Ireland vs Scotland 6 Nations - Saturday 1st February 2020 - Match Thread

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Post by Tramptastic on Tue Jan 21, 2020 1:55 pm

First topic message reminder :

IRELAND V SCOTLAND

1st of February 2020 16:45 Kick off

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant 1: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant 2: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Ireland: 15 Jordan Larmour, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Jonathan Sexton (c), 9 Conor Murray, 8 Caelan Doris, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 CJ Stander, 5 James Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Ronan Kelleher, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Peter O’Mahony, 21 John Cooney, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Robbie Henshaw

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg (c), 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Sam Johnson, 11 Blair Kinghorn, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Ali Price, 8 Nick Haining, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Scott Cummings, 3 Zander Fagerson, 2 Fraser Brown, 1 Rory Sutherland
Replacements: 16 Stuart McInally, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Simon Berghan, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Cornell du Preez, 21 George Horne, 22 Rory Hutchinson, 23 Chris Harris

Perennial World Cup Quarter Finalists vs A Team With No Clear Strategy That Doesn't Currently Play To It's Strengths, Please Come Back Vern

Historical head to head data is useless as Scotland won for the 1st hundred years but Ireland have been dead good since the year 2000, except in 2010 at Croke Park which tells you Dan Parks is the finest rugby player Scotland has ever poached from Australia.

New head coach for Ireland in Farrell vs Townsend with new back room staff

Captain Sexton vs Captain Hogg - Eurgh, there's going to be so much moaning at the ref.

I'm looking forward to seeing a healthy amount of abuse in the thread below, please enjoy.


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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:01 am

BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

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Post by tigertattie on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:07 am

123456789. wrote:
BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

Apparently it doesn’t travel well

Much like Scotland drumroll
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:11 am

If Price, Hastings, Jones and Johnson play will that be the most hair products in a scottish midfield in history?
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Post by The Oracle on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:14 am

This photo is doing the rounds. From Racing's win yesterday. 'Defiant' is the word I think I'd use to describe Finn's look!

Ireland vs Scotland 6 Nations - Saturday 1st February 2020 - Match Thread - Page 6 83285710


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Post by The Oracle on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:15 am

Or 'sucking it in'!
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:18 am

The Oracle wrote:Or 'sucking it in'!

There's a definite layer of beer there! Must've been downing pints of Duvel or something at the hotel.
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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:31 am

Grant Gilchrist did an interview blaming the kicking game for the Ireland result in Japan. Can see that becoming a theme this week.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:40 am

I really hope we don't just try another type of kicking game. It really really doesn't work well for us.

Something like Vern's pod system would work in getting go forward, then if there's space behind, go for a kick. If not, play the numbers and wait. Patience has been our main problem in attack and no-one seems to have acknowledged that in camp which worries me. Our unwillingness to play more than two phases will be our undoing again not defence or kicking.
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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:24 pm

The issue in the last year seems to be our players impetuous instincts clashing against a tactic over reliant on kicking. In effect it amounted to one of our backs trying to do something magic or something all on his own. If (more often when) it didn't work Russell would kick it long or Laidlaw would box kick it just out of the area of competitiveness. Now that may have been simply that Seymour had lost a couple of yards of pace and Laidlaw was yet to react. Prior to that it seemed that a game plan had been created to cater to those instincts. Hastings may not resist the game plan to the same extent as Russell did. Still I can't see that kicking repeatedly to Stockdale and Larmour will be effective and it's boring to watch. Flinging it to Huw Jones or Hutchinson etc. will be exciting and it may actually work.

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Post by RDW on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:28 pm

123456789. wrote:
BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

I hope the squad give him complete cold shoulder. Let's face it a phonecall isn't going to be much help and he'll really know he's in the wrong.

If it's radio silence he'll feel it much more!

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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:39 pm

RDW wrote:
123456789. wrote:
BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

I hope the squad give him complete cold shoulder. Let's face it a phonecall isn't going to be much help and he'll really know he's in the wrong.

If it's radio silence he'll feel it much more!

Unlikely, they're first and foremost his friends. Ali Price is still quite publicly in contact with him. In a large squad there'll be a sizeable cohort that agree with him. The more recent articles suggest things weren't as stormy as initially suggested. He was contractually obliged to be in Paris for the game last night, we can assume he was always going to leave on Thursday to play on the Saturday. Equally he was probably not going to play a huge part in the game specific stuff the following week. The best course of action from here would be if he kept his head down until next week, issued an overwhelmingly supportive message to the boys on friday on saturday.

