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Scotland 6 Nations Thread

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Post by Highland Shaun on Mon 2 Dec - 10:26

First topic message reminder :

With the 6N fast approaching, I thought I'd be the first to start a thread for it, my team being Scotland because its my nationality lol.

First of all, we know that Danny Wilson won't be coaching as he's off to coach Glasgow plus there are rumours of Matt Taylor the assistant going with Rennie to Australia so that leaves a couple of vacancies available, hopefully after the 6N, the main head coach one will be available too, which I would suspect Richard Cockerill would be the outright fav for, but that's a topic for after the 6N.

So, who would you like to see be in our 6N squad, are there any new caps that are likely, are there any players possibly getting recalls or would we likely see any younger players get a shot.

This is the place to discuss so go ahead 😉.

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Post by BigGee on Sat 28 Dec - 21:37

Only problem with that theory Jim, is that Bell is going to be Glasgow's attack coach, not Scotland's!

As far as we know for now, we are sticking with Mikey Blair for that role, with presumably Toonie sticking his oar in as well. Lets hope they have learnt some lessons.

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Post by jimbopip on Sat 28 Dec - 21:52

Too may appointments coupled with too many mulled wines, Gee.
So Tandy is envelope two.
Inheriting aging players in key positions was envelope one.
He won't get a ticket to the far eastern gulags of Banff for at least a year.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 31 Dec - 4:51

So following the derby games, always a bit of an unofficial trial, as well as the other games in other leagues, how do we reckon the squad is shaping up for this years 6N?

Here is my initial stab:

Full Back

This should be a relatively easy one, with a few of the wingers also being able to provide cover if we get a run of injuries

Hogg
Kinghorn

Wingers

Not overwhelmed with depth here, though Kinghorn and Harris also provide cover. I can only come up with three shoe ins for the squad and the other spots will come from the hybrids

Maitland
Graham
McGuigan - Still playing well for Sale

Centres

Probably our most overstocked position and some genuine talent is likely to miss out here, Bennett likely to be the unlucky one

Scott
Jones H
Hutchinson
Harris
Johnson
Taylor

Fly Halves

It is surely time to stop pretending that Pete Horne can provide FH cover at international level. Weir's good form for Worcester surely gets him into the squad as the third option

Russell
Hastings
Weir

Scrum Halves

Again, two barn door picks and a third by default. No-one yet putting their hand up to take the third spot away from HP, who showed at the weekend that he is still a clever player who can see a chance.

Horne G
Price
Prygos

Loose Head

Undoubtedly our weakest position and one which nay well get exploited. None of our options are holding down a starting spot and some are not even playing fully professional rugby. Whether that excludes Gordon Reid or not remains to be seen, but due to our lack of options, he will remain in the mix

Dell
Bhatti
Reid

Hooker

A bit more depth in this aspect of the front row fortunately, with three decent options and some backups who could come into the squad if needed.

Brown
McInally
Turner

Tight Head

Again three decent options on this side of the scrum, though it gets a bit thinner after that.

Nel
Fagerson Z
Berghan


Second Rows

We are pretty well stocked in the second row these days and some decent players will miss out again. Will Ritchie Gray come back into the squad is an ongoing question as well and is Sam Skinner going to be fit? For the purpose of this squad, I will say yes and that means a few familiar names might miss out. It won't please Edinburgh fans, but more likely to be Gilchrist and Toolis, who despite many opportunities have never really convinced as international locks.

Gray R
Gray J
Cummings
Skinner
Alex Craig - there is always going to be a bolter with Toonie and this lad looks like he has the potential

Flankers

again we are spoilt for choice and there may also be some cross over in to No.8 as well. John Barclay's decision gives Toonie an easy out, but he will have to call Ryan Wilson by himself. Skinner can also cross cover

Watson
Ritchie
Bradbury
Crosbie - if recovered from injury

No.8

Again some crossover with the flankers might happen here, but I would go with just the two

Fagerson M
Thompson - started and played well in the demolition of the ospreys on Boxing day



That would give a squad of 37 and should provide plenty of cover. Other than LH, we are not actually in bad shape and from an injury perspective, probably about as good as we could be.



