Scotland 6 Nations Thread

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Post by Highland Shaun on Sun Dec 01, 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 123456789. on Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:45 pm

Absolutely, the one that it's ringing a bell with for me is 2010. In 2010 we lost to France, the eventual winners, by 9, to Wales by 7 (in a ridiculous game that we should have won comfortably), lost to Italy by 7, drew with England and beat Ireland. At the time I thought we were the better team in all those games. The Killer Bs looked to be the back row of the future. We never kicked on, the following year we won one game. Then we were out of the world cup and then the wooden spoon came in 2012.

There are similarities. Parks played very well in that tournament but he didn't have Russell's ability to draw a rabbit out the hat. The benefit of that ability is not just that it can create great tries but the doubt it causes the defence. Hastings is similar in that regard. The difference being that Parks had reached his peak as a player, whereas Hastings is just getting started.

The most worrying similarity is that the matches are there on a plate for someone to grasp it. We are doing the hard work between the 22s. There is a lack of confidence is our defence of the tryline that seems to make a breakthrough inevitable. There is a lack of confidence in their 22 that seems to be causing the players to clam up. Italy may prove an opportunity to blow away the cobwebs in that regard. Or it could be that the players need a clean break with the world cup and everything else that's happened. I'm fairly firmly in the Toonie out camp, I don't think results have been good enough and I don't think he should be afforded much leeway given the way Cotter was dumped. But I'd be happy to be won round. If we can add to the steel we have shown in the last two games by blowing away Italy then I think France and Wales should be seen as a a two week audition to keep the job.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:57 pm

Agree. I will back Toonie if he disproves me. Although if he leaves it looks pretty bleak too. I think I'm more the "missing the vern years, what the hell were the SRU thinking" camp. Its hard to see who would improve our current scenario. Maybe EJ would fancy a job North of the border just to annoy as many people as possible. Hard to see beyond the SRU promoting cockers though, especially if edinburgh end up in the final this year.
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Post by tigertattie on Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:08 pm

Cockers needs left at Edinburgh to develop that place into a long term successful club.

I'd say we need someone to come into the Scotland role till after the next world cup and then Cockers can move up. The problem with that though is if someone comes in and does well, we could be looking at another case of punting a decent coach just to make room for someone moving up internally.

For me the only option therefore is Jim Mallinder. He becomes a caretaker coach basically to after the world cup and then he can move up to his performance director role.

It just shows again how stupid the decision was to punt Cotter. He should have been given to after the 2019 world cup. If he did a great job and he wanted to stay, let him stay again, if Toonie started greetin about getting the job, he could have wandered off, coached Fiji or someone for a few years, then came back to Scotland with some international coaching experience.

Now we're just staring at a black hole
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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:14 pm

Yeah but I think the SRU will see cockers as a cheaper and quicker option. Success with Edinburgh this season, even if they arent the finished picture would vindicate that view, with Dodson claiming it as his masterstroke all along. I dont think they even know what the picture is beyond next week sometimes.
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Post by BigGee on Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:53 pm

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/clive-woodward-calls-on-the-sru-to-take-drastic-action-against-finn-russell

Clive Woodward not holding back!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:42 pm

As soon as the name clive woodward crops up i switch off. He shouts like he's still relevant nearly 20 years on yet comes out with the same garbage about how he would do things better yet has a career littered with failures outside of the England success. I'd sooner listen to a Scott Johnson article, at least he has charisma.

At least when Eddie Jones talked about Scotland he seemed to actually understand the problems associated with our game.
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Post by 123456789. on Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:29 pm