The more likely course of action is that Ireland will win, Zebo will post something cheeky about Scotland being wrong to not pick Russell, Russell will like it etc. etc.

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Post by Gooseberry on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:41 pm

Really begs the question whos gonna be the token Scott on the Lions tour? TBF it would be classic Gatland to actually pick Russell as his starter after hes burnt his bridges with Scotland.

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:44 pm

RDW wrote:
123456789. wrote:
BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

I hope the squad give him complete cold shoulder. Let's face it a phonecall isn't going to be much help and he'll really know he's in the wrong.

If it's radio silence he'll feel it much more!

Indeed, it is hard to see anyone calling him, but it is giving out the message that he does want to be involved. At least he did not give an interview telling Toonie to go and f**k himself. It might have been harder to find a way back from that one!

Best case scenario for me is that Hastings plays well and keeps his place for the England game and Russell dons some sackcloth, brings along a bucket of ashes and rejoins the squad and benches for the England game.

As I said before, I am actually happy for Hastings to start, he is a good player and our next best option and does need exposing to full on international games at some point. Russell has just opened the door for him.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:50 pm

123456789. wrote:The issue in the last year seems to be our players impetuous instincts clashing against a tactic over reliant on kicking. In effect it amounted to one of our backs trying to do something magic or something all on his own. If (more often when) it didn't work Russell would kick it long or Laidlaw would box kick it just out of the area of competitiveness. Now that may have been simply that Seymour had lost a couple of yards of pace and Laidlaw was yet to react. Prior to that it seemed that a game plan had been created to cater to those instincts. Hastings may not resist the game plan to the same extent as Russell did. Still I can't see that kicking repeatedly to Stockdale and Larmour will be effective and it's boring to watch. Flinging it to Huw Jones or Hutchinson etc. will be exciting and it may actually work.

Exactly, although looking at our clubs Glasgow have played their best rugby when they've shown patience and created outstanding team tries. Edinburgh likewise, with excellent lines from the centres/wings in closing off the plays.

It's so frustrating because the players have a pragmatic team approach too. When we were in the groove in 2017 we played as a unit. Better than the sum of our parts. Toonie seems to have just encouraged our players to go too far the batsh*t way where we look like (and possibly are) running around in circles until the opposition score, then wondering why we leak tries and can't score. We can only play heads up rugby if we play a structured game that allows it.

In cardiac theatre we have a set-up that stays fundamentally the same but then we can change things or add things accordingly if we have a difficult case. We have the surgeons and anaesthesists who can lead and improvise and the support roles who can adapt or calm things down if it's going wrong. Same sort of philosophy applies to rugby, particularly international rugby. It's not like football where individuals can make or break a team.  

Scotland have lost the fundamentals so the flair is just wasted energy. We need control but I still don't think Toonie fully gets it, I think he still expects miracle balls off of kicks and defence and for the fancy players to make fancy plays. Truth is we just lack the basics required, which again is what we had in 2017 and don't have now.
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Post by RDW on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:05 pm

123456789. wrote:
RDW wrote:
123456789. wrote:
BigGee wrote:It seems like Finn was making some conciliatory noises in his interview after the Racing v Castres match yesterday, in which he played the full 80 mins and they won well.

Suggested he was on the end of a phone for any advice required and would maybe try and talk to Hastings.

That is not a bad first step to put out there and hopefully it will get followed up. It is really hard to believe he does not want to get this sorted out as well

"Hi Adam, Finn here, see when you get to the end of happy hour, you're best to just buy nine or ten pints in one go to see you through to the end of the night, it'll cost you a fortune otherwise. When you're in Dublin, try the Guinness, it's supposed to be better there."

I hope the squad give him complete cold shoulder. Let's face it a phonecall isn't going to be much help and he'll really know he's in the wrong.

If it's radio silence he'll feel it much more!

Unlikely, they're first and foremost his friends. Ali Price is still quite publicly in contact with him. In a large squad there'll be a sizeable cohort that agree with him. The more recent articles suggest things weren't as stormy as initially suggested. He was contractually obliged to be in Paris for the game last night, we can assume he was always going to leave on Thursday to play on the Saturday. Equally he was probably not going to play a huge part in the game specific stuff the following week. The best course of action from here would be if he kept his head down until next week, issued an overwhelmingly supportive message to the boys on friday on saturday.

The more likely course of action is that Ireland will win, Zebo will post something cheeky about Scotland being wrong to not pick Russell, Russell will like it etc. etc.

