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Scotland 6 Nations Thread

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Post by Highland Shaun Sun 01 Dec 2019, 11:26 pm

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 Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:12 am

bsando wrote:
RDW wrote:
bsando wrote:https://www.rugbypass.com/news/the-glaringly-obvious-problem-in-scotlands-game-plan-that-has-to-stop

I believe most of this article to be correct. That probably places a lot of blame on Danny Wilson as well as Townsend for renewed white line fever. I had no idea our attacking maul was quite as bad as this.

Wilson has not been a good appointment - our lineout and mauls have been crap under his watch, his main areas of responsibility.

We're yet to see all these innovative ideas Toonie told us he would be bringing!

I wonder how he'll get on at Glasgow? He seemed a good coach for the Blues and my friend who is a Blues fan rates him quite highly. I had high hopes for him when he joined Scotland but there just hasn't been any obvious improvement.

Bringing in scrum coach PDV has definitely made a difference there. Sutherland has backed up his excellent strength and fitness off the field with rejuvenated form for Scotland which is amazing to see. He's probably going to be Scotland's player of the tournament at this rate. If Townsend were to get the boot after the 6N at least whoever comes in next would have some good assistant coaches as a platform to assemble their own team. Tandy and PDV have been excellent additions to the coaching staff and Blair must have learnt loads on his coaching journey so far.

Bits of it seem to be working, bits not.

Our defensive lineout in both games was much better than it has been, we certainly stopped Ireland in their tracks a few times when close to our line and that was always something we were very weak at. In the Ireland game, the lineout improved in the second half and I am not going to draw to many conclusions from Saturdays game. it has been our Achilles heal for some time though, think back to the WC quarter final! If Brown had nailed his throw, we would have gone through.

One of our problems unfortunately is that neither Brown, nor McInally are the greatest throwers and have always been prone to making mistakes under pressure. I do think that a lot of the lineout issues are down to that. You can coach something as well as you like bit a poor throw is going to scupper it every time and it is probably the hardest thing to address, a bit like a top golfer when they start to miss their putts.

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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:18 am

It is worth noting this public fallout is very, very rare to happen in professional sport, and even then there's not been many cases dissected in such detail in public. 

There will have been many instances where players and coaches don't get along and don't agree on things yet it is all dealt with behind closed doors, or at least they wait until everyone has retired!

It is a remarkable situation for everyone to be in and another embarrassing episode for the SRU.

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Post by SecretFly Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:33 am

RDW wrote:
There will have been many instances where players and coaches don't get along and don't agree on things yet it is all dealt with behind closed doors, or at least they wait until everyone has retired!


Which is boring if people were being honest.  The present is always more involving when it happens in the present.  Waiting for old has-beens to talk about what really went on in the dressing rooms 35 years previously..... nope, I don't care.  Time has clouded your memory.  You're sexing it up to sell a book.

This is raw real-time stuff, the best time to get it.  Indeed, as social media confessions and endless numbers of players telling tales on endless podcasts becomes more and more prominent, those retirement autobiographies are quickly becoming redundant.

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Post by tigertattie Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:19 pm

RDW wrote:It is worth noting this public fallout is very, very rare to happen in professional sport, and even then there's not been many cases dissected in such detail in public. 

There will have been many instances where players and coaches don't get along and don't agree on things yet it is all dealt with behind closed doors, or at least they wait until everyone has retired!

It is a remarkable situation for everyone to be in and another embarrassing episode for the SRU.

It's also a perfect storm.

If this was say Quade Cooper, the ARU would just come out and say he's not picked as he's not following the squad rules.

But its not, it's Finn.

There's two sides of this

1. People want Finn to play as he is exciting to watch (when on his game)
2. People want Toonie out

What we're seeing here is the majority of people are demanding to know what has gone on as they want an excuse to get rid of Toonie.

This is the wrong way to go about it. Get rid of Toonie for being rubbish, dont get rid of him because he's not selecting our "best" player who seemingly has turned his back on Scotland because he'snot allowed more than two drinks in the evening.

Oh I'm sure there is a deeper underlying conflrict with Toonie and Finn around personality or views or tactics, but you dont get rid of a coach because one primadona player doesnt get along with him.

#GoodRiddanceFinn
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Post by Tattie Scones RRN Tue 11 Feb 2020, 12:48 pm

EWT Spoons wrote:Can you explain then what walking away from the team and demanding things change to suit him is then?