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Post by Heuer27 on Tue 31 Dec - 8:29

This might be a bit contentious but I think Gary Graham has to be considered for a back row berth. Saw him last week in his man of the match performance for Newcastle in their top of the table fixture.  He really was superb. Just what Scotland need, super abrasive and with an 80 min engine.  Bet Glasgow sign him for next season, he would be a brilliant acquisition to the squad now that Gibbons is offski and Wilson is pretty much done.

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Post by RDW on Tue 31 Dec - 8:39

Heuer27 wrote:This might be a bit contentious but I think Gary Graham has to be considered for a back row berth. Saw him last week in his man of the match performance for Newcastle in their top of the table fixture.  He really was superb. Just what Scotland need, super abrasive and with an 80 min engine.  Bet Glasgow sign him for next season, he would be a brilliant acquisition to the squad now that Gibbons is offski and Wilson is pretty much done.

I can't see it - not while he's playing in the championship. It's not quite the same playing against semi pros as playing Ireland!

He would be a good signing for Glasgow though.

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Post by Heuer27 on Tue 31 Dec - 9:21

Would rather have him than Ryan Wilson or Luke Crosbie who doesn’t play much pro 14.
As it stands, there are very few abrasive, hard players in that Scotland squad, Ritchie and Watson notable exceptions
This squad has a soft underbelly which has been exposed time and again. It needs mentally tough individuals who refuse to lie down to anyone / thing .

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Post by BigGee on Tue 31 Dec - 9:23

GG did pretty well in his cameos for Scotland and looked like he could have stepped up if he had got the chance to start.

I tend to agree with RDW though that it is not likely to happen while he is playing in the championship, we have a lot of decent back row players now and he is just not going to get the exposure he needs there to bring him to Toonie's attention.

I would have him at Glasgow like a shot though and that would be his best opportunity to get more caps, he is still young enough for that to be realistic.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 31 Dec - 9:26

Heuer27 wrote:Would rather have him than Ryan Wilson or Luke Crosbie who doesn’t play much pro 14.
As it stands, there are very few abrasive, hard players in that Scotland squad, Ritchie and Watson notable exceptions  
This squad has a soft underbelly which has been exposed time and again. It needs mentally tough individuals who refuse to lie down to anyone / thing .

Crosbie is a very decent player as well and might have thought about a move to get more game time than he is getting. He has signed up for Edinburgh again though and will no doubt get played a lot more especially in the 6N window. He is not to far away from getting capped either.

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Post by Heuer27 on Tue 31 Dec - 9:40

Not saying Crosby’s is not a good player but he is not playing enough.
Think we all realise that Wilson is going to be in the squad but there are others who could give to the cause and are being overlooked due to out of sight etc .
Graham being a case in point but you could add Gray, Lang, Hutchison, Weir, and others. All playing in top teams in top leagues and barring Hutchison who refused to be ignored, all discarded.


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Post by BigGee on Tue 31 Dec - 21:14

I don't think Wilson, nor Pete Horne will be in the squad, there time has come and gone. There is likely to be a gentle changing of the guard in this squad.

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Post by jimbopip on Tue 31 Dec - 23:16

I think Toonie should/must use this 6Nations as a moment to lay down the foundations for the next four years.
This , of course, raises some very interesting questions.
Which of the old guard need to be thanked and wished all the best?
Which young players deserve to be seen?

Peter Horne may have run out of luck. We still don't have a third 10, and while he was a reasonable alternative at 12 he merited his squad place on the grounds that he could "fill in at 10". However, Johnson, Scott (possibly, but his defence needs to be proven; 15 minutes running at a tiring Glasgow midfield wasn't the Second Coming), Taylor D, Hutchinson are all in the frame.
Batman may survive. His performances this season against "big packs" have been mighty impressive, but he's a 6 1/2 not an 8.
Gee omits Toolis and GG. Probably right. GG has never really become our AWJ, which is what we need from him. Toolis must be fourth behind Cummings, Skinner and Gray R.
On his throwing over the 1872 games I would "rest" Fraser Brown. Rambo, Turner and Grant Stewart for me.
Third 10 is the position that worries me. If Dancer is injured we have Haircut and...….? Sadly, I think Duncy's ship has sailed. Toonie preferred Jacko to him. Then preferred Dancer to him. Then Haircut took his place at Glasgow.Toonie preferred Horne Snr, or Frodo, for Scotland. I think Toonie will be looking to the future and he doesn't want to see Meatballs on his plate.