Yeah I'm sure he's got friends in the squad, but I hope they're telling him "you've put us all in a difficult situation". None more so than Hogg who is good friends with him  but also a new Scotland captain - he's got to put the squad first and foremost.

As I've said previously the worry is there are people in the squad who are on Russell's side with this, and that could be a lot more complicated.

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:09 pm

Mark Palmer's take on it from the Sunday Times

Having just had a tricky conversation myself this morning with a difficult neighbour about a party wall dispute, which I was not looking forward to. I hope that the two parties here realise that difficult conversations at times do need to take place and clearly about more than bevying in the hotel on sunday night!

I hope that conversation goes better than the one I had with the neighbour, but at least not having got the result I wanted from it, I now know where I stand!



Where do the events of the past few days leave Gregor Townsend? The short answer is without his least easily replaceable player for the bare minimum of one Six Nations game. With external expectation having been low even before Finn Russell’s abrupt exile, Scotland could well muddle through in Dublin — the form and confidence of Adam Hastings offer hope — but whatever happens at the Aviva stadium, the episode will have profound implications for the rest of Townsend’s reign, however long it lasts.
After the disappointment of last year’s Six Nations and the early exit from the World Cup, results in the next couple of months were always going to come under serious scrutiny, and the same now goes for the team environment and culture as a whole.
While details of what went down in the bar of the team hotel last Sunday night and Monday morning are still sketchy and contested, the sequence of events thereafter speaks to a breakdown in relations between two men who many assume think and act in the same way.
It is true to say that, as players, Townsend and Russell share many of the same instincts — the desire to play what they see, solve problems on the move and not be bound by convention. But where Russell will also trust his gut and speak his mind away from the field, it is not at all clear that such an approach is welcome or encouraged in this Scotland set-up.
No question, Townsend is an innovator, someone who looks left, right, up and down for inspiration, but day-to-day he’s controlled and in many respects controlling. Detail, consistency and common purpose are his thing.

Russell likes all three of those qualities as well — anyone who has watched his assiduous match-week preparation will tell you to gaze beyond the whole “daft laddie” routine — but if he feels that something could be done better, he’ll say it, without fear or favour.
The most obvious example would be the half-time conversation with Townsend at Twickenham last March, since variously described as an “argument”, “chat”, “conversation” and “debate” by those who took part or witnessed it. Whatever views were exchanged, and however they were articulated, something clicked in both Scotland and their conductor to the extent that certain disaster came within seconds of being transformed into the unlikeliest of triumphs.
It is not as simple as saying that whenever Russell speaks, Townsend must take heed and act, but our knowledge of the 27-year-old strongly suggests a man who thrives on feeling that he is being heard. We are led to believe that he has questioned — or sought to question — various aspects of Scotland’s tactical and training approach in recent times, having grown accustomed to an environment at Racing 92 where players are encouraged to challenge themselves, their peers and their coaches.
Again belying that pastiche of an innocent abroad, we gather that Russell’s input and insight are highly valued by the Parisians, and his post-World Cup displays would certainly indicate a man convinced he is in the right place, with the right people and structures to do his thing. And, crucially, to say his piece as well.
Does the same go for the Scotland camp? Only those on the inside can properly answer that question, but you hear enough to make you wonder. Just as we bemoan the Murrayfield executive’s tendency to view questioning voices as a threat, we should be horrified at the thought of one of the national team’s key relationships being undermined — or worse — by communication issues. Even now, these are surely fixable with a bit of self-awareness on both sides.
As it stands, the level of trust between Townsend and Russell has been eroded to an alarming degree, not by this incident in isolation but by how things have been working — or not working — over a longer period. If our starting point is that we all want Russell to play some part in this Six Nations, then there is an onus on both sides to address what has happened and put in place measures that mitigate against future breakdowns.
For Russell, this means showing a degree of contrition, if not for the act of drinking alcohol while coming down from a punishing Champions Cup match, then causing a situation where players and staff felt the need to intervene in the interests of the wider group. If, as a late arrival on the Sunday, he had not been party to any discussion around team behaviour protocols, the mood music in the hotel should have been enough to identify that he had overstepped the mark. Russell should own this mis-step and pledge to never repeat it.
Townsend, meanwhile, must re-evaluate how he deals with a player who is not only the form stand-off in Europe, but the best that Scotland has produced in a generation. That doesn’t mean he deserves preferential treatment in the business of respecting boundaries, but it does mean there is an obligation to mine him for useful contributions either side of the white line. Let’s maximise his input on and off the pitch, and if the objection is about how he delivers his opinion, spell that out and agree a forum for constructive criticism to be aired.
Nobody knows better than Townsend the value that can be brought back by players based abroad, and nobody is better placed to understand Russell’s centrality to everything that this Scotland team do, are and can be in the future.
It is unthinkable for the situation to drift, but perhaps that would only be a continuation of the pattern that led us to this point. Now — not next week, not after the first two games — is the time for the air to be cleared and a new way of working put in place. The alternative — Russell being left to stew in Paris — would be a dereliction of duty on the part of coach and player. They are still on the same side, now to get them fully on the same page and, as soon as possible, the same stage once more. They owe each other — and their career prospects — that tricky but utterly essential conversation.