To me that sounds like a child not getting their own way and having a tantrum (don't go!!)

Exactly here does he say he demanded anything?

He's basically said he feels the environment, style etc. etc isn't working.

Look at Scotland's results over the last 12 months. He's right. We've gone backwards and are in real danger of winning the wooden spoon this year. But don't worry, players are following the team rules and getting early nights.

Toonie has been poor. His support team decisions have also been poor (not just his fault).

As fans, we don't pay extortionate amounts of money to watch the senior players enforce positive ethics. We pay to watch success on the field and obtain hope that we can be challenging for titles.

We haven't even got hope now. Two games in, two losses, no tries scored, highest turnover rate conceded in decades, can't even catch our own lineouts etc. etc. etc.

We have (on paper) the best set of players we've had since the 90s - some might say the best ever, but we've achieved nothing.

The management have to accept liability for the completely ineffective methods of creating a team who can perform on a par with the other 6N teams. I have been in management for over 20 years and I've always had to deal with different characters. One size does not fit all. You have to adapt your approach depending on who you're dealing with.

This whole affair should have been dealt with behind closed doors and straight away. Toonie should never had given the choice to Finn about choosing to stay or whatever. Even if it had taken all night, a resolution should have been found.

We've lost our best player. I firmly believe that if Finn had played against Ireland, we'd have won that game hands down.

And for those saying he's not being backed by all the other players. How the hell do you know that? All you know is that other players aren't prepared to speak out publicly. I'll bet there's a 50/50 split who agree and don't with Finn/Toonie.

It's a complete fcking mess that the SRU have handled pi$$ poorly. Cr@p on the field and cr@p off it.

Can't wait for the Rome trip!

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Post by tigertattie Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:14 pm

Hmmm, not sure if it can be said we'd have won hands down if Finn had played vs Ireland.

We lost the Ireland game because our lineout was stinking and our breakdown play was schoolboy. Ireland simply took the ball off the forwards when we got close to their line and likewise we couldnt get them off the ball when they had posession.
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Post by EWT Spoons Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:30 pm

By basically saying the environment isn't working for him.

He didn't come and specifically and say he demanded it changed, but he said;

"People might not think it’s the right thing to do, but for me I believe it is. I believe we need change, it needs to move in a different route. We’re tracking along a road and it’s not been working for us, and it’s especially not been working for me."

To me that sounds very much like, change or I won't be back.

On treating people differently, yes I agree one size doesn't always fit all and you need to change your approach to them, but that doesn't mean changing the rules for one person. If you say to a team "you all have to be here for 8am, apart from Finn, because he doesn't fancy it" all that's going to do is have a negative affect on the team overall. You can't have one set of rules for one and another set of rules for everyone else, unless there is a very good reason for it.

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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:33 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51452035

A lot more detail from Townsend

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Post by EWT Spoons Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:43 pm

That's a hell of an interview

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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:46 pm

Pretty intensive questioning from Tom English, and fair play to Toonie he answers them very diplomatically. He had plenty opportunities to throw Finn under the bus and he chose not to.

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Post by EWT Spoons Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:48 pm

RDW wrote:Pretty intensive questioning from Tom English, and fair play to Toonie he answers them very diplomatically. He had plenty opportunities to throw Finn under the bus and he chose not to.

And other players too*.  He's clearly had a lot of media training

* he could have said they agree with him, ruining their relationship with Finn and vice versa with those who may disagree with Toonie.

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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:52 pm

Yeah agreed Spoons.

I don't think there's much more he could have done in the last week - personally I think he's handled the fallout well.

The debate about how it managed to get to this position and what's happened over the last year is a very different one though.

I genuinely have no idea what will happen next and what Finn does next. If he has any sense he'll keep quiet and watch how the rest of the tournament pans out and let it all calm down a bit, but that doesn't seem to be his style! I suspect the next stage is someone from the senior player group - i.e. Hogg - is going to need to say something about it. That's going to be a very difficult one.

What's very clear is the ball is firmly in Finn's court - Townsend isn't going to change and back down. If Finn isn't either than there's no chance of him playing while Townsend is still inc charge.

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Post by jimbopip Tue 11 Feb 2020, 1:55 pm

There ladeezandgennnelmen is Scotland's answer to Geoffrey Boycott. Hopefully without the domestic violence, though. What a straight bat Toonie wields. Tom English tries the full array of googlies, long hops , sliders and even a doozrah. Straight bat every time.
Interesting the Q&A layout, no rom for authorial guidance or bias, just Toonie's words. TE's decision or GT's?