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Post by bsando on Wed 1 Jan - 2:25

Lang may well get called up again, he's been getting lots of game time at Quins. Weir also could be back in contention.

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Post by BigGee on Wed 1 Jan - 2:38

If not Weir, then I am not sure who would be out third FH. We are not exactly overflowing with options.

Jacko - past it

Horne P - never really convinced

Hutchinson - has played there as a junior, but not any time recently. Could probably cover as an absolute emergency

Kinghorn - as above

Hogg - ditto

Other than that we have to wait for VDW to qualify and Toonie's son to graduate!

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Post by jimbopip on Wed 1 Jan - 5:09

BigGee wrote:If not Weir, then I am not sure who would be out third FH. We are not exactly overflowing with options.

Jacko - past it

Horne P - never really convinced

Hutchinson - has played there as a junior, but not any time recently. Could probably cover as an absolute emergency

Kinghorn - as above

Hogg - ditto

Other than that we have to wait for VDW to qualify and Toonie's son to graduate!

there's Richie V Run

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 1 Jan - 21:13

I hear Stafford McDowall is in the mountains training as a fly half ready for his 2020 comeback after the la Rochelle disaster.
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Post by bsando on Thu 2 Jan - 19:39

Encouraging to read Jones is still very much excited to be part of Glasgow and that he and Dave have had constructive disagreements this season rather than full blown arguments. To be honest, I think he has done enough to be first choie 13 now and could have a marvellous run in to the 6N.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 2 Jan - 20:28

Heuer27 wrote:Not saying Crosby’s is not a good player but he is not playing enough.
 


Not totally sure on this, last season was his breakthrough season, this year he started or was involved in most games, and has missed the last few due to being unavailable because of injury. I think he'll get plenty of game time this season at Edinburgh.

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Post by bsando on Thu 2 Jan - 20:41

Rugbypass are talking up Jamie Dobie as potentially going on tour with Scotland this summer to SA and NZ Shocked

Half-backs – Jamie Dobie (Glasgow Warriors and Scotland) and Marcus Smith (Harlequins and England)

"...Dobie is a rare talent and that’s been backed up by Glasgow handing him a professional contract straight out of school, something which very rarely happens in Scottish rugby. With the Scotland U20 side relegated to the U20 Trophy this year, the SRU and Gregor Townsend have an interesting dilemma ahead of them over whether or not to let Dobie help push the side back towards promotion or to take him on tour with the seniors to South Africa and New Zealand."

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-future-stars-of-rugby-set-to-dominate-in-the-2020s

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Post by BigGee on Thu 2 Jan - 21:24

It is an interesting one for Dobie, who clearly is being marked up for great things.

In all honesty, if we can't get out of the U20s Tophy and back into the main tournament without him, then we probably don't deserve to in any case, so from that perspective, I would have no issue with him going on the main tour.

I do think he needs a bit more game experience first though and hopefully he will get that during the 6N window, when both Glasgow scrummies will be away. He played well off the bench when he got the opportunity and surely is due a start over Frisbee.

The other thing is the lack of alternatives, without Price and Hornito, there is not really anyone else putting up their hands. HP is getting on and not really full international class and others have faded away. There is still some hope for Vellacott, who did an ACL at the begining of the season, but he needs to get fit and show some form first.

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Post by BigGee on Sat 4 Jan - 1:34

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/scotland-punches-above-its-weight-we-do-a-lot-better-than-people-realise-or-understand-matt-taylor

Fair well interview from Matt Taylor

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Post by bsando on Sat 4 Jan - 2:51

High praise for Dunbar I see, he was a brilliant poacher!