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Post by Pot Hale on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:21 pm

I wonder does Johnny Sexton think Russell should play. I think it would be useful if a few Irish players were to come out in support of Russell and say he should be allowed to play.
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Post by jimbopip on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:33 pm

123456789. wrote:Grant Gilchrist did an interview blaming the kicking game for the Ireland result in Japan. Can see that becoming a theme this week.

I suggest we can take it from the above comment that Gray and Cummings will be the starting locks with Principal Skinner on the bench.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:34 pm

Pot Hale wrote:I wonder does Johnny Sexton think Russell should play.    I think it would be useful if a few Irish players were to come out in support of Russell and say he should be allowed to play.

I'm sure he'd be disappointed behind closed doors not to come up against Russell but I don't think he'd say it out of professional courtesy, it'll be whoever is picked (Hastings unless he gets injured) "a great fly half for Glasgow" "Dangerous player" etc etc. Heap the pressure on rather than give Haircut a point to prove.

Sexton has regularly played Hastings and I'm sure has a healthy amount of respect for him. He would need to as Hastings is an excellent player on his day, so to write him off just because Russell isn't playing would be dangerous. The problem is that he's a been a bit of a slow burner and is still relatively early on in the development curve but giving him these opportunities will only be good for Scotland especially if he subsequently develops at the rate Finn did when he got a shot. It could even be next year when we actually have two fly halves fighting for first choice, which truly would be a novelty!
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Post by Pot Hale on Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:52 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:I wonder does Johnny Sexton think Russell should play.    I think it would be useful if a few Irish players were to come out in support of Russell and say he should be allowed to play.

I'm sure he'd be disappointed behind closed doors not to come up against Russell but I don't think he'd say it out of professional courtesy, it'll be whoever is picked (Hastings unless he gets injured) "a great fly half for Glasgow" "Dangerous player" etc etc. Heap the pressure on rather than give Haircut a point to prove.

Sexton has regularly played Hastings and I'm sure has a healthy amount of respect for him. He would need to as Hastings is an excellent player on his day, so to write him off just because Russell isn't playing would be dangerous. The problem is that he's a been a bit of a slow burner and is still relatively early on in the development curve but giving him these opportunities will only be good for Scotland especially if he subsequently develops at the rate Finn did when he got a shot. It could even be next year when we actually have two fly halves fighting for first choice, which truly would be a novelty!

Fair points.
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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:07 pm

Jim Hamilton wrote in the times today too. I've included it below if you want to read it.

The actual extent of his analysis amounts to the same amount as you always get with Jim Hamilton. A lot of self promotion with little substance. A few reminders here and there that he played himself. The real crux of the article amounts to:
One needs context to fully understand the situation but I don't know the context. I like a drink so does Finn Russell. Finn Russell is a good rugby player so it would be bad if he doesn't get back into the Scotland set-up. However whether he gets back in depends on the context of the situation which I don't know. I played rugby for Scotland and I like a drink too btw.

Jim Hamilton - Sunday Times wrote: Context is everything with this situation, and there’s a lot of it we still don’t know. If Finn Russell was having a few quiet post-match beers a fortnight before Scotland play Ireland, there really can’t be any issue. If, on the other hand, he’s been acting up to the point where peers and coaches have felt the need to call him out, it’s something altogether different. Very few people know exactly what happened in that bar, and I’m not one of them.

What I do feel confident in saying is that even if Russell would not have played a full part in Monday’s training session the day after a Champions Cup outing for Racing 92, he’s a player who is expected to influence preparation just by being around the group. I used to see it with Owen Farrell at Saracens and have heard he’s exactly the same with England: even if he’s not down to play the following weekend, he’ll still be all over training, acting like an extra coach by dishing out words of encouragement and inspiration and always putting the team’s needs first.