Toonie lays it out quite clearly: this is how we do it, buy into it 100% or leave. But he also reveals how constantly self critical and engaged in constant search for improvement he is. His comments are more convincing and seem more honest than Finn's.

As I said previously Dodson won't want to pay Toonie off. Either Finn steps down from his high horse or he is history.
But as Toonie syas, somewhat ominously but also realistically, "things move on quickly in sport".

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Post by Eejit Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:14 pm

Got to say, there’s something hugely admirable about how Toony approaches the personnel management side of things. The way he’ll stand up for any of his players is something to be admired. A pity the coaching side seems to be lacking.

Hope this draws the line under this situation. It can’t be easy in camp for this to be dominating all the headlines.

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Post by TJ Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:29 pm

You see I am completely unconvinced by that Toonie interview - its what he doesn't say that is meaningful and what he refuses to say.

To mr that just buries him further. " its all Finn wa wa wa" " I am perfect"

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Post by tigertattie Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:32 pm

Look, some serious questions are coming up here.

Firstly. Jimbo is a man of learning and now affirms his poshness by talking about Cricket. How on earth is he a Glasgow fan?

(cue jimbo mentioning once and "future" champions)

Secondly, I dont think this interview will draw a line under things for the fans out for blood, but hopefully it draws a line under things for Toonie and he can move on.

The more that comes out, the more it looks like Finn is the one who causing the issue. Al lthe other players in the sqaud are "alligned" to the standards expected of them, Russell needs to follow suit. And I'm not talking about the extra pints in the evening, even if its the tactics and game plan, he needs to follow those set out as a team.

Or he puts his hands up, says he doesnt feel like playing kick chase so he is deselecting himself but wishes the team well.
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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:34 pm

TJ wrote:You see I am completely unconvinced by that Toonie interview - its what he doesn't say that is meaningful and what he refuses to say.

To me that just buries him further.  " its all Finn wa wa wa"  " I am perfect"
He doesn't say it as it would throw Finn under the bus and create a press sensation. It would also massively implicate the senior players group who made the decision and would ruin their relationship with Finn. He has been massively restrained in his responses and literally couldn't have said anything else without making things so much worse.

He also literally said that he's made mistakes and needed to improve things so no idea where you get the "I'm perfect" vibes from.


Townsend wrote:After the World Cup we asked every player for feedback. I knew I had to improve as a coach. It wasn't good enough. Some wrote back to me, some I sat down with and that helped create changes in the environment now.



Your extreme prejudice regarding Townsend is very much showing TJ!

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Post by BigGee Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:37 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51452035

The full Tom English interview with Toonie

Edit - Opps already posted I see


Last edited by BigGee on Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:38 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by LondonTiger Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:37 pm

Looking at both interviews together, Townsend comes across much better than Russell.

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Post by 123456789. Tue 11 Feb 2020, 2:45 pm

I'm pretty staunch on my position that they're both to blame, probably Russell the more so. However there are better coaches out there. There are not better Scottish fly-halves, or players for that matter.

There's two stories from Alex Ferguson's time at Manchester United that come to mind. One is Roy Keane talking about Cantona. Whilst they had pretty strict rules, Ferguson was soft on Cantona because he was crucial to the team. Bringing out bullsh*t excuses along the lines of "he's French, leave him be". The other was on Ronaldo. Every player was supposed to get back and defend but Cristiano Ronaldo did not. The players accepted it because the benefit they got in attack was that much greater. In short, successful teams need special athletes. For one reason or another they tend to have an impetuous streak. Great coaches need to be able to manage that.

The difference with Russell was that it was the players coming down on him. Take out the fact it was a high performance environment. Take out the Six Nations being around the corner. The players are his mates. He's lived with some of them. Played rugby with almost all of them over the last five years. If you're in the pub on a normal evening and one of your friends decides he's getting hammered when the rest of you aren't, you come away thinking he's a dick. Alternatively if some of your pals tell you not to have a drink when you felt you were entitled to one, the normal response is to go to your hotel room and have a whinge to your girlfriend. Instead he called his parents to come and get him. Not turning up at training the next day is really poor as well. In his interview he seems to have dispatched Ali Price to tell everyone it's between him and Townsend. When, up until this point, the people who were on the receiving end of his antics were the players, his friends. In short, when it comes to the flashpoint Russell was completely in the wrong.