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Post by RDW on Sat 4 Jan - 3:44

Anyone else worried that he's renowned as being one of the best defence coaches in the world yet our defence has been awful?

What will happen after he's gone!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 4 Jan - 20:26

This is the thing I dont get. He was also defence coach under cotter and whilst things werent perfect our defence was relatively sound most of the time. Trying not to sound like a one track record but it "coincidently" seemed to become a problem with Toonie in charge. Can't all be taylor
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Post by bsando on Sat 4 Jan - 21:40

I suppose you could attribute the poor defence being partially because Scotland have been making more errors and putting themselves under more pressure? The higher risk game plan and new kicking game under Toonie is not as simple as Cotters more structured game plan so that could have something to do with it.

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Post by bsando on Sat 4 Jan - 22:43

https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/scotland-recall-would-cap-edinburgh-centre-matt-scott-s-revival-1-5070252

It seems Scott is in very good shape now. He looked very impressive last weekend at Murrayfield when he came off the bench. I thought he was too heavy for a while and playing in the Premiership.

Very interesting that genetically he responds very quickly to training adjustments. He'd definitely be in my 6N squad if I were choosing, Johnson has been a bit quiet at 12 for the last wee while so Scott will probably see this as an opportunity to steal that jersey back.

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Post by RDW on Sat 4 Jan - 22:50

As good as SJ has been for us lately I do think we've been missing a physical presence at 12. Every other home nation has one.

Having such a creative playmaker at 10 reduces the need for a ball player at 12, particularly when Hogg and Kinghorn are comfortable on the ball further out. There's no point having a backline full off of ball players if there's no one to make the runs!

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Post by RDW on Sun 5 Jan - 20:08

BigGee wrote:It is an interesting one for Dobie, who clearly is being marked up for great things.

In all honesty, if we can't get out of the U20s Tophy and back into the main tournament without him, then we probably don't deserve to in any case, so from that perspective, I would have no issue with him going on the main tour.

I do think he needs a bit more game experience first though and hopefully he will get that during the 6N window, when both Glasgow scrummies will be away. He played well off the bench when he got the opportunity and surely is due a start over Frisbee.

The other thing is the lack of alternatives, without Price and Hornito, there is not really anyone else putting up their hands. HP is getting on and not really full international class and others have faded away. There is still some hope for Vellacott, who did an ACL at the begining of the season, but he needs to get fit and show some form first.

All this talk about Dobie and Charlie Shiel put in a performance last night to remind everyone where the pecking order should lie! Yes it was basically shooting fish in a barrel given they were down to 12 men but he was electric.

He's still a rugby infant but is significantly more experienced than Dobie - he's had a few years in the Pro set up now and 12 Edinburgh caps. If anyone should be invited to train with the squad it's him.

Both need more gametime at club level though!

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Post by bsando on Sun 5 Jan - 22:41

Agreed, I thought he had a good impact off the bench. Until he’s starting more regularly than Pyrgos he’s going to struggle to earn a call up though. He looks to be growing in confidence as a player with each chance he gets. He was perhaps a little slow at getting the ball out of rucks compared with Pyrgos though, but looks the real deal in open play. For this 6N I’d still be pretty happy with Pyrgos being 3rd choice 9 now that Laidlaw has called it quits. He’s now Scotland’s most experienced SH and a safe pair of hands.

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Post by RDW on Mon 6 Jan - 3:08

Anyone know if R Gray is injured? He hasn't been in the Toulouse squad several weeks in a row now.

In better news Alan Dell has started the last few games for LI.

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Post by bsando on Tue 7 Jan - 1:52

https://www.theoffsideline.com/scotland-to-build-up-for-six-nations-opener-with-training-camp-in-spain/

Scotland will be training in Spain before their game against Ireland.

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Post by bsando on Thu 9 Jan - 4:23

Skinner is back to full fitness apparently, great news!

