Italy v Scotland Saturday 22nd February 2020

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Post by BigGee on Sat 15 Feb 2020, 5:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

Italy v Scotland
Stadio Olympico
Rome

Saturday 22nd February
KO 15.15


Well a very important game for both sides bearing in mind they are both two from two the wrong way around. The traditional wooden spoon game looks like it might be living up to its billing again.

Both sides have proved they can play a bit, Italy against France and Scotland against Ireland, but both have shown their lack of killer instinct as well. Scotland in particular have given a masterclass in wasted possession in their first two games.

Both teams will feel this is a game that that can and should win and the winner may come from whoever deals with the pressure of that the better. Scotland have started both games so far pretty well, which is one big positive you can take from the new Toonie era. It used to be traditional for us to give everyone a head start and then play catch up. If we get our noises in front a bit in this game, then I feel we will probably win quite comfortably. If it is close though, then it becomes anyone's game. In truth Italy should have won the last time we played in Rome and they easily could do so again.

So what about selection for this game?

We have lost twice now and so, despite playing well, some changes are appropriate. We may get some hints when we get a squad update probably tomorrow.

A few players showed some pretty good form last night in Glasgow. In Llanelli this afternoon, the weather made it more of a lottery again and it was difficult to see any standouts.

Johnny Gray is the only known injury from the first two rounds and he will now sit out the rest of the championship. Some of our other walking wounded will be back though, Skinner came through a game for Exeter on Friday night and Matt Fagerson was in barn storming form for Glasgow as well. Darcy Graham has been spotted training with Scotland again and shown doing so in social media postings.

I am hoping we may see a side out something like this:

1. Sutherland - an impressive couple of games in his international recall
2. McInally - has probably edged the battle of the hookers, but also has had wobbly darts
3. Fagerson Z - I think it is his shirt now
4. Skinner - good enough to come straight back in I think and can also cover the back row
5. Cummings - he us a talent and needs persevering with
6. Ritchie - not quite on WC form but been steady enough
7. Watson - Not been on best form yet, but has a lot of credit in the bank
8. Fagerson M - Bradbury did not play well and has been out of from, he deserves his chance
9. Horne G - in scintillating form on Friday night, a close call but he deserves his chance
10. Hastings - easiest call of all
11. Graham - would have played all three games if fit
12. Johnson - Good case for matt scott, but SJ may have been our best back in first two games
13. Jones H - Another very tight call, but may be worthy of one more crack
14. Kinghorn - a greater attacking threat than Maitland these days
15. Hogg - looked back in good form on Friday night

Subs

Dell - still lacking in options at LH
Turner - deserves a chance, had a great game on Friday night
Nel - Berghan was poor against England, so the old boy is not done yet
Craig - this seems like the game to try him out, he looks a talent as well
Gordon - this is a tight call as Haining also played well today and the choice may come down to tactics, another dynamic player or a carrier? would be happy with either
Price - touch and go with Horne
Hutchinson - deserves a decent run out this time around and can over FH and both centres
Maitland - covers the back three


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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:14 pm

Well a win's a win, and I'll never take a routine win in Rome for granted, but that really was awful.

There were a lot of positives from Scotland - breakdown and defence in particular - but still so many frustrations.

The bench was disappointing - we became worse when they came on which is never a good result from your bench.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:14 pm

Nothing for France or Wales to worry about there. Still, that's the Spoon avoided. Two pretty poor sides. Watson, Ritchie and a flash of brilliance from Hogg the difference.

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:18 pm

Duty281 wrote:How many more games of Italian uselessness must be endured before they are finally removed from the competition? It’s effectively a bye week for any side who has to play them.

Less of that please. Scotland need Italy in the competition
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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:20 pm

McGeechan saying it as it is - Hastings didn't play well.

We need Finn back..

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:22 pm

Italy nilled again. Is this a sign of the next generation of southern refs just ignoring the laws they dont like?!

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Post by TJ on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:24 pm

Don't be too hard on Hastings - yes a bit of a mixed bag but he is a young player still learning his trade.

Selections are the issue. Not enough creativity in the backs - simple as that. Townsend picked very conservatively and this is the result. G Horne should have been the starter in the WC and since. He adds so much. WE cannot afford to be without our best players and for different reasons 4 of our 6 class acts were not starting. G. Horne, Big Ritchie, Russell, Jones. ( not including Graham and ickle Jonny who are broken)

Positives - few - Watson and Ritchie immense, Toolis shored up the lineout. Hornito showed again what class he is in the 20 mins he got. couple of good tackles leading to turnovers, one nice break




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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:24 pm

From an Italy point of view, very few positives to take from that. They showed some good broken attacking play but the rest of their game was really poor.

21 turnovers is an embarrassment!

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:29 pm

TJ wrote:Don't be too hard on Hastings - yes a bit of a mixed bag but he is a young player still learning his trade.

Selections are the issue.  Not enough creativity in the backs - simple as that.  Townsend picked very conservatively  and this is the result.  G Horne should have been the starter in the WC and since.  He adds so much.  WE cannot afford to be without our best players and for different reasons 4 of our 6 class acts were not starting.  G. Horne, Big Ritchie, Russell, Jones.  ( not including Graham and ickle Jonny who are broken)

Positives - few - Watson and Ritchie immense, Toolis shored up the lineout.  Hornito showed again what class he is in the 20 mins he got.  couple of good tackles leading to turnovers, one nice break




He's 23 and has 19 caps now, and has been a pro for 5 years - starting to push it to be using that excuse! Especially playing against a poor team like Italy when we had so much ball

We're not expecting him to be a world beater already and yes he's got more developing to do, but he was really poor.

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Post by TJ on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:36 pm

I agree he was poor. I said right when the Russell fiasco kicked off I would rather be playing Weir. He is playing well and has the experience needed.

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 4:42 pm

TJ wrote:I agree he was poor.  I said right when the Russell fiasco kicked off I would rather be playing Weir.  He is playing well and has the experience needed.

Joking aside I think Weir would have been a good option off the bench - he would have added control when we needed it. Hastings looked a bit short on ideas.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:02 pm

Well, looks like we're stuck with Toonie until 2023.

He'll point to the score and say we nilled them, despite, by the sounds of it, a pretty crap display, though clearly not as crap as italy. I dont know if i can cope with 4 more years of attacking dross. If Toonie is to stay, we need an attack coach who understands the DNA of successful scottish attack and toonie needs to step back and let the proper coaches do their job.
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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:04 pm

Another strange post game interview from Toonie - he singled out Fagerson for his aggression in defence off the bench. Again what game was he watching??

He was completely underpowered in attack and defence - it really wasn't a good impact

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:21 pm

That was our equal biggest ever win in Rome, our largest away win against in the Six Nations for eighteen years. So why does it feel so underwhelming?

The Pros

- Hamish Watson
Not a huge amount to say, he is just very good. If the Lions went this summer I'd have him at 7, with Faletau at 6 and Vunipola at 8
-Stuart Hogg
Tough couple of weeks for him, that try was his best for quite a few years.
- The Defence
Say what you like about Italy but it's still an impressive feat to nil a team away from home in the Six Nations

Cons
-The Performance
It was really, really poor today. They just seemed out of time with one another. Tries were left on the pitch. I am not convinced that Ritchie has what it takes at this level.
- Hastings
Almost a virtuoso performance at bad game management coupled with a shocker from the tee. He is 23 and has played a few games now. But, in his defence, most of them have been friendlies against Tier 2 opposition. Sexton was 24 when he made his debut for Ireland and 26 when he became first choice. Hastings will come good but for the time-being it is not tenable to have one player trusted in a given position.
-Townsend
Probably books Toonie into a job for the next couple of years.

Italy

That's them on track for 27 defeats on the trot, you'd expect them to lose all five next year playing us in Edinburgh. Since 2013 when they beat France and Ireland in the same year they've won one from 33. Barring a miracle you'd expect that to hit one from forty. I've long been an advocate for keeping them in the tournament. Scotland were really, really poor today. Italy were at home. They were nowhere near. Something has to change.

I'm not an advocate for removing them outright. I don't think that helps the tournament from a financial standpoint. Italy leaving the tournament means five fewer matches. In turn five fewer matches means a twenty percent reduction in ticket sales across two seasons for each other side, a twenty percent reduction in sales of alcohol and food, in turn impacting the local businesses. It also reduces the Six Nations active population by 60 million. Ireland, Wales and Scotland are comfortably better sides but their collective market is less than a quarter of Italy's.

From a PR perspective, booting Italy and going down to five teams is horrendous for the traditional sides. The Six Nations is key for the FIR financially, if their finances go down the drain so too will Zebre and Treviso. Removing them from the Pro14 and Italy from the Six Nations would torch rugby in an entire nation. I don't see the benefit of that. We all like watching rugby and it would mean less of it. Replacing them with Georgia is the a commonly suggested solution. It is worth noting that Georgia have an even worse record on their few chances than Italy. Between 1995 and 2000, Italy beat France and Scotland once apiece. Ireland consistently had the worst record in the nineties of the Five Nations and Italy beat them comfortably three times. Georgia have done nothing like that. There's no sign that they'd be more competitive than the Italians. From a wider sense, they are hardly an upgrade on Italy. Italy has a population of 60 million. Georgia just over three million. The flight time from London to Tbilisi is 6 hours, that's hardly weekend away territory. From London to Rome is 2.5 hours. Rome is a city with more history than almost any other. It is of international renown, Tbilisi is less so. I can't see that a straight swap makes any sense whatsoever.

I think the solution may be to invite Georgia to the tournament for 2021 and 2022 with defined parameters for success: that if they lose all ten fixtures they will probably be ejected and should have to wait at least for four years for another opportunity. If the other six teams believe it is in their interests to extend or make permanent the experiment there's no reason that they couldn't. That way we could assess where Italy are relative to Georgia currently. It would reward Georgia's success in the lower tournaments. It would add a dimension with regard to the battle to avoid finishing bottom and bring in a new style of rugby in a new part of the world. If it is a success then it allows for a new dimension if Russia progress in rugby terms in the coming years. If in two years it is deemed that it damages the product then it can be easily remedied. It's not a perfect solution but I don't think a perfect solution exists. The obvious is that if they had known how it would pan out twenty years ago they wouldn't have admitted Italy but we are where we are.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:27 pm

Don't agree on Ritchie. I think he looks very much at home in international rugby, and has been very consistent. He's great over the ball, aggressive in defence and useful ball in hand in the loose. He will get better as well.

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:30 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:Don't agree on Ritchie. I think he looks very much at home in international rugby, and has been very consistent. He's great over the ball, aggressive in defence and useful ball in hand in the loose. He will get better as well.

Agreed - Ritchie was excellent. I think he's better at 7 but he's not going to play there whenever Watson is around!

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Post by TJ on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:41 pm

On Italy staying in the 6N

I think the thing to do is to have a playoff - bottom of 6N v Top of 6N b.

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:42 pm

France showing Scotland how to shore up your defence without losing your attacking ability. They're just as dangerous in attack but are so much tougher in defence.

We've only given up 2 tries in 3 games which is excellent, but we've completely sacrificed our entire attacking ability to do so!

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 5:46 pm

Today our attack wasn’t working because Hastings was having a shocker. The forwards didn’t trust him to get the ball. And Ali price was crap again

For me we also need another distributor at 12. Johnson isn’t international quality for me. He’s fast becoming a one season man.
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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:07 pm

TJ wrote:On Italy staying in the 6N

I think the thing to do is to have a playoff - bottom of 6N v Top of 6N b.  

My only issue with that is you just recreate the English Premiership dilemma. In England there are 13 teams that can achieve the base level to play at the top table. Each year one drops down and the other comes up. With all the issues of financing in the mean time. The rugby at the bottom level is incredibly negative come the end of the season. If Italy came to Murrayfield on the last weekend with millions of pounds at stake then the game will be a nervy slog. Georgia have won eight from the last nine Six Nations B. Italy have got the wooden spoon six out of the last nine times. A play-off would amount to an annual fixture between Italy and Georgia with odd appearances from ourselves and Romania occasionally appearing. Scotland against Romania would be pretty much pointless as a contest. Why not welcome Georgia to the party for two years to test the water? If they are nowhere near and they damage the product then give them the boot. If they're close extend their participation. No one loses out from trying.

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:12 pm

Again with Georgia???

Scotland went there before the World Cup and humped them.

If Scotland are humping you, you know yer knickers
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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:21 pm

Want to know what is bonkers?

As it stands, and if Ireland beat England tomorrow (possible), we’ll be sitting third in the table.

Go figure
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Post by Eejit on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:26 pm

No doubt the combined Edinburgh brain trust on these boards will use this to call for even more east coast rubbish to plague our national team.

What’s Phil Godman doing these days.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:39 pm


Another strange post game interview from Toonie - he singled out Fagerson for his aggression in defence off the bench. Again what game was he watching??

This tournament makes me think of the fable about the window salesman going around and smashing windows then telling them they need new windows. Toonie has resolved some of the problems he's created but the one remaining problem with our team is the one he's allocated himself to manage. Yet he points to the stuff he fixed that only started to become a big problem under him.
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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:44 pm

Watching France against Wales it is quite obvious that we can beat both of them but we almost certainly won't.

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:54 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:

Another strange post game interview from Toonie - he singled out Fagerson for his aggression in defence off the bench. Again what game was he watching??

This tournament makes me think of the fable about the window salesman going around and smashing windows then telling them they need new windows. Toonie has resolved some of the problems he's created but the one remaining problem with our team is the one he's allocated himself to manage. Yet he points to the stuff he fixed that only started to become a big problem under him.

A very good point!

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 6:57 pm

Eejit wrote:No doubt the combined Edinburgh brain trust on these boards will use this to call for even more east coast rubbish to plague our national team.

What’s Phil Godman doing these days.

Ali price needs binned. But wee George is a Glasgow player so you can’t argue with that

Matt Fagerson shouldn’t be picked until he gets much much better

Cummings was a shadow of the player he’s held up to be

Zander had a bad day at the office (he still has some credit left)

Hastings was awful. I’d not drop him as it will kill his confidence. Weir needs to bench though so Hastings knows he can’t be as bad again or he’s off.

Sam Johnson is living off beginners luck from last 6ns.

Just so it’s not all anti-Glasgow, Bradbury was bad. Ryan Wilson bad.
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Post by Eejit on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:03 pm

tigertattie wrote:
Eejit wrote:No doubt the combined Edinburgh brain trust on these boards will use this to call for even more east coast rubbish to plague our national team.

What’s Phil Godman doing these days.

Ali price needs binned. But wee George is a Glasgow player so you can’t argue with that

Matt Fagerson shouldn’t be picked until he gets much much better

Cummings was a shadow of the player he’s held up to be

Zander had a bad day at the office (he still has some credit left)

Hastings was awful. I’d not drop him as it will kill his confidence. Weir needs to bench though so Hastings knows he can’t be as bad again or he’s off.

Sam Johnson is living off beginners luck from last 6ns.

Just so it’s not all anti-Glasgow, Bradbury was bad. Ryan Wilson bad.

When did you get so reasonable?

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:05 pm

Two Thursdays ago Very Happy
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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:20 pm

My player ratings:

Sutherland - 7

Destroyed his opposite number, but fairly quiet in the loose

McInally - 6.5

Much improved lineout and a few good carries

Fagerson - 6.5

Quite game after a good start to the tournament. Similar to Sutherland good in the scrum bit struggled to get involved in the loose.

Toolis - 7

I questioned his selection but thought he had a good game. Huge work rate and good work in the lineouts.

Cummings - 7

Contrary to tattie I think he had a good game. Always willing as s carrier and brought loads of energy around the pitch.

Ritchie - 7.5

A key part of our dismantling of their breakdown. Really strong performance after a quiet few games.

Watson - 9 heart

The man crush is very real! Would love to see how many turnovers he got, and was his usual dynamic self with the ball. Superb performance.

Bradbury - 6

An improvement from last week but still nowhere near where he needs to be, and where we all think he can get to. Not sure what's going on with him, but he at least looked more interested today.

Price - 6

Townsend has clearly decided he's first choice but his performances aren't backing it up. Another box kick into touch and more poor decisions. Guilty of a knock on that ruined out attack before HT


Hastings - 4

His worst performance for Scotland. Bad goal kicking, aimless kicking from hand, no control of the game and looked like he'd run out of ideas.

Kinghorn - 6

Tried to get involved but was limited to playing off scraps. Not a winger!

Johnson - 6

Solid enough but not contributing like he did last 6N.

Harris - 6.5

Much maligned but one of our better backs. Organised in defence and took his try well.

Maitland - 6.5

Another solid yet unspectacular performance. Gets another 0.5 for good work in the air.

Hogg - 7.5

Looks getting back to his attacking best with a scintillating try and huge boot.

Subs

Dell, Brown, Nel Gilchrist, Horne Hutchinson - 6

'Meh'. Little to no impact from our bench. Horne at least tried to up the pace.

Fagerson - 4

Smashed with the ball and missed tackle off the ball, and didn't do much else. Very much didn't answer the concerns that he's just not big enough for this level.

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:42 pm

Maitland needs and extra 1/2 mark for his defence. Three times he saved a try or at least a very real opportunity for Italy to score. Twice wasn’t even on his wing but tracking across to cover for Hogg who had missed a tackle.

Cummings wasn’t as good as toolis either. I’m not questioning the laddie’s effort but his carrying was a bit weak and he gave away a couple of daft penalties. His chip and chase down the right hand side was a highlight but that was it.

Our issue still remains a lack of a destructive ball carrier (that isn’t Hamish Watson)
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:45 pm

We had the makings of one in haining, but Toonie wasnt a fan! 🤷‍�
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Post by R!skysports on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 7:48 pm

I am little surprised about the doom and gloom on our attack from everyone and the media

It was not long ago we were scoring tries for fun in the World Cup.

We have had ONE game where we did not score a try when we should have scored (Ireland)

The other against England is pointless counting as it was not a real match

We just scored 3 away tries while not playing well

Other things to consider but getting a little fed up of the panic in the trenches about our try scoring


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Post by Guest on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 8:11 pm

Congratulations to Scotland.

Unfortunately that was one of the worst six nations games I can remember seeing. It was a very poor standard of rugby and I wonder how

On the point about Italy though I think it is important to remember how much better the tournament is with everyone playing each week. I also think it's worth pointing out that Georgia lost comfortaly to Italy when they played and eventhough Italy had a poor world cup with the red card against south africa and no game against New Zealand, Georgia's case for joining the six nations was hurt by how poor they looked out in Japan. They were thumped by Fiji who are excellent players but are not a tournament team as evidenced by their result against Uruguay.

Georgia are closer in standard to Romania (and maybe even Russia) than they are to Italy. I would hate to see Italy leave the tournament for all sorts of reasons and 12345 again makes an excellent case on this basis. They do need to sort themselves out though. They have never really recovered from the European fiasco in 2013. In hindsight Conor O'Shea was not the right man to bring them on but he did do good work at the transition between amateur and professional and their youth teams show a lot of progress.

However Italy clearly need a coach who cares again. Not a French reject who will bring the worst aspects of the Top14. Not a British or Irish coach who will get lapped up by one of the home unions if they show any sort of consistent success in the Italy job. Now they have a coach who is only there part time. It has been a long, long time since Italy have had a coach who is there to give heart and soul to the national team job. O'Shea was more of a director for Italian rugby as far as I can tell. They could really do with an up and coming Kiwi or South African willing to prove themselves with fresh ideas that can bamboozle Scotland, Wales, and Ireland once in a while. Someone who can commit at least a 4 year cycle to the job but whose remit is to hold the players to account - and that means not accepting no six nations win in his tenure as O'Shea did. Maybe they need a transitional coach before that, someone who can prioritise skills rather than winning, but at the moment Italy lack any sort of cutting edge or game awareness. Minozzi is quite clearly the danger man in their team and yet he cuts a perpetually frustrated figure and only seems to get the ball when the rest of them, usually Canna and Allen, are out of ideas. There are probably too many players playing for the review sessions - just doing their job - and not enough really willing to bleed for the shirt. Ironically eventhough Sergio is now gone they could do with spreading some of his passion throughout the leadership team but if your side is made up of too many 'qualified' players and not enough natives maybe this is inevitable. It already looks like Jake Polledri might be carrying the Italians for the next few years but does he inspire and lead in the way Parrisse did? Italian rugby needs an Italian leadership group and at least one Italian star. And a dedicated, hungry coach with a long term goal. Someone like Milton Haig with Georgia for instance. Someone who sees a real project and legacy there in the way we thought O'Shea might have.

I would defend Italy's place in the six nations for so many reasons but mainly because one day they will come good but getting nilled at home is an absolutely atrocious result. Italian football is back after the scadals of a decade ago but rugby still has a big community presence in parts of the country. Georgia are still some way off Italy in all honesty and have less scope for improvement as a national side. Maybe Franco Smith is just trying to open their minds to more positive rugby and nothing more but this was a step back even from the first two games.

For Scotland? I don't know what to say. In terms of star quality there aren't many who come close to Hogg, are there? The last few weeks with Townsend giving several interviews about Russell is such a worrying sign. Gatland is the model of cool, calm, no nonsense male leadership. He dropped many Welsh greats before they were happy to go and did he ever show any hint of the decision being up for debate? His word was final and that was that and his comments to the media showed how in control he was. Townsend is having an argument with Russell through the proxy of the media. It's just awful and a sign of a weak man who is not a leader in any shape or form. He is clearly ambitious but also clearly lacks the ability to turn Scotland in to a winning unit that knows how and what to do when necessary. Scotland look like they will give a very flimsy Welsh team a game but they were probably fortunate to play England in such poor weather. They also need better half backs. Congratulations though and long-suffering Scottish fans at least you won't get the wooden spoon. I'm looking forward to the Murrayfield game now! Should be another cracker with two flawed teams going at it.

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 10:03 pm

In terms of Scottish stars, we have a few players with all the credentials to have star quality that just haven't broken through or struck up the consistency to get that epithet.
In terms of those who have star quality we have Hogg, Russell and Watson. Russell is obviously not around. Hogg seems to suffer from Wayne Rooney syndrome at World Cups whereby he takes it on himself to do everything and ends up falling short of his usual standard but we saw his best today with his finish. Obviously it was only Italy and we need to see him doing it again against the very, very best. Watson is consistently our best player and whilst he is in a competitive position I would not swap him for any openside in the Championship. Maitland is also normally solid and dependable, but he hasn't quite been there this season. No wonder really, his club situation is rocky and it's a bit more complicated for him than some of the English boys.
In terms of those with the potential to break through to star quality I think you can say McInally, Fagerson, Gray, Bradbury, Jones, Graham and Kinghorn sit in that category. McInally is very good but being captain and being dropped knocked him for six. Fagerson is young for his position and already has 22 caps, he suffers from the same problem as many Scottish players in that he seems a tad soft. Gray is another in that soft department. He has been sticking in performances of a similar standard for a few years now without going to the next level. Hopefully Exeter will toughen him up. Bradbury drifts in and out, when he drifts in he's very good, when he drifts out he's next to useless. Graham has been playing very well and this may well have been his breakout Six Nations if it weren't for injury. Kinghorn suffers from playing the same position as Hogg. Jones is the most frustrating. We know on his day he's world class. New Zealand in 2017 and England in 2018 being the case in point. He has gone completely off the boil. Not helped by the fact that Chris Harris is one of Toonie's favourites. Why, I don't know. His tackling is passive and his attack is blunt. There were a couple of times today when he was unbelievably static in possession and actively took the sting out of our attack.
I don't think we're a million miles from where you were pre-Gatland. A lot of players with the potential there to be unlocked that can't quite make it happen for one reason or another. It is beyond me that the SRU is the person that can change that when all the evidence suggests the contrary. We have a cohort that need to toughen up or need to stop being messed about by their coaches, and quite often both.

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Post by R!skysports on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 10:22 pm

Just watching the wales match and the white line fever wales had at the end of the first half as bad as ours and they had a man over.

Looking forward to the press focusing in them now

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Post by Gooseberry on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 10:22 pm

Some of these posts are longer than the average Scotland coaches careers

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 11:03 pm

Well done Scotland that could well have been three more tries today

Good result and I like the way you played. Good work on nilling italy

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Post by Cyril on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 11:19 pm

Just watched the game. What an awful spectacle. It will keep Townsend alive for the moment, but jeez it was a horrible game.

Italy must be removed from this tournament as soon as is legally possible. They are beyond bad and need to be nowhere near the 6 Nations.


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Post by SecretFly on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 11:21 pm

maestegmafia wrote:Well done Scotland that could well have been three more tries today


Well there certainly might have been at least one more try had Hogg not tried to one more time hog the limelight.
Scotland's Parisse - if your team mates can help you out, just hold onto the ball instead and take the glory.
Electric player but often