Whilst there has to be allowances for special players, there also has to be a point when you decide that the long term impact on all the players from off field behaviour outweighs the benefit of him being on the pitch. It was Hogg's first time as captain, Hogg has played with Russell probably through age grades as well as at Glasgow and Scotland. By refusing to go along with what the senior players had decided Russell probably forced Townsend to choose between him and Hogg. There's only one winner there. What's more, Townsend could not afford to set a precedent. If Hastings had gone and scored at hat-trick in Ireland, Townsend couldn't afford him turning up to training on the Monday with a four-pack.

My issue with Townsend stems from his handling of the affair in a wider sense. It doesn't seem that the communication between them was great and Townsend has to take the responsibility. Russell said that there were issues going back over a year. That's something that has been suggested in several articles in that time and in that, now infamous, post Twickenham interview. Unfortunately, especially nowadays, massaging egos and managing personalities is part of a coach's job. Either Russell is lying or Townsend has barely even attempted that.

There's something fundamentally disingenuous about sending a player to a psychologist, inferring you're worried about their state of mind or drinking, and then giving them the silent treatment. I'm not sure we can take much from the other players' silence. Of the fifteen who started on saturday, thirteen were based in Scotland. Hogg was one of the others. All of these players have a vested interest in keeping quiet and not voicing discontent wider than simply being selected from Scotland. There have been murmurings of discontent from the camp with regard to the World Cup.

From my experience, admittedly not anywhere remotely like an international squad, if you treat people like children they act out like children. There is a balance between curfews and booze bans on one hand and taking the lads out to kill rabbits on the other. But that's something he should have found out by gaining more experience elsewhere before he leveraged Cotter out of a job. The circumstances of his getting the job mean he should be judged not against Scotland's historical standard but against where we were with Cotter in 2017. We have fallen way below that level. We didn't need to have an interview with Finn Russell to see that the tactics aren't working and don't suit the players.

In some respects it comes down to JFK's old adage that "there are few, if any, issues where all the truth and all the right and all the angels are on one side". Unfortunately there are no angels in this and both are pillocks. In an ideal world we'd do without both. We do sort of need Russell to play though because he's very good. Irrespective of Russell I think it's becoming increasingly clear that Townsend's time is up, or should be up, Dodson allowing. If the happy corollary of that is that we get a Scott Robertson in and our best player back in the fold then all the better for it.

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Post by BigGee Tue 11 Feb 2020, 3:02 pm

I think Toonie has come out of this with massive credit. I just hope his team, who he always backs up and takes the flack for, returns him the favour in some of the games coming up.

He deserves it!

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Post by bsando Tue 11 Feb 2020, 4:15 pm

Toonie and his success or failure this 6N doesn’t deserve to be linked to Russell’s antics. Russell has made a hash of this and he’s clearly more interested in his club than Scotland at the moment.

As far as Toonie goes I am just worried about Scotland’s slump and the end goal moving forwards. We seem to be stuck in cruise control despite the coaches and players trying everything they can to turn things around.

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Post by 123456789. Tue 11 Feb 2020, 4:29 pm

My real and genuine fear is that we have finally got a group of really talented, gifted rugby players at the one time. MacInally, Nel, Fagerson, the Grays, Skinner, Gilchrist, Watson, Bradbury, Ritchie, Horne, Price, Russell, Hastings, Johnson, Hutchinson, Jones, Maitland, Hogg, Graham, Kinghorn. Seymour, Dunbar, Laidlaw and Barclay have come and gone. These are really, really good rugby players. A step up on what we had before. Each one of those players would very much so be in the conversation for our rivals. A fair number of them should be in Lions contention. We had that brief period from 2016-2018 when it seemed those players were on track to win things, to compete for Six Nations. In 2017 and in 2018, we had fourth round Six Nations deciders. Ultimately they were away from home and we flunked them. But they were supposed to be the near misses the players spoke about in their autobiography. The travails on the way to the promised land. In the last eighteen months we have gone backwards at a rate of knots, we are in wooden spoon territory again. The years of building are unravelling. All the more worrying the production line that seemed to be spluttering into action seems to have stalled again. Our u20s will be playing the rugby powerhouses of Spain, Uruguay and Hong Kong while Georgia, Italy and Japan play the big boys. Scottish rugby seemed to have it sorted for once and now we're back in the realms of psychodrama.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Tue 11 Feb 2020, 4:35 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Looking at both interviews together, Townsend comes across much better than Russell.