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Post by BigGee on Thu 9 Jan - 4:49

I wonder if he will play against Glasgow this weekend?

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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 4:51

For Scotland's sake it would be good if he played the next two games given they're the last before the 6N.

Big ask to throw him straight into Ireland.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 9 Jan - 7:01

RDW wrote:For Scotland's sake it would be good if he played the next two games given they're the last before the 6N.

Big ask to throw him straight into Ireland.

Happy to have him bench. Cummings or R Gray should go next to J Gray. Skinner on the bench to come in for the final 20 minutes

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Post by BigGee on Thu 9 Jan - 7:18

Baxter said in an interview that he did not feel it would be fair to chuck him straight back into a Euro cup game. Probably an A league game for him on Monday then maybe into the squad for the La Rochelle game the following week.

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Post by 123456789. on Thu 9 Jan - 9:59

From what I've seen Hutchinson has moved between 12 and 13 for Northampton, I'd love to see him at 12 and Jones at 13 against Ireland. It's not the biggest pairing but he's a bigger lad than Horne and only a stone lighter than Johnson. I think George Horne has to be the 9, Price hasn't played a huge amount of rugby. Russell obviously will be at 10. Hogg has not been quite back to his best but he has been assured at 15. Maitland and Graham on the wings. To me, that's a winning backline. I'd imagine Price and Pyrgos will be in the squad. Hastings also. Pete Horne will probably come in as he theoretically covers 10, he also has that vital, vital skill of making the other players better. I wouldn't pick him. Johnson should remain in the squad. I'd have Bennett and Scott in there too. Kinghorn will obviously be around there. Kyle Steyn should be there to cover the back three. Harris will probably get in on the back off his ability to play wing with almost as much adeptness as he does 13 at international rugby. McGuigan perhaps might come back into the fold, maybe even Lee Jones.

The pack is more complicated and weaker. Loosehead is a weak spot. I think Dell and Bhatti will end up there by default. MacInally will probably stay ahead of Brown. I'd stick Fagerson ahead of Nel. Richie Gray would be a very welcome return, I just hope he's not burnt his bridges. Jonny Gray is always going to be there. Skinner on the bench provides more options and Cummings is not by any means a bad option. Gilchrist should be in the mix. Any of those five I'd be happy with. I think Toolis and Swinson should be retained by their clubs. The back row is interesting, the Edinburgh cohort of Watson, Ritchie and Bradbury should be in and around there. Blade Thomson was showing potential but I've no idea how he's gone. Wilson may stick about because I'm not sure there's much else to choose from but he should be a squad option primarily. Apparently, Parisse may be parachuted in for a farewell against us in Rome. Maybe we should play Wilson to just put into perspective how much he's contributed.

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Post by bsando on Thu 9 Jan - 21:16

It is going to be a really interesting call on who starts at inside and outside centre first up. I just hope it isn't Horne at 12, that would be a joke. Scott is the in form 12 in Scotland but Hutchinson is performing well at Northampton too like you say numbers. Harris has been doing well at Gloucester and they play a fast brand of rugby so I'd definitely have him in the mix. Scott/Johnson for 12, Hutchinson, Jones and Harris for 13 would be my call. Bennett could throw a spanner in the works and make a return too, he is an excellent player.

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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 21:47

i'm with bsando on this one - I don't think throwing Hutchinson and Jones together would be a good idea, and doesn't have the same balance as Scott/Johnson/Taylor would give at 12.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 9 Jan - 21:48

I think people are underplaying Bennett's potential return. He has been excellent for Edinburgh, and stood out even when the backline has been poor. I'd put him at least on a par with Jones and better than Harris. For me on current form though it would be a Scott-Hutch axis.
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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 21:52

I wouldn't say Nelly that Bennett has stood out that much actually - he's been solid with the odd good touch but he's still nowhere near his 2015 form.  A lot of that is down to Hodge's coaching though!

He should be part of the conversation though and could make a statement in the next 2 games.

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Post by EST on Thu 9 Jan - 22:26

The centre selection is going to give a good indication into Toonies thought process - if he sticks with the defensively minded picks of the WC I will despair.