I don't think it's time to look at Cockerill with Scotland yet. We don't want to make the same mistake we made with Andy Robinson.
The Scotland team is only as good as it's constituent sides. We need Edinburgh and Glasgow to be good rugby environments so that the Scotland players are looked after and the young players are able to come into environments where they aren't having to change the world. Edinburgh are finally turning a corner with Cockerill and are well on track to winning something. Let him be for a few more years and he'll build a long term culture for Edinburgh, probably grabbing some silverware along the way.
Coming from Leicester, he's a proper rugby club man. Edinburgh have always suffered by seeming a somewhat manufactured entity, playing in a stadium far too large for them. Glasgow's success has been in defining itself outwith the SRU where Edinburgh seem an arm of the organisation. Getting their own stadium helped Glasgow no end, and made them a club rather than a franchise. Edinburgh need to make sure their
own transition successful by bringing success to their new home. Fans come for the success and stay for the culture. If Mini Murrayfield (soon to be re-branded the 'CVC-BT Dodson Colosseum')  is to be the start of something rather than an expensive red herring it needs the success to go with it. Cockerill can help that.
Andy Robinson had Edinburgh motoring along nicely in 2009, coming 4th and then 2nd. When he left Edinburgh they went to merde and Scotland did fairly soon after. If he'd been left in post to build who knows what he could have done. There were good players at Edinburgh then; Paterson, Rennie, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cairns and of course Godman. There are differences, I'd say Robinson's period from 2007-2010 were probably amongst his most successful as a head coach. Whereas Cockerill has coached Leicester to multiple Premiership wins and even more finals, as well as a Heineken cup final and a Top14 final with Toulon. I think he's doing too good a job at Edinburgh to shift him as of yet, especially at this juncture in Edinburgh's history.
On Townsend replacements, if the time comes. I think we too often underestimate how big the Scotland job is in what remains a relatively small sport. If you want to coach on the biggest stage against the best teams in front of the largest crowds then international rugby remains the only game in town. Ten International teams dominate the rugby calendar. Of them four have only hire head coaches from their own country. So if you're a New Zealander looking to coach the big occasions you know that the South Africa, French and Argentina jobs will never be yours. That leaves seven jobs that could ever possibly be for you. The job at home is taken, Foster will see New Zealand through to the next world cup unless they're consistently poor in the next couple of years. Jones, Pivac and Farrell are pretty ensconced. The Scotland job is a big deal in rugby and will remain so as long as we hold our place in the November series and the Six Nations. Money wise, it's there. Dodson takes enough for us to know that. There's more coming in, what's left of Scottish rugby's soul, having largely been sold to BT, is being tarted up and told to look nice for CVC. So Scotland have the finances and the occasions to go after the best names in coaching. I'd be enquiring after Scott Robertson at the Crusaders, offering Jamie Joseph the penthouse suite in Edinburgh Castle, offering to build Rassie Erasmus a new castle, and even asking Eddie Jones to come in if he's prepared to undergo a form of personality transplant outside of rugby. If Towsend goes we need to be ambitious and decisive. Cotter took too long to arrive, leaving us in Scott Johnson's perjury. We need a name and a talent equivalent to Cotter arriving as quickly as Gregor Townsend presumably did when he was told he'd get to play.

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Post by TJ on Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:31 pm

Would Cockers want the scotland job? Somehow I doubt it. I think he is enjoying life at Edinburgh and I really think we need an outsider - as before I would be looking to the super 15 and a young ambitious coach to take us to the next WC ( they would then hopefully have made scotland world beaters so could get a top job!)

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Post by Highland Shaun on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:29 pm

Daily Fail reporting that Townsend will be sacked at the end of the 6N if we lose to Italy.

I don't think that story would have taken a lot of investigation...

RDW, can you post a link to the article as I can't find it at all.

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Post by SecretFly on Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:49 pm

Highland Shaun wrote:Daily Fail reporting that Townsend will be sacked at the end of the 6N if we lose to Italy.


Well, if true and from a genuine hombre in the know, what a poison chalice doth be placed before Townsend...... AND his players.

Scotland, you'd assume, will have too much for Italy and so Townsend would appear safe - but then you think of that Italian game against France where whilst being beaten convincingly enough in the end by a Championship favourite, they did manage to look quite slick and inventive at times.

But on to the Scottish players.  It is said on these pages that it appears the players have taken the side of Townsend in the affair of Russell.  If Townsend has an SRU ultimatum hanging over the Italian game, then his players now have a chance to prove they are on his side.  Or might they be in a mood for change themselves and are now offered the very instrument to effect it?

Shakespearean, is wot it is! Scotland 6 Nations Thread - Page 18 1347041234

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Post by Highland Shaun on Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:03 pm

He should not be "safe" if we beat Italy, 2 wins in 10 in last 2 6N campaigns on top of a Poopie world cup should be enough to get him sacked too!!