Agreed. Russell doesn't come out of this well at all. There's a part of me that thinks good riddance, despite my huge reservations over Toonie's coaching abilities. Such a shame that he's so talented. Why can't Chris Harris throw a strop??

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Post by RDW Tue 11 Feb 2020, 5:14 pm

Hopefully those advising Finn (and hopefully he actually has good advisers, not Parisian party girls and boys telling him he's amazing) they'll tell him the wind is very much against him just now and he'd be much better of staying quiet at the very least, or release his own statement saying for the good of the team he's going to stand down from the rest of the 6N as he realises how much distraction this is causing, and will be making no further comments kind of thing.

Him and Townsend will hopefully then agree to sort it out (or otherwise) behind closed doors after the 6N.

Is it too early to start referring to it as #FRexit?

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Post by BigGee Tue 11 Feb 2020, 5:28 pm

Maybr that is what he needs. Have s break from international rugby and see if he misses it.

Scotland in the meantime can get on with their matches.

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Post by BigGee Tue 11 Feb 2020, 5:44 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51467670

and just in case anyone thought it would be different under Cockers!

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Post by NeilyBroon Tue 11 Feb 2020, 6:07 pm

Its frexit literally seeing as he left for France!

Look I'm definitely with numbers here that its a tale of two similar egos over a prolonged period. If Toonie was bringing us success and our players were matching their club form, fair enough. Whilst I do not advocate Finns sh*t fit, I do see the truth in what he's saying, just as I see the truth in Toonie saying he's trying to change (at least his coaching style).

If Finn's not willing to play and wants to p*ss about thats on him. Equally if Toonie has created an environment that has lead to multiple problems, this one aside, thats on him. Neither are currently welcome for me.
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Post by George Carlin Tue 11 Feb 2020, 6:21 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:Nah it'll be hutch so Toonie can still fit the hardest working centre in the world to his plans.
Richie Vernon's coming out of retirement? At last, some good news.
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Post by NeilyBroon Tue 11 Feb 2020, 6:54 pm

Nah richie v is coming in to cover the second row and fly half
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Post by tigertattie Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:22 pm

Ritchie Vernon had a tag team fight where he and his partner, superman, faced Maro Itoje and Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris used Jedi mind control to make Superman join him and Itoje in a 3 vs 1 scrap to the death vs Vernon.

Vernon still won
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Post by SecretFly Tue 11 Feb 2020, 11:30 pm

tigertattie wrote:

Chuck Norris used Jedi mind control to make Superman join him and Itoje in a 3 vs 1 scrap to the death vs Vernon.


Christ, was I glad all that came after 3.  Close shave.....

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Post by bsando Wed 12 Feb 2020, 6:59 am

https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

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Post by RDW Wed 12 Feb 2020, 7:36 am

bsando wrote:https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

I wonder if Hodge has been helping out with Scotland lately?

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 12 Feb 2020, 7:40 am

tigertattie wrote:Ritchie Vernon had a tag team fight where he and his partner, superman, faced Maro Itoje and Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris used Jedi mind control to make Superman join him and Itoje in a 3 vs 1 scrap to the death vs Vernon.

Vernon still won

Believable up until the bit Scotland won something

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Post by RDW Wed 12 Feb 2020, 8:43 am

Gooseberry wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Ritchie Vernon had a tag team fight where he and his partner, superman, faced Maro Itoje and Chuck Norris.

Chuck Norris used Jedi mind control to make Superman join him and Itoje in a 3 vs 1 scrap to the death vs Vernon.

Vernon still won

Believable up until the bit Scotland won something
Harsh!

But fair...  Sad

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:11 am

Hodge is the master of killing attack. I wouldnt be surprised if hes been advising.

Ye Gods! When will we just string together some good seasons??
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Post by bsando Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:11 am

RDW wrote:
bsando wrote:https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

I wonder if Hodge has been helping out with Scotland lately?

God I hope not!

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:19 am

BigGee wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51467670

and just in case anyone thought it would be different under Cockers!

Cockers would have been far less diplomatic. The only question is whether Russell would have crossed Cockers in the first place!

