this tale with too much spin Wink
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Post by uncle_nigel Mon 28 Nov 2016, 1:31 pm

SecretFly wrote:
George Carlin wrote:I am not convinced that Cotter going will be fatal to the development of our test side - in fact, I think that what you can also take from Tom English's article is that a fresh pair of eyes will be welcomed when it comes to selection. I think that Wales could have been about 25% better than they currently are with a different coach to Gatland prior to the last RWC and I think that a lot of good coaches would take that job. Longevity itself is not necessarily a badge of success and it wasn't too long since a lot of people on these boards were expressing reservations about whether Cotter has taken us as far as he can. 

 

Jesus, George.  Cotter has only been in the job a wet week in comparison to the great Welsh Pharaoh Gats!  Let's not retell this tale with too much spin Wink

thumbsup

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 1:32 pm

BigGee wrote:Well a lot of us felt the same when Toonie was parachuted in ahead of Lineen, who was felt to be doing a decent job there, into Glasgow, but that worked out quite well.

Its done now and so we will just have to reserve judgement. What he does have on his side is that there are quite a few decent players now, not something every recent Scottish coach could claim and he knows them well as most of them play for Glasgow. It really should not be the most turbulent of transitions.

This is what I'm clinging onto as well. I thought the decision to ditch Lineen for Toonie was barking mad, and it's proved to be a masterstroke.

Who knows, maybe Trump will make a great President as well.....

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 1:36 pm

George Carlin wrote:I also (and I don't give a toss if this is disloyal/non-local/sacrilegious) think that Edinburgh deserve and can get a much better coach than Hodge. More importantly, Edinburgh need a better coach than him if they are to move forward.

100%. Hodge has done nothing to suggest to me that he's the man to take Edinburgh forward. He may well be in temporary charge until the end of the season, but we need a higher calibre replacement. Again, the only crumb I can take here is that he could ultimately "do a Toonie", and confound expectations once given the chance to make his mark, but poor defeats to Zebre and the Dragons don't suggest to me that he's anything special.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 28 Nov 2016, 2:33 pm

SecretFly wrote:
tigertattie wrote:I think the SRU are the only sports governing body in the world to effectively sack their staff when they're doing a good job!

Has there ever been a genuine reason posted as to why?  Is it simply that the SRU want their own man in there and believe Townsend is that man (and they don't want to lose him to overseas)...or did Cotter look for too much of a hike in any 'stay' contract?

I think Rabbit-gate had something to do with it!
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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 2:40 pm

tigertattie wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
tigertattie wrote:I think the SRU are the only sports governing body in the world to effectively sack their staff when they're doing a good job!

Has there ever been a genuine reason posted as to why?  Is it simply that the SRU want their own man in there and believe Townsend is that man (and they don't want to lose him to overseas)...or did Cotter look for too much of a hike in any 'stay' contract?

I think Rabbit-gate had something to do with it!

Shocked Christ! Now I have to do more bloody research! These 'Gates' are coming thick and heavy now........... Whistle

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Post by EST Mon 28 Nov 2016, 2:48 pm

On Dell, he did come over to Scotland with a bit of pedigree - I think he was in the starting front row when SA won the U20 WC. He has been hampered by injuries and the subsequent rise of Sutherland, but I think he has always performed pretty well for Edinburgh. I am glad he managed to make the step up, though - he doesn't look like the biggest physically, so I had question marks surrounding his scrummaging, outwith a few horsing's by Georgia, he did enough to gain pass-marks there and was influential in open field.

As for Toonie, I have accepted it as I think GT is a good coach, but why the SRU felt the need to rush things, I don't know. Cotter is one of the best coaches in the world and it sounds as if the players really like and respect him. Apart from anything else, I think Toonie could have done with some more coaching experience. He was peripatetic as a player, and he could have gone to France/England for three years and come back into the fold. There is a reason the most successful international coaches have bucket-loads of experience. Toonie has confounded us before, lets hope he can repeat it for Scotland.

I would give our AI performances a solid 7.5/10. It was great to see us toughing it out against Argentina with an inexperienced squad, however the Argentina team looked exhausted after a long season - they are a shadow of the WC 2015 team, form wise. We were better than I thought against Georgia, but then again they were worse than I was expecting, good to get a comfortable win, when in seasons gone by we would have made hard work of it. The Oz game was a big disappointment, considering we were in the position to win that game - hopefully the squad (especially Russell), learn from the experience the value of game management.