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Post by sensisball on Mon Feb 17, 2020 11:13 pm

Except that great uncle Dodo is Toonie's guide and shield. In Dodson's world of spreadsheets the fact we are going backwards is neither here nor there as long as we don't finish last and "competitive defeats" show that in some parallel universe we are on course to beat the AB,'s in the summer. Trust me as long as we beat Italy, Townsend is golden for the next year.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:07 am

I'd say if you rate a coach's performance out of 10:
10 being say Rassie Erasmus on the day after the world cup final
7 being Vern Cotter in 2017 prior to the England game (or to be fair Townsend post Calcutta Cup 2018)
4 being the generally accepted sacking point

Under that crude view of performance, I'd say given the extent to which Dodson has tied himself to Townsend. Lineen being moved out of his job to make way for him and then Cotter. Townsend will have to hit at least 2/10 to get the chop, or 20% worse than anyone else.
Currently he's on 4 exactly. A poor Six Nations, compounded by a dreadful World Cup and two defeats from two in the current Six Nations. Lose to Wales and France and he hits a 3. Good enough for anyone else to get the chop but not our Toonie. Lose to Italy and he smacks a big fat 1, untenable even for Papa Dodson. Beat France and Wales back to back, he's on a 5. Off the life support system in the fans eyes but still precarious.

Andy Robinson survived til November 2012 having won one in 2011, knocked out the group stage in the World Cup and lost to Italy. But we have better players now than we did then. Robinson did not take over a team in third place and on the up. We got knocked out the world cup by better teams. Italy were actually a genuine rugby team rather than 15 strangers who seem to have won some form of raffle to play in the Six Nations. Robinson should have been long gone before we even got to that Tonga game. I can't think in the history of the traditional 8 teams of a coach that has lasted over a year after a group stage knockout. Robinson went in 2012, O'Sullivan in 2008, Jenkins in 2007.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:19 am

I dont think cockers would say no, he has publicly stated he wants to coach at international level and I think its just the kind of decision the SRU would make at the moment. Johnson, for all his foibles was good at finding external talent and tempting them in, allegedly being a key player in VCs recruitment. Since then the SRU seems to have gone back to the bad old days recruitment-wise, remaining fairly insular and not removing deadwood coaches like hodge or shifting ineffective ones like wilson.
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Post by EWT Spoons on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:30 am

Highland Shaun wrote:Daily Fail reporting that Townsend will be sacked at the end of the 6N if we lose to Italy.

I don't think that story would have taken a lot of investigation...

RDW, can you post a link to the article as I can't find it at all.

Probably just worth calling out that it's an opinion piece by Rob Robertson, nothing more than that. He's not saying Toonie will get sacked, just his opinion that he might, should we lose to Italy.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:47 am

NeilyBroon wrote:I dont think cockers would say no, he has publicly stated he wants to coach at international level and I think its just the kind of decision the SRU would make at the moment. Johnson, for all his foibles was good at finding external talent and tempting them in, allegedly being a key player in VCs recruitment. Since then the SRU seems to have gone back to the bad old days recruitment-wise, remaining fairly insular and not removing deadwood coaches like hodge or shifting ineffective ones like wilson.

Has he? Genuine question, because i haven't seen anything from him even hinting he'd fancy an international role. Not saying he wouldn't just I haven't seen anything from him. The only international role he's been linked with was England when Jones had a bad patch and his response was that he didn't think they would want him, other than that I can't say I've seen him talk about his desire to coach internationally.

Either way, I actually don't know if he'd fancy it. From the Edinburgh ST events where he and the players have talked, he's constantly spoken about how settled he and his family are up here, with him moving his kids to a school in Edinburgh etc. Now obviously there is no need to move if he became Scotland head coach, but his reign is likely to be far shorter with Scotland that it is with Edinburgh. If he wanted to, he could be Edinburgh coach for many many years, whereas a poor year or two with Scotland and there is every chance you could be out the door. Plus he's mentioned how much he enjoys being on the training ground, day to day, which is not something he'd get at international level.

He'd probably do a good job with Scotland, as his hard to beat philosophy is easier to learn in a short space of time, rather than some fancy elaborate playbook.

With all that said, if offered the job, there is a very real chance he'd take it, given he'll want to test himself at the highest level he can (i assume), but I don't think it's something he's actively pursuing.

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Post by RDW on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:59 am

EWT Spoons wrote:
NeilyBroon wrote:I dont think cockers would say no, he has publicly stated he wants to coach at international level and I think its just the kind of decision the SRU would make at the moment. Johnson, for all his foibles was good at finding external talent and tempting them in, allegedly being a key player in VCs recruitment. Since then the SRU seems to have gone back to the bad old days recruitment-wise, remaining fairly insular and not removing deadwood coaches like hodge or shifting ineffective ones like wilson.