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Post by SecretFly Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:40 am

bsando wrote:https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

It's not only Scotland though that gets progressively more conservative about how to go forward the closer they actually get to the try line.  It's a general conundrum that I suppose keeps rugby interesting as it tends to allow a degree of competitiveness that might not be there if players could work out a solution to that constant mental block.
Many teams show this same pattern to the extent that it just has to be a natural process within the human brain to fixate so much on that simple target line that doubts, delays, reticence and errors begin to mount up the closer you get to it - there's the line right there!  Get over it!  Oh God!  Please don't let me make an eejit of myself here!
Anyway, I like a little psychology and I think my coaching technique would match that expressed by some New Zealand player or coach some time ago.  He said that the players imagine the dead ball area to be much longer/deeper than they tend to be in reality.  The inference I took from it though I don't recall him directly saying so, is that obviously the mind of the players has a target set deeper than the tryline itself - there would therefore be a slight but meaningfully effective lack of tension around the line itself, which theoretically allows players the freedom to be a little more sure in steps needed to push on maybe two, three or four metres behind the tryline itself.
It's psychological.  Some teams get it and I'm sure work to it.  Other teams don't seem to think those little psychological exercises are important.  So I hope Farrell and not Townsend is listening! Wink

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Post by SecretFly Wed 12 Feb 2020, 9:42 am

funnyExiledScot wrote:
BigGee wrote:https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51467670

and just in case anyone thought it would be different under Cockers!

Cockers would have been far less diplomatic. The only question is whether Russell would have crossed Cockers in the first place!

Why would he? He'd have a WC and maybe three 6N winners medals in his keyabinut by now! Whistle Run

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Post by tigertattie Wed 12 Feb 2020, 11:15 am

SecretFly wrote:
bsando wrote:https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

It's not only Scotland though that gets progressively more conservative about how to go forward the closer they actually get to the try line.  It's a general conundrum that I suppose keeps rugby interesting as it tends to allow a degree of competitiveness that might not be there if players could work out a solution to that constant mental block.
Many teams show this same pattern to the extent that it just has to be a natural process within the human brain to fixate so much on that simple target line that doubts, delays, reticence and errors begin to mount up the closer you get to it - there's the line right there!  Get over it!  Oh God!  Please don't let me make an eejit of myself here!
Anyway, I like a little psychology and I think my coaching technique would match that expressed by some New Zealand player or coach some time ago.  He said that the players imagine the dead ball area to be much longer/deeper than they tend to be in reality.  The inference I took from it though I don't recall him directly saying so, is that obviously the mind of the players has a target set deeper than the tryline itself - there would therefore be a slight but meaningfully effective lack of tension around the line itself, which theoretically allows players the freedom to be a little more sure in steps needed to push on maybe two, three or four metres behind the tryline itself.
It's psychological.  Some teams get it and I'm sure work to it.  Other teams don't seem to think those little psychological exercises are important.  So I hope Farrell and not Townsend is listening! Wink

Deep

My view on it is slightly different. Firstly, players do get white line fever, but my take on it is that this is caused by the defence of the other team.

Take Scotland for example. They can do a variety of pick and go's, one out passes to a pod of forwards, a simple backs move, and they will get over the gain line time and time again between the 22s. They do this because the opposition has to be onside (mostly) and there is room for Scotland to move and make headway. It's like "moving the chains" in American football.

As you get near the try line though, the opposition really up their defensive efforts. They also don’t need to sit as deep so they can pretty much hit the man as he gets the ball and stop him in his tracks.

Breaking this down, I'd say the attacking team have a 100% focus on getting over the gain line each time the attack no matter where they are on the pitch. The defenders though probably only have a 90% focus on stopping them getting over the gain line between the 22s. But as soon as you are defending in your own 22, this goes up to the full 100%.

The trick for the attacking side is patience. You don’t need to score with the next phase. Just keep ploughing away and you'll get there. Importantly, watch our for counter rucking or turnovers as the defence will be right on top of you if you go into contact so you need to have your mates there to help you out. Where most teams mess up is where one or two players think they can go for that tiny little bit space as soon as they see it and get isolated and turned over.

There's also a fine balance between just running into a brick wall and varying your play to try something.

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Post by RDW Wed 12 Feb 2020, 11:22 am

So moving on from FRexit (until the next interview comes out), what are people's thoughts about the Italy game? As usual we should beat them and reasonably well, but it's never that straight forward against them!

Selection wise I hope to see some changes - nothing major but freshening the team up a bit, plus coping with the injuries.

Front row I would drop Brown - he's had two chances to make the shirt his own and has failed to take it IMO. The lineout has been bad both games, which isn't all his fault, but his throwing has been part of it. I would bring back McInally especially with the weather likely to be better.