Looking forward to the 6N this year, i'm going to the first two games against Ireland and France. We have a very tough start, Ireland are playing brilliantly and France looked good in patches against the AB's. Lose both of the opening games and we are in trouble, win one and we have the chance to get three wins, which would be a very successful haul.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 2:51 pm

EST wrote:We have a very tough start, Ireland are playing brilliantly and France looked good in patches against the AB's.  Lose both of the opening games and we are in trouble, win one and we have the chance to get three wins, which would be a very successful haul.

beat France.... thanks in advance thumbsup

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Post by funnyExiledScot Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:14 pm

SecretFly wrote:
EST wrote:We have a very tough start, Ireland are playing brilliantly and France looked good in patches against the AB's.  Lose both of the opening games and we are in trouble, win one and we have the chance to get three wins, which would be a very successful haul.

beat France.... thanks in advance thumbsup

France will be our best shot. Your boys are looking a wee bit sharp at the moment.

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Post by EST Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:17 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
EST wrote:We have a very tough start, Ireland are playing brilliantly and France looked good in patches against the AB's.  Lose both of the opening games and we are in trouble, win one and we have the chance to get three wins, which would be a very successful haul.

beat France.... thanks in advance thumbsup

France will be our best shot. Your boys are looking a wee bit sharp at the moment.

As much as I would love some bragging rights regarding the Sco V Ire fixture (My uni mates, half of whom are Irish, have a reunion each year at the fixture), I just can't see it happening. You lads have gone up a gear since the WC and will have too much smarts for us. Should be a good game all the same.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:34 pm

Oh I think auld chance and luck and then a smattering of evasion here and there could be the telling feature on many encounters in the 6N. Virtually all sides will have learned to have respect for each other in buckets after this AI season. Any slice of complacency at all will get punished.

We always say it - but seriously, it looks like a punishing competitive 6N coming. Not for the faint hearted.

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Post by uncle_nigel Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:37 pm

Get your scapegoat (Wayne Barnes) at the ready Irish.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 3:51 pm

If we get our pal Nigel in for a game or two... we'll accept Wayne for one of the games. Italy. Whistle

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Post by uncle_nigel Mon 28 Nov 2016, 4:01 pm

SecretFly wrote:If we get our pal Nigel in for a game or two... we'll accept Wayne for one of the games.  Italy. Whistle

So Wayne wasn't the official when Italy secured their first 6N win over Ireland then? Genuine question as I don't remember...


*Just remembered that it was in 2013 so I looked it up laughing laughing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/21789586

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Post by SecretFly Mon 28 Nov 2016, 4:07 pm

Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).  

DA DA DAAAAA!!!! drumroll

There you go! Shocked   Even I'd forgotten that.  So yes, the impossible can happen when Wayne takes the whistle against the Irish Whistle

But no - let's desist on ref talk for now.  Back to Scotland and my apologies for deflecting the chat.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 28 Nov 2016, 4:15 pm

get a grip Fly! You'd never see any of us Scottish posters derailing the rugby chat!
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Post by RuggerRadge2611 Mon 28 Nov 2016, 5:14 pm

All in all I'd say a solid B+ for Scotland. A good series but room for improvement. Irelands performance against Australia was good and so was ours, based on that I don't think there is an enormous amount between the sides, between the 1st XVs anyway . I certainly don't think Ireland will be looking forward to their visit to Murrayfield.
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Post by Lost In London Mon 28 Nov 2016, 8:16 pm

I was pleasantly surprised by both Dell's and Fagerson's performances throughout the 3 games. Dell’s 2 turnovers won within a 2 minutes of each other against Georgia were brilliant. He's also got good ball skills for a prop and seemed to show up in the loose a fair bit.

We're now in a situation where the top 3 Scottish looseheads are at Edinburgh (Not a fan of Gordon Reid). How are we going to ensure all three get amble game-time at an intense level (i.e. against top 6 pro 12/Europe)?

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Post by robbo277 Mon 28 Nov 2016, 10:01 pm

There are some similarities to last year, when Scotland made the quarters only spoiled by another narrow loss against Australia. They followed that up with a home loss to England and struggled to make an impact on the 2016 Six Nations.

I think the Ireland game will be a true test for Scotland. If they win, they can start thinking about competing at the sharp end of the competition for the first time in ages. If they lose their first game at home again, it will feel like "same old" after a good autumn series, and they'll struggle to recover in the tournament.

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