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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 22:29

Horne-Harris  OK

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Post by EWT Spoons on Thu 9 Jan - 22:30

Oh, I reckon it'll be Taylor and Harris.

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Post by king_carlos on Thu 9 Jan - 22:30

England fan coming in peace. I now live North of the wall and regularly attend Edinburgh games so feel I can call Scotland my second team with justification beyond a granny Castle Douglas!

9.Price, Horne, Pygros
10.Russell, Hastings
11.Graham
12.Hutchinson, Johnson, Scott
13.Harris, Jones, Bennet
14.Maitland, McGuigan
15.Hogg, Kinghorn

To me it would make sense to use Jones and Harris' ability to cover wing as a means to get your strength at centre in the squad. With Seymour retired there aren't an abundance of back three options, although Hogg, Maitland, Graham and Kinghorn are all quality players.

It makes more sense to use the versatility of the centres as needed rather than use the likes of Lee Jones, Dougie Fife or Damien Hoyland as stop gaps. Scotland have wings coming through with Jack Blain a real unit and Duhan potentially coming available.

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Post by EST on Thu 9 Jan - 22:31

RDW wrote:Horne-Harris  OK

vomit

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Post by 123456789. on Thu 9 Jan - 22:37

I’d say that the centre combinations we’ve tried in the last two years have been less than successful. Johnson and Jones have never really clicked. Horne and Harris are both gash. Taylor wasn’t right for the World Cup, although he’s been playing regularly for sarries. Bennett and Scott haven’t done quite enough from what I’ve seen. Dunbar may have been tearing up trees for all I know

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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 22:38

Go on there here's my team to face Ireland:

1 Dell (actually getting gametime now, no one else really)
2 McInally (Brown's lineout is too wayward)
3 Fagerson (earned his place as starter - needs to show he can scrum at this level)
4 J Gray
5 Cummings (our form lock just now)
6 Ritchie
7 Watson
8 Bradbury

9 Horne (the form man)
10 Russell
11 Maitland
12 Scott
13 Hutchinson
14 Graham
15 Hogg

Subs - Bhattie (no one else), Brown, Nel, Gilchrist, Thomson, Price, Taylor, Kinghorn

My reasoning being:

Back row - Ireland are big on the 'dark arts' at the breakdown, so I think we need Ritchie and Watson. Bradbury and Thomson are more interested in carrying than hitting rucks.

No Skinner / R Gray - too soon for Skinner, R Gray hasn't played for a while (injured?)

No Hastings - Russell won't be subbed unless injured. Taylor offers solidity if we need it and Kingorn gives X-factor if we need it. Hutchinson or Hogg to step up to 10 - if we lose Russell we're doomed anyway so won't make much difference!

Centres - we need physicality and go fowards in the backs against Ireland. Scott it is but I'd be happy with Taylor too.

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Post by RDW on Thu 9 Jan - 22:41

123456789. wrote:I’d say that the centre combinations we’ve tried in the last two years have been less than successful. Johnson and Jones have never really clicked. Horne and Harris are both gash. Taylor wasn’t right for the World Cup, although he’s been playing regularly for sarries. Bennett and Scott haven’t done quite enough from what I’ve seen. Dunbar may have been tearing up trees for all I know

Scott has been excellent for Edinburgh - right back to his old self. He's been injured a few times so hasn't played as much this season, but if he's fit then he's right back in contention.

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Post by Tramptastic on Thu 9 Jan - 23:02

Yeh I'd agree, Scott's form has been better than Johnson's so far, would back him to start with either Bennett for familiarity or Hutchinson (probably the in form choice)

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 9 Jan - 23:06

Pretty nifty looking team RDW. Although i'd swap taylor for hastings. We need a backup if Russell.exe stops working and give Hastings a chance to compete for the starting berth if that happens. Whilst its likely we'd still lose I'd rather not a repeat of Twickers 2017 where I'm pretty sure weir ended up on the wing at one point. Specialist positions need specialist cover, as P Horne has proved on many occasions.
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