Second row I would bring GG straight in as a swap for Gray for a like-for-like replacement. Skinner on the bench.

Back row I would reverse the decision to start Bradbury.

Halfbacks I'd love to see Horne given a start to play with pace which we know Italy struggle with.

Centres I'd keep the same but bring Scott onto the bench for later stage impact.

Back 3 keep the same unless Darcy has recovered.

Team

1 Sutherland
2 McInally
3 Fagerson
4 Gilchrist
5 Cummings
6 Ritchie
7 Watson
8 Haining

9 Horne
10 Hastings
11 Kinghorn
12 Johnson
13 Jones
14 Maitland
15 Hogg

Subs - Dell, Brown, Berghan, Skinner, Bradbury, Price, Hutchinson, Scott


My only doubt being whether we could do with Weir on the bench given how our previous games in Italy have gone! I'd also like to see Hutchinson get proper gametime but can't see SJ being dropped.

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Post by lostinwales Wed 12 Feb 2020, 11:35 am

tigertattie wrote:
SecretFly wrote:
bsando wrote:https://youtu.be/sKSKl78tWBk?t=350

SquidgeRugby is also finding Scotland's attack very frustrating this 6N as well.

It's not only Scotland though that gets progressively more conservative about how to go forward the closer they actually get to the try line.  It's a general conundrum that I suppose keeps rugby interesting as it tends to allow a degree of competitiveness that might not be there if players could work out a solution to that constant mental block.
Many teams show this same pattern to the extent that it just has to be a natural process within the human brain to fixate so much on that simple target line that doubts, delays, reticence and errors begin to mount up the closer you get to it - there's the line right there!  Get over it!  Oh God!  Please don't let me make an eejit of myself here!
Anyway, I like a little psychology and I think my coaching technique would match that expressed by some New Zealand player or coach some time ago.  He said that the players imagine the dead ball area to be much longer/deeper than they tend to be in reality.  The inference I took from it though I don't recall him directly saying so, is that obviously the mind of the players has a target set deeper than the tryline itself - there would therefore be a slight but meaningfully effective lack of tension around the line itself, which theoretically allows players the freedom to be a little more sure in steps needed to push on maybe two, three or four metres behind the tryline itself.
It's psychological.  Some teams get it and I'm sure work to it.  Other teams don't seem to think those little psychological exercises are important.  So I hope Farrell and not Townsend is listening! Wink

Deep

My view on it is slightly different. Firstly, players do get white line fever, but my take on it is that this is caused by the defence of the other team.

Take Scotland for example. They can do a variety of pick and go's, one out passes to a pod of forwards, a simple backs move, and they will get over the gain line time and time again between the 22s. They do this because the opposition has to be onside (mostly) and there is room for Scotland to move and make headway. It's like "moving the chains" in American football.

As you get near the try line though, the opposition really up their defensive efforts. They also don’t need to sit as deep so they can pretty much hit the man as he gets the ball and stop him in his tracks.

Breaking this down, I'd say the attacking team have a 100% focus on getting over the gain line each time the attack no matter where they are on the pitch. The defenders though probably only have a 90% focus on stopping them getting over the gain line between the 22s. But as soon as you are defending in your own 22, this goes up to the full 100%.

The trick for the attacking side is patience. You don’t need to score with the next phase. Just keep ploughing away and you'll get there. Importantly, watch our for counter rucking or turnovers as the defence will be right on top of you if you go into contact so you need to have your mates there to help you out. Where most teams mess up is where one or two players think they can go for that tiny little bit space as soon as they see it and get isolated and turned over.

There's also a fine balance between just running into a brick wall and varying your play to try something.


From an English point of view (sorry) our try was a real case in point. We didn't looked rushed at all and seem to have been able to exploit a mismatch. Unfortunately we never looked as composed vs France despite getting into similar situations (no tries through that route) and it was the same for Scotland on Saturday.

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Post by Tramptastic Wed 12 Feb 2020, 12:25 pm

RDW - Like the team, I'd be keen to get Alex Craig capped and have a look at him, starting or off the bench just to see what he's got. Skinner can wait, there's no hope for us winning the tournament so lets not rush him back.

I'd also be inclined to give both Hutchinson and Scott a start just to see how they get on. But then giving Johnson and Jones a chance to create something against Italy might be worth it.