Gregor Townsend and his deputies will want and expect the same from Finn. They’ll look to him to leverage the respect and trust he has from the other players and make sure he’s contributing at all times. That’s why it will have been so important to them that he was fully coherent for the Monday morning, ready to make an impact regardless of how much actual training he was able to undertake himself. A player doing anything with the potential to disrupt a Six Nations camp would not sit well with any coach, let alone one like Townsend who runs a notoriously tight ship.

Let’s not forget how important this tournament is, for both the team and their leader, with everyone from Townsend’s own bosses down desperate for signs of progress. He’ll have been going out of his way to avoid any drama, and then suddenly he’s presented with pretty much the worst kind imaginable before a ball is kicked on the training pitch, never mind on a match day.

I’d have much preferred for Scotland and the SRU to have found a way to keep the whole situation in-house, but they actually fanned the flames by releasing what amounted to a teaser statement. I’m glad that Finn hasn’t indulged in a game of tit-for-tat, but again I would stress that we don’t have anything like the full picture. There’s also a part of me that says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”


Everyone knows I liked a drink when I played, but I’d like to think I did it at appropriate times and always respected the privileged position I was in. It’s also the case that the game has changed massively, even in the last decade, to the point where it’s almost impossible to imagine lads getting involved in the sort of blowouts that used to be quite common.

At the 2011 World Cup, for instance, my roommate went on a big one in between the two crunch pool matches, against Argentina in Wellington and England in Auckland. Leading up to the eve of match team run for the England game, I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him; he was basically AWOL. We eventually tracked him down and although he wasn’t in a great way, he was at a functional enough level to be able to get through the session. He then went out the next day and put in the best performance I’ve ever seen from him. Maybe there is no such thing as perfect preparation!

That said, I feel for Adam Hastings. Russell’s shoes would be big enough to fill had the Racing man just gone down injured, but the fact there’s this huge storm of controversy around his absence puts more pressure on his likely replacement. The issue is not whether Hastings is up to it — he’s a very competent ten who I’ve loved watching carve it up in the Pro14 — but how he deals with everything else that’s swirling about. My advice would be simple: be yourself, don’t worry about trying to be Finn Russell. Go and make a name for yourself and make it impossible for Townsend to bring Russell straight back in as and when the necessary fences have been mended.

I truly hope that process is under way; that player and coach are getting whatever they need to out on the table and committing to making it work for Scotland. It may need Stuart Hogg, Townsend’s new captain, to reach out as a friend to Russell and there could also be a role for Greig Laidlaw, a man who knows both parties extremely well and has no skin in the game now.

Either way, there must be a swift resolution to stop the drama turning into a full-blown crisis.

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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:16 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:
Pot Hale wrote:I wonder does Johnny Sexton think Russell should play.    I think it would be useful if a few Irish players were to come out in support of Russell and say he should be allowed to play.

I'm sure he'd be disappointed behind closed doors not to come up against Russell but I don't think he'd say it out of professional courtesy, it'll be whoever is picked (Hastings unless he gets injured) "a great fly half for Glasgow" "Dangerous player" etc etc. Heap the pressure on rather than give Haircut a point to prove.

Sexton has regularly played Hastings and I'm sure has a healthy amount of respect for him. He would need to as Hastings is an excellent player on his day, so to write him off just because Russell isn't playing would be dangerous. The problem is that he's a been a bit of a slow burner and is still relatively early on in the development curve but giving him these opportunities will only be good for Scotland especially if he subsequently develops at the rate Finn did when he got a shot. It could even be next year when we actually have two fly halves fighting for first choice, which truly would be a novelty!

When you consider the two Scottish fly-halves involved in this Sexton is a good reference point. Sexton did not get capped for Ireland until he was 24, he was not unequivocally the first choice until he was 26. Hastings is only 23, Russell is only just 27.

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:23 pm

I actually like what he has to say about Adam Hastings in this article, whom there will be an awful lot of pressure on now.

Play badly and people will say he is not ready for it yet and is only on because of Finn.

Play well and people may say that he was lucky to be picked in the first place.

It is a potential lose lose scenario for him and I can't imagine he would have wanted to make his first 8N start in these circumstances. The senior players in the squad need to take good care of him and remind him to just go out and play his own game, not the one Finn might have played.