Has he?  Genuine question, because i haven't seen anything from him even hinting he'd fancy an international role.  Not saying he wouldn't just I haven't seen anything from him.  The only international role he's been linked with was England when Jones had a bad patch and his response was that he didn't think they would want him, other than that I can't say I've seen him talk about his desire to coach internationally.

Either way, I actually don't know if he'd fancy it.  From the Edinburgh ST events where he and the players have talked, he's constantly spoken about how settled he and his family are up here, with him moving his kids to a school in Edinburgh etc.  Now obviously there is no need to move if he became Scotland head coach, but his reign is likely to be far shorter with Scotland that it is with Edinburgh.  If he wanted to, he could be Edinburgh coach for many many years, whereas a poor year or two with Scotland and there is every chance you could be out the door.  Plus he's mentioned how much he enjoys being on the training ground, day to day, which is not something he'd get at international level.

He'd probably do a good job with Scotland, as his hard to beat philosophy is easier to learn in a short space of time, rather than some fancy elaborate playbook.  

With all that said, if offered the job, there is a very real chance he'd take it, given he'll want to test himself at the highest level he can (i assume), but I don't think it's something he's actively pursuing.

Agree with this about Cockers - he seems pretty settled and happy at Edinburgh, both professionally and in terms of family life.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:05 pm

I read through an article by Cockerill when he turned up at Edinburgh, made me even more certain he should be left where he is through the transition to the new stadium.
Cockerill wrote:
"It's just trying to find something that you can pin the culture of the place on. We've got a lovely castle but there haven't been any battles there! First of all, for me, it's about the history of the club -- who has played the most games? How many centurions do we have? Is there a players' tie? Do we recognise 50 caps or 100 caps for the club? Nobody really knows.

"From 1872 until now, there is a s--t-load of history and it is missing somewhere, in a cupboard. I don't know where it is, but we've got to go and find it. I don't know how many internationals or Lions Edinburgh has produced but it is a lot. There is not a board anywhere that says anything. We should have that and celebrate that."


I think too often in rugby clubs and unions get together and they get all the tangibles right. They work out the population of a given area, they look at the potential playing pool, get a coach, hire a ground, find a tournament and voíla, you have a rugby club. It's the intangibles that they haven't been getting right. It's no surprise that it's the Irish provinces, and by extension, Irish rugby, have found the transition the easiest. They had four provinces ready made for International rugby with better infrastructure and more accessible heritage than Scotland's districts. The intangibles aren't as simple as having a history of success or even a history at all, it's about creating something that fans can latch onto. Glasgow and Saracens are the prime examples of that.
Edinburgh have got the intangibles wrong for a long time. Some of that is out of their control. Edinburgh seems to have a lot of rugby grounds just too small and a couple of football grounds just too big. So Murrayfield was the obvious, cheapest option. A stadium that could never truly be theirs and could never really intimidate while it was all but empty. The decade starting with Edinburgh going private meant they lost ground they've never been able to recoup. Where Glasgow have club legends like Al Kellock to build a club around and cult figures like Bernie Stortoni Edinburgh have had a series of journeymen.
Right now they have a real opportunity. There's a coach who knows what he's doing, who has a history of success. They have a core group of home grown players, guys like McInally, Gilchrist, Watson, Ritchie, Bradbury, Kinghorn and Graham. This new stadium should be a new start to an era of success and one that they can build a proper club around.
Knowing the SRU that means that they'll forget to build changing rooms in the new stadium forcing the players to walk out from the main stadium, give Cockerill the top job and replace him with Duncan Hodge and let their top players trickle away in the next two to three years.

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Post by jimbopip on Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:13 pm

Very astute, Numbers. OK

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Post by RDW on Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:17 pm

Excellent post numbers.

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Post by EWT Spoons on Tue Feb 18, 2020 2:28 pm

Your changing room point numbers is actually what they are doing. All the facilities etc I believe are staying in the main stadium, and players walking out from there into the new one.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:36 pm

Knowing the SRU that means that they'll forget to build changing rooms in the new stadium forcing the players to walk out from the main stadium, give Cockerill the top job and replace him with Duncan Hodge and let their top players trickle away in the next two to three years.

That's what I mean when I say I don't trust the SRU to make the right decision and I can sadly see them doing exactly that in a desperate attempt to make amends if Toonie gets the sack or leaves. Whilst I think Cockers is enjoying Edinburgh, it's hard to see him turn down a job where he can challenge himself at the highest level.