What's the goals for the rest of the tournament? Win on the road against Italy and the home game against France (eep)?

If we managed to claw 2 more wins out of this tournament I'd say keep townsend. If it's an unconvincing win against Italy I'd lean towards a change. However I'm also aware of a new forwards coach coming in post-tournament so maybe hang on until thats sorted?

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Post by RDW Wed 12 Feb 2020, 12:38 pm

I said before the tournament 2 wins should be the minimum IMO, and they were always most likely to come from Italy and France. As such nothing has changed in that respect, we're just very frustrated because A) we blew so many chances to actually win the first two games and B) FRexit has messed everything up.

If we can manage the two wins and put in a good performance against a strong Wales team away, that shows some level of progress, I'd be happy. Especially after the start we've had and all the disruption!

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Post by BigGee Wed 12 Feb 2020, 1:23 pm

There was a suggestion that Shuggy got injured in the England game, maybe Hutch will come in to replace him if that was the case. I think he deserves some game time and Italy is a game we might be able to experiment with a little bit.

I can see Skinner starting now Gray is injured and maybe Craig on the bench as well. Matt fagerson might come back into the back row mix as well, assuming he is fit now, we will know more if he plays for Glasgow on Friday.

I think there might be a few changes actually, not full tombola maybe, but certainly a few.

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Post by 123456789. Wed 12 Feb 2020, 3:21 pm

I think we need a win and a big one at that in Italy. Irrespective of You Know Who, I think it should be two wins or bust for Toonie in this Six Nations. To go into that block of matches against France and Wales with a hope we need a confident group of players. To have that confidence we need a big win against Italy.

I've been beating the drum for a long time however I do think the time has come to have Hutchinson at 12 and Jones at 13. We haven't scored yet this Six Nations. It's like watching the good old Andy Robinson days at points. There's lots of huff and puff. We're very good in between the red zones. In the red zones we are horrendous. When we got to England and Ireland's tryline, the expectation was that we would not score. When they got to our tryline I can't imagine that anyone believed that they probably would not score. I don't think that it's a coincidence that our improvements in attack around 2015 coincided with Finn Russell becoming a more experienced international player. Hastings is not there yet, this is his first Six Nations. He will get there. Hutchinson is a better distributor than Johnson and would help our creativity in the red zone. The amount of times you see him being a second focal point for attack for Northampton is phenomenal. If we can get him into that role with Jones coming off of him and Hogg as an alternative distributor out the back then we may see a better conversion rate. We've been using Johnson as a battering ram, it's been relatively effective between the 22s. I do think defences are better for a range of reasons on the line. Urgency and desperation. The way they set up as well and the numbers they put into the breakdown. There's also the psychological white line fever and the desire to be the tryscorer. Whatever the reasons you need to be a tad better in the red zone. Your battering rams need to be bigger, perhaps than Johnson is. Your attack needs to be more accurate and technically adept, perhaps like Hutchinson is. We should have enough to spare against Italy to be able to try it.


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Post by bsando Wed 12 Feb 2020, 3:47 pm

It would be a good moment to see Hutchinson start at 12 however Johnson hasn’t really done much wrong. I guess it just depends how the coaches want to lineup against Italy.

Agree with numbers in that there needs to be a ruthlessness about Scotland if they want to win this one. Both starts (Ireland and England) were fantastic but didn’t result in tries. Let’s hope they start the same way and get a few scores on the board early.

I’d probably go with

Sutherland
McInally
Nel
Cummings
Toolis
Skinner
Ritchie
Haining
Horne
Hastings
Maitland
Johnson
Jones
Steyn
Hogg

Bench: Turner, Dell, Fagerson, Gilchrist, Watson, Price, Hutchinson, Kinghorn



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Post by funnyExiledScot Thu 13 Feb 2020, 7:40 am

BigGee wrote:There was a suggestion that Shuggy got injured in the England game, maybe Hutch will come in to replace him if that was the case. I think he deserves some game time and Italy is a game we might be able to experiment with a little bit.

I can see Skinner starting now Gray is injured and maybe Craig on the bench as well. Matt fagerson might come back into the back row mix as well, assuming he is fit now, we will know more if he plays for Glasgow on Friday.

I think there might be a few changes actually, not full tombola maybe, but certainly a few.

Well Hutch would be the correct choice, but I think Toonie has made it clear that he sees Chris Harris as the superior player. He's the one coming off the bench for impact. Utterly inexplicable.

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