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Post by tigertattie on Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:22 pm

Nah Hastings has a great chance here. He’s a professional sportsman and in sport 95% of it is getting that chance to show what you can do.

If he takes his chance, even with Finn back, it’s his shirt to lose. It could mean Finn being shunted to 12 of Toonie needs to play him.

I’m sure Adam will have his dad in his ear telling him he’s got a real shot at showing what he can do and the best way he can shoe it is to let the others do the work for him. Don’t go looking for the miracle run or the 50/50 looping pass, when it’s on, give it to a team mate. Let them do the work and let the media portray Hastings as the man that conducted the Scotland team with ease.

Finn May come back in for the England game, but he may either be too big for his own boots or his agent tells him to cut ties with Scotland at least while Toonie is there. In France the club game seems to be more important than the national team, Finn, and his racing teammates such as Zebo (another international outcast) may forge together making Finn think he’s better off playing only for his club which he gets highly paid to do.

So Hastings needs to grasp this opportunity with both hands. If Finn doesn’t come back and Hastings has a shocker, wee Duncy could get his chance to wrestle the shirt back and with his form in the Jeff the last two years, it’s entirely possible. Hastings could be in danger of becoming the 10 that lost his shirt to the meatball.
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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:46 pm

It is extraordinary how much the future of Scottish rugby rides on this game. If Hastings shows up and Scotland pull off an unlikely win, all of the cards are in Townsend's hands. The press will decree that he was right to play hard ball with Russell, that putting his faith in Hastings was a stroke of genius. Hastings will be in the papers as the son of a legend who dethroned the Lions playmaker-elect. Townsend can approach Russell however he wants. If he was smart he'd phase Russell back in. Sticking him on the bench against England bringing him on for the last twenty minutes.
If the game goes poorly, Russell can name his price. Because you can guarantee that the press focus will be on Townsend as the guilty party. The thing is that Russell saves his best performances for England and he may well decide it's worth any long term flak or collateral that comes from bringing Russell back to get a win or an inspiring defeat to the world cup finalist. You can guess at the inevitable Allan Massie column that comes if there's a Dublin meltdown:
"While the Scotland camp was still reeling from the events that overshadowed the week before, Russell was in Paris recovering from overseeing a straightforward victory over Castres for his club team Racing. All the signs in the last two seasons have shown that the Parisians allow Russell the freedom to play that Townsend has sought to control in recent months. Where Townsend has tried to temper Russell's creative impulses, Racing encourage him. In doing so they get a dazzling, at points bonkers repayment on the handsome wages they give to the mercurial Scotsman. Townsend has a real task on his hand to convince Russell to eschew the bright lights of Paris in favour of a wintry Murrayfield. But the fact is he must at least try, increasingly it looks like his job depends on it. If the rumours of a bust up at half-time in last season's Calcutta Cup match are true, Russell may decide it's in his best interests to keep his distance."

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:11 pm

If Finn is listening to anyone who might be giving him good advice, he will have been made well aware that no-one ever gets forgiven for putting club and career before country.

A one off because of a bit of petulance and stupidity may be fine, but once you start doing it on principle, there really is no way back.

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Post by 123456789. on Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:53 pm

BigGee wrote:If Finn is listening to anyone who might be giving him good advice, he will have been made well aware that no-one ever gets forgiven for putting club and career before country.

A one off because of a bit of petulance and stupidity may be fine, but once you start doing it on principle, there really is no way back.

I think that all depends on what comes next really. If the Six Nations goes well without him then he'll probably fall into the category of problem player. If it goes poorly Townsend will carry the can. Performance and the off field stuff will be seen as going hand in hand. Russell will be welcomed back like the prodigal son. Like most things in sport it's about perception. We know so little about what goes on behind close doors that fans and journalists alike make assumptions based on what suits them. If Townsend turns things around Russell will be the bad guy and vice versa.

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 6:32 pm

https://www.theoffsideline.com/gregor-townsend-man-management/

This is a really good article about what may or may not be going on in the Scotland camp and perhaps how, Toonie and the senior players in the Scotland squad need to grow up a little bit.

Whatever we think about Toonie, he is an innovative yet still relatively inexperienced coach, at any level, let alone the microscope of international rugby. He is also under extreme pressure and as a coach, needs to learn how to relieve that from his players and not pile it on to them.