'I would like to get involved in international rugby, but it certainly won't be until my time here is up. It is always nice to be mentioned in those circles but I have been mentioned before and I'm still here. There is no job to be taken.

That's from when he was being talked up as the England coach in December 2018. It's left fairly open ended. Whether he thinks his time will be up if Edinburgh reach the final or even win the pro14 this season is open for question. It also means he'll never be far if he moved to the Scotland job. I don't think it's as farfetched as people make out here. The other thing worth mentioning is he draws it away from talking about England set-up, saying "International". I think Cockers has an eye to the future and thinks Scotland will be a good first job as an international coach. Not much to lose, everything to gain.
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Post by Highland Shaun on Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:57 pm

Ignoring the, will he won't he debate going on here (regarding the Scotland job), why are most against Cockerill getting the job?? Is it due to experience or playing style or something else? Forgive me lol, I don't watch club rugby but whatever RC is doing, it must be successful otherwise his team would not be top of the table.

Fwiw, I watched the Pro 14 highlights on BBC Scotland channel yesterday so am trying to get into club rugby more haha.

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Post by BigGee on Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:07 pm

I would have no issue with Cockets for Scotland, but just not yet.

Lets see how far he can take this Edinburgh side first. Toonie won a league title remember, you can't take that away from him. Lets see what RC can wring out of this Edinburgh squad, with its history of under achievement first.

The signs are good actually, but can they make the next step?

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Post by RDW on Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:10 pm

I wouldn't mind Cockers becoming coach, but I'd much rather he creates a legacy and finishes the job at Edinburgh. I also think he'd be limited in what he could achieve with Scotland - we'd be hard to beat and have a good backbone but you need more than that at the highest level (as Edinburgh are hopefully learning).

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Post by 123456789. on Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:46 pm

Edinburgh could still win the Challenge Cup and the Pro14 this season. Both remain distinct possibilities. Getting past Bordeaux will prove difficult. As will, ultimately, defeating Leinster, as the winner of the Pro14 will surely have to do. If they do win the double, it would not be a huge exaggeration to say that this is the best possible result for a Scottish professional team. Even at that point I would not say that Cockerill's job was done.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:27 pm

I agree 100% RDW but what I'm saying is the SRU will unlikely see it the same way and would not surprise me at all if they rushed cockerill to the big job.
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Post by BigGee on Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:50 pm

Sean Lineen lost his dad, Terry Lineen, an outstanding All Black who's career was cut short by injury at 24.

Being the rugby guy that he is, he is seeing the U20s through their game at the weekend against Italy before heading back to NZ for the funeral next week.

Fair play to him and best wishes from everyone who follows Scottish rugby.

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Post by king_carlos on Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:10 pm

RDW wrote:I wouldn't mind Cockers becoming coach, but I'd much rather he creates a legacy and finishes the job at Edinburgh. I also think he'd be limited in what he could achieve with Scotland - we'd be hard to beat and have a good backbone but you need more than that at the highest level (as Edinburgh are hopefully learning).

The 'more than that' is usually easier to get at club level as well where external signings can be made. Yes project players exist in international rugby whether we like it or not but it's not the same short term fix as being able to sign key players in areas of weakness over the summer.

I think Cockers is a brilliant coach but as seen by the downturn at Tigers he needs the right people around him. At international level having good lieutenants around the head coach is absolutely critical.

I believe the best thing for his future within the SRU is to allow him to stay with Edinburgh not just for the clubs sake but also to allow Cockerill to forge longer term coaching partnerships with assistants Hodge and MacRae as well as the highly considered Steve Lawrie.

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Post by tigertattie on Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:14 pm

BigGee wrote:Sean Lineen lost his dad, Terry Lineen, an outstanding All Black who's career was cut short by injury at 24.

Being the rugby guy that he is, he is seeing the U20s through their game at the weekend against Italy before heading back to NZ for the funeral next week.

Fair play to him and best wishes from everyone who follows Scottish rugby.

Best wishes to him. Hopefully the under 20s give him a good send off before going back to say farewell to his father.
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Post by RDW on Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:43 am

In Tom English's latest article he's saying that several players have spoken to him off record and said if anything the Finn Russell incident has brought the group together, and it means that Finn needs to mend bridges with the players as much as Townsend.

I know it's easy for him to say and not have to back it up, but I do get a strong feeling it's correct. There's been absolutely no hint whatsoever that this shows wider fractures in the group and between other players and Townsend.

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Post by BigGee on Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:05 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51550283

TE sounds reasonably upbeat about things, but you can't get away with the feeling that this is a must win game for Toonie and his team.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed Feb 19, 2020 9:42 am

RDW wrote:In Tom English's latest article he's saying that several players have spoken to him off record and said if anything the Finn Russell incident has brought the group together, and it means that Finn needs to mend bridges with the players as much as Townsend.


Two losses though.  So in purely practical terms, how advantageous is it to be a group of players brought closer together in disagreement with the wayward rebelliousness of Finn Russell?
In purely practical terms, would Finn Russell's involvement not add a string to Scotland's bow that they might need AND that might allow players that feed off him the chance to give a better account of themselves - as players? Surely, as ambitious players who want to put themselves in the window, having Russell in is better than having him out, in purely selfish, career-centric terms.
Plus - Maitland seemed to easily enough say that he wanted Russell back - perhaps just in terms of that very selfish point I made above.  But it doesn't seem he felt the need to hold his tongue and stick with any grouping of players that want to make Russell sweat and apologise before coming back.

'Several players' are not All players. Tom English perhaps wants to infer he spoke to a herd when perhaps he only spoke to one of two.

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Post by George Carlin on Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:26 am

Right then. Team for France?
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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon Feb 24, 2020 6:43 am

Toonie will keep it the same. Id go with some minor changes:
Sutherland
McInally
Fagerson
Cummings
Toolis
Ritchie
Watson
Haining

Horne
Hastings

Graham (if recovered, if not, kinghorn)
Johnson
Jones
Maitland
Hogg

Subs
Dell
Brown
Nel
Gilchrist
Crosbie
Skinner
Price
Weir

Gone with the 6-2 split on the bench because our game has become so defense oriented, if we're going to squeeze out a win at home we need a proper FH as backup with a different skillset and a couple of abrasive forwards covering back row. Its a fairly negative team selection but no more negative than the one against Italy imo and has a little more grunt.
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Post by tigertattie on Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:02 am

The problem with that team is if a Hogg, a centre or wing goes down then all you can do is move Hastings over and put in weir.

Imagine weir on the wing. Frightening.

I don’t think we can afford only two back subs.
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Post by bsando on Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:57 am

That seems a good side to me but I'd be more inclined for Russell to be called up and to play from the bench for the last two games. I really hope it happens, it would be such a shame to see him excluded from the Summer tour and Autumn tests this year. Russell will add the creativity needed to put the French under more pressure.

Scotland have a good home record against France. It means nothing really because the French side has changed so much since the RWC.

France Team vs Scotland (RWC Warmup Murrayfield 2019)

Forwards

1 Jefferson Poirot
2 Guilhem Guirado (Captain)
3 Rabah Slimani
4 Félix Lambey
5 Sébastien Vahaamahina
6 Arthur Iturria
7 Charles Ollivon
8 Grégory Alldritt
Backs

9 Antoine Dupont
10 Camille Lopez
11 Alivereti Raka
12 Gaël Fickou
13 Sofiane Guitoune
14 Damian Penaud
15 Thomas Ramos
Replacements

16 Camille Chat
17 Cyril Baille
18 Emerick Setiano
19 Romain Taofifénua
20 Yacouba Camara
21 Baptiste Serin
22 Romain Ntamack
23 Maxime Médard

The players who are not striked out featured in the matchday 23 against Wales on Saturday.

I've been following Paul Willemese's career with interest over the past year and he has really stepped it up this 6N with some barn storming carries and offloads to add to his physicality around the rucks. He was described as a "big lump" last year but he's so much more than that now. The France side to play Scotland in 2 weeks will be a very different animal to the ones Scotland have triumphed over at home in recent years.

Personally, I think Scotland need to fight fire with fire. In terms of statistics, Scotland have the best defence in the 6N this year somehow, thanks to the addition of Tandy and an improved scrum. France are going to kick a lot as we have seen so far so I'm expecting Hogg and Hastings to boot a lot of long balls. However, Scotland still love a counter attack and I am certain Hogg will be looking for opportunities to run it himself, something France didn't have to worry about so much with Wales. The trick will be starting fast and finally clicking in attack. Both sides have been making good yardage via their backline and forwards so it could well be one of the games of the tournament if it doesn't descend into an arm wrestle.

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Post by RDW on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:55 am

My thoughts on the France selection, a general theme being we need to up the physicality:

Front row


Keep as is. Jimbo has mentioned Turner on the bench but I think Brown's greater physicality should keep him his place. Berghan put in a big shift for Edinburgh so may get his place back over Nel.

Second row


Both played well against Italy but I think that combo is too much on the athletic side for the France beasts - I'd have GG or Skinner starting.

Back row


Keep the starters the same. Bradbury at least looked more interested against Italy and we need his physicality. The thought of Fagerson making any impact whatsoever against the French beasts terrifies my so I would bench Haining who hasn't done much wrong and was all action against Connacth - I can't see GT doing that though.


Half backs


We all want Horne to start, I'm 99% sure Price will start. Unless there is some miracle Russell won't return so Hastings it is. I'm not liking the balance of our bench without a proper 10, but if we brought Weir in who would be the final sub? If it's Kinghorn then we have no centre cover. If it's a centre we have no back 3 cover, although Harris could do a job as an emergency.

Centres


A difficult one - SJ has been solid if unspectacular, and as much as Harris is much maligned on here he was probably one of our best backs against Italy. I suspect we'll see the same combo, particularly given our defence needs to be strong against an electric France team.

Back 3


Bring back Darcy at all costs - we need his spark. I'd probably drop Kinghorn for Maitland's reliability. Would likely mean Kinghorn is out of the 23, but them's the breaks.

Bench


I really hope Townsend realises the bench didn't work against Italy - they made no impact at all and if anything made things worse. GG isn't an impact sub so either needs to start or not be there at all. Fagerson gave nothing. McGuigan looked busy when he came on but it's limited having a winger on the bench.


My team:

1 Sutherland
2 McInally
3 Fagerson
4 Toolis
5 GG (but I'd happily see Skinner start and GG out completely too)
6 Ricthie
7 Watson
8 Bradbury

9 Horne
10 Hastings
11 Maitland
12 SJ
13 Harris
14 Graham
15 Hogg

Subs - Dell, Brown, Berghan, Cummings (given 30 minutes to make a big impact), Haining, Price, Weir, Hutchinson

With Harris covering wing and Hutch able to play 15 if needed

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:07 pm

I see you are determined to have Weir in the 23 RDW, but not sure we got cloning down yet laughing (editing beat me to it). I suspect it will be Kinghorn and Hutchinson on the bench if Graham is fit.

Cummings is the form lock and I can't see him being dropped. The argument for me is Toolis or Skinner as partner. Toolis stabilised the lineout, however Italy were not exactly formidable in that area. Gilchrist is big but does not impose his size on the game and will not add enough at the scrum to make up for what others bring. The French scrum has not been dominant this Six Nations whereas we seem to have really pushed into that space thanks to scrum coaches at club and international level (who knew, also what has happened to Ireland? Really not done well at the scrum this Six Nations with the same front five as before). I would start Toolis with Skinner on the bench (also gives flexibility with cover at BS).

Matt Fagerson failed to impose himself against Italy and he needs to figure out how to be effective at international level. With Ritchie and Watson on the flanks, there is not enough size to support him like what Exeter (and England) were able to do with Sam Simmonds. Haining should be coming back but I don't think Toonie will do that.

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Post by RDW on Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:13 pm

You're right Hazel about Cummings, but out of all of our locks he provides the most impact. If he came on against a tiring French team with 30 minutes to go he could make some big dents in defence with his carrying. GG and Toolis were paired for their experience of playing together and with McInally - we really need the lineout to be secure against France as we cannot gift them easy possession.

I'd be happy with any combination of locks TBF - it's a good position to be in!

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Post by EWT Spoons on Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:19 pm

Can't see Weir coming onto the bench, Hutch will continue to offer that cover at 10.

If Darcy is fit, he may start, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him bench, given he's not played for a few weeks. If he does start then I don't know who I'd drop, both Kinghorn and Maitland have been pretty even, performance wise this tournament.

Mind you if France play the way they have been so far, it's largely irrelevant who we play.

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Post by RDW on Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:20 pm

EWT Spoons wrote:Can't see Weir coming onto the bench, Hutch will continue to offer that cover at 10.

If Darcy is fit, he may start, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him bench, given he's not played for a few weeks.  If he does start then I don't know who I'd drop, both Kinghorn and Maitland have been pretty even, performance wise this tournament.

Mind you if France play the way they have been so far, it's largely irrelevant who we play.
Hopefully he gets a run for Edinburgh this weekend.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:32 pm

RDW wrote:You're right Hazel about Cummings, but out of all of our locks he provides the most impact. If he came on against a tiring French team with 30 minutes to go he could make some big dents in defence with his carrying. GG and Toolis were paired for their experience of playing together and with McInally - we really need the lineout to be secure against France as we cannot gift them easy possession.

I'd be happy with any combination of locks TBF - it's a good position to be in!

It is interesting how we view players (and I am very guilty of this) that playing 30 minutes off the bench has more impact than playing at least an hour.

I agree that Gilchrist either starts or should not make the 23. I think Toolis edges it over Gilchrist for me and Skinner should be the bench option instead.

Summer tour is going to be interesting. If Craig comes in and plays well, we are really going to have an embarrassment of riches at the position.

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Post by RDW on Mon Feb 24, 2020 1:37 pm

We're very much getting into fine margins here, but I suppose the difference is the game is usually much tighter for the first 50/60 minutes and opens up later on as players get tired. 

Hence why EJ refers to his bench as finishers!

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:01 pm

I do agree with you. Some players can come on and influence proceedings from the bench whereas others can't do that. In this case, I see Gilchrist as the fourth choice in a three lock rotation.

EJ has completely changed the marketing of the bench. I am not entirely convinced it has been for the better!

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Post by 123456789. on Mon Feb 24, 2020 3:05 pm

France have been very good at flying out of the blocks and then dropping off in the latter stages, so if we were smart we would put a team out to contain in the first 60 and cut loose in the last 20. It does make sense, Edwards defence needs players to be very fit, French players are not very fit. That does mean, for the first time ever, I might think that starting Harris is a good idea. Harris is probably better able to managed Vakatawa than Jones or Hutchinson. Even though he is pish. He is our best defensive option, but he's also a pretty good defender for the other team because he takes the sting out of our attack too. There were a few times that we looked dangerous, the ball would get to Harris and he would stay static and simply shift the ball on. Completely useless, allowing the defenders to cover the space, where, if he'd attacked, he would have drawn them in and kept the space outside. Nonetheless, Horses for courses, and for this course we need a donkey.
In an ideal world I would have Horne, Russell and Jones on the bench to bring on for the last 20 to have a real go at the French. I understand that Russell won't be around, most probably, and therefore would probably stick with Hutchinson. Likewise, in the pack, I'd probably have Sutherland, Brown and Nel starting and bring on Dell, Fagerson and McInally when the game loosens up. Normally I'd favour Brown over McInally for that role as he's better over the ball as there pack struggles to get to breakdowns. But he's had more 78th minute brainfarts than Scott Lawson on overdrive. I'd have Skinner there too and I'd probably stick with Fagerson as he is a tad nippier than Haining. I'd be tempted to put Skinner at blindside and look to bring Ritchie on fresh for that last period too. But I think that may be overdoing it.

So my team would probably be:
1. Sutherland
2. Brown
3. Nel
4. Gilchrist
5. Cummings
6. Ritchie
7. Watson
8. Bradbury
9. Price
10. Hastings
11. Maitland
12. Johnson
13. Harris
14. Graham
15. Hogg

16. Dell
17. MacInally
18. Fagerson
19. Skinner
20. Fagerson
21. Horne
22. Russell (will be Hutchinson, but I'd have sent Finn a can of special brew and a come back note by now)
23. Jones

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Post by RDW on Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:00 pm

Just realised it was a clean sweep for Scottish rugby this weekend - under 20s, Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow all winning!

The under 20 result went unnoticed here - that was a huge win.

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Post by tigertattie on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:02 pm

RDW wrote:Just realised it was a clean sweep for Scottish rugby this weekend - under 20s, Scotland, Edinburgh and Glasgow all winning!

The under 20 result went unnoticed here - that was a huge win.

I watched it. Remarkably our forwards dominated the game. Italy just couldn’t compete.

Was a close game though with a bit of luck at the end for us to win
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Post by tigertattie on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:04 pm

Ya know what, sod it.

We’re in a bad place. There’s a lot of negativity going around so I’m just going to put this out there

We’ll beat France in two weeks and then we’ll rock up at the not a country stadium in 3 and hand the welsh a new one.

3 wins from 3 and Toonie gets his annual bonus
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Post by SecretFly on Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:52 pm

tigertattie wrote:

3 wins from 3 and Toonie gets his annual bonus

... a Christmas card from Finn?

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