It is possible that everyone could come out of this situation stronger than they went in. We can but hope!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:08 pm

Just watching the press conference from the 6Ns launch and its very uncomfortable. Hogg doesnt look particularly happy to be there, Gregor seems to be playing the boss and looks like he's thinking "dont speak a f**king wrong word hoggy" whenever stuart speaks. Thinking about it, I've not seen a relaxed Scotland press conference since England, that was more relief and shock at pulling something off. It doesnt strike me as a happy camp thats for sure my gut tells me that article is very accurate.
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Post by lostinwales on Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:28 pm

BigGee wrote:https://www.theoffsideline.com/gregor-townsend-man-management/

This is a really good article about what may or may not be going on in the Scotland camp and perhaps how, Toonie and the senior players in the Scotland squad need to grow up a little bit.

Whatever we think about Toonie, he is an innovative yet still relatively inexperienced coach, at any level, let alone the microscope of international rugby. He is also under extreme pressure and as a coach, needs to learn how to relieve that from his players and not pile it on to them.

It is possible that everyone could come out of this situation stronger than they went in. We can but hope!

Makes me feel even happier that we have Eddie Jones. Its very interesting to see the lengths to which he'll go to take attention away from the England squad ahead of test matches. The no no.8 thing wouldn't happen unless he was happy he can manage, but its also the kind of story made out of nothing that just keeps media attention off his key players.

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Post by RDW on Sun Jan 26, 2020 7:40 pm

I'm just amazed Iain Morrison has written a coherent article that actually raises good points and suggests he's actually watched a rugby game before...

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:08 pm

RDW wrote:I'm just amazed Iain Morrison has written a coherent article that actually raises good points and suggests he's actually watched a rugby game before...

You know what, I did not even notice it was by Iain Morrison, or perhaps I should say suspect.

Perhaps there was a decent journalist in there once and very occasionally, it still comes out to play.

I am sure that come the 6N and a few losses under our belts and it will be business as usual!

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Post by TJ on Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:27 pm

As I've said previously the worry is there are people in the squad who are on Russell's side with this, and that could be a lot more complicated.

If they are its because Russell is right.
IMO the only complications are if Townsend stays. He should have gone after the WC. He is so obviously out of his depth and is simply not up to the job.






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Post by TJ on Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:28 pm

Hastings - I have watched him play a fair bit this year. He keeps on running up blind alleys and throwing poor passes. He is not ready to be an international 10. Weir should be playing not him

We are going to be humped by Ireland

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Post by BigGee on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:04 pm

https://www.theoffsideline.com/stand-off-vacancy-offers-opportunity-for-versatile-rory-hutchinson/

It looks like Hutch is being considered as the back up 10. He is certainly a more versatile sub than Duncy to have on the bench and you would imagine that Hastings will play the whole 80 mins unless he is injured anyway.

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Post by tigertattie on Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:18 pm

Can someone explain this whole Toonie is an innovative coach saying that keep a coming up?

What has he innovated?
Selecting a 6-2 bench split? Nope that wasn’t him.
Picking two 9s instead of a 9 and a 10? Nope
Playing with three fullbacks instead of wingers?
Having 3 number 8s In the backrow at one time?

All I can come up with is playing an 8 at centre
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Post by 123456789. on Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:52 pm

It's always a mistake to read too much into the pre-tournament interviews. Nonetheless Hutchinson is speaking about having trained at 10 and 12 with Scotland. Part of that may be a reflection of the fact we were down a 10 in training. That he is being trialled at 12 I see as a positive thing, if it means he'll be playing with Jones. If it means he's lining up Harris to stick at 13 it is not.

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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:56 pm

Didn't watch the game but apparently Northampton's midfield was fairly porous in their loss to LI at the weekend. Could be a black mark against Hutchinson given Toonie's desire for the strongest defence in the world!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:15 pm

So johnson harris to start, hutch covering FH from the bench and Steyn covering centre wing is my guess... god help us
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Post by BigGee on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:55 pm

https://www.theoffsideline.com/gregor-townsend-says-finn-russells-scotland-return-depends-on-living-up-to-the-teams-standards/

Toonie breaks his silence!

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Post by BigGee on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:57 pm

I have a feeling that FR might be sitting out the England game as well. It is going to take a little bit of time and effort to deal with this and as he says, it is just not his priority just now and will unlikely be next week as well.

Hopefully they can kiss and make up sometime over the fallow week.


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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:58 pm

Will be interesting to hear Russell's version of events now that Townsend has given his!

Really he would be best advised not to stir the pot now by contradicting Townsend, even if that means taking the moral high ground.

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Post by TJ on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:06 pm

The silence from Russell is telling to me

I do not think he will play for Scotland again whilst Townsend is coach.

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Post by BigGee on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:07 pm

RDW wrote:Will be interesting to hear Russell's version of events now that Townsend has given his!

Really he would be best advised not to stir the pot now by contradicting Townsend, even if that means taking the moral high ground.

Bit hard to take the moral high ground when you are the one who has been on the lash in camp!

Whatever his grievances or whatever was bothering him that night, he has caused the agenda all week. We should not have been talking about this to this extent the week before a very important rugby match, but we have and it is almost inconceivable that it has not effected other players in the squad.

It was going to be hard enough in Dublin already!

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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:09 pm

BigGee wrote:
RDW wrote:Will be interesting to hear Russell's version of events now that Townsend has given his!

Really he would be best advised not to stir the pot now by contradicting Townsend, even if that means taking the moral high ground.

Bit hard to take the moral high ground when you are the one who has been on the lash in camp!


Whatever his grievances or whatever was bothering him that night, he has caused the agenda all week. We should not have been talking about this to this extent the week before a very important rugby match, but we have and it is almost inconceivable that it has not effected other players in the squad.

It was going to be hard enough in Dublin already!
I was meaning if Russell thinks he's being hard done by and Towsnend is spinning the truth...

Russell is the only person that hasn't given his view in all this!

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Post by BigGee on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:17 pm

RDW wrote:
BigGee wrote:
RDW wrote:Will be interesting to hear Russell's version of events now that Townsend has given his!

Really he would be best advised not to stir the pot now by contradicting Townsend, even if that means taking the moral high ground.

Bit hard to take the moral high ground when you are the one who has been on the lash in camp!


Whatever his grievances or whatever was bothering him that night, he has caused the agenda all week. We should not have been talking about this to this extent the week before a very important rugby match, but we have and it is almost inconceivable that it has not effected other players in the squad.

It was going to be hard enough in Dublin already!
I was meaning if Russell thinks he's being hard done by and Towsnend is spinning the truth...

Russell is the only person that hasn't given his view in all this!

I am not sure he is spinning the truth though, all he gave us was a pretty factual line of events, did not go into detail what the conversation was about. I can't imagine that he would lie about a timeline that could easily be contradicted. The other stuff about team values etc is stuff that any coach, from school upward would preach in the same way. Gatland, Jones, Farrell, Cotter or Rennie would not have acted any differently if someone had acted up like that with them. If it was Cockers, I doubt they would ever play for Edinburgh again!

The one thing we still don't really know and probably only Finn can tell us is what was really bothering him that night and why it caused him to react like that.

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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:24 pm

BigGee wrote:
RDW wrote:
BigGee wrote:
RDW wrote:Will be interesting to hear Russell's version of events now that Townsend has given his!

Really he would be best advised not to stir the pot now by contradicting Townsend, even if that means taking the moral high ground.

Bit hard to take the moral high ground when you are the one who has been on the lash in camp!


Whatever his grievances or whatever was bothering him that night, he has caused the agenda all week. We should not have been talking about this to this extent the week before a very important rugby match, but we have and it is almost inconceivable that it has not effected other players in the squad.

It was going to be hard enough in Dublin already!
I was meaning if Russell thinks he's being hard done by and Towsnend is spinning the truth...

Russell is the only person that hasn't given his view in all this!

I am not sure he is spinning the truth though, all he gave us was a pretty factual line of events, did not go into detail what the conversation was about. I can't imagine that he would lie about a timeline that could easily be contradicted. The other stuff about team values etc is stuff that any coach, from school upward would preach in the same way. Gatland, Jones, Farrell, Cotter or Rennie would not have acted any differently if someone had acted up like that with them. If it was Cockers, I doubt they would ever play for Edinburgh again!

The one thing we still don't really know and probably only Finn can tell us is what was really bothering him that night and why it caused him to react like that.


You and your logic and reasoning!

All I'm saying is Finn is the only one who hasn't had his say, so it's not quite a closed book of events. If his version of events is different from reported he's probably best just letting it go if he values his Scotland career.

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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:38 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51272937

There's a bit more in the BBC article, talking up Hastings at the end. He said his performance against Exeter was the best he'd seen from a Scottish 10 in a few years!

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Post by TJ on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:54 pm

Was townsend watching the same game I was?

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Post by RDW on Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:58 pm

I think most people thought he played really well TJ. I know you don't rate him generally but he was very good. Yes he wasn't perfect by any means but neither was Finn Russell in his early days nor is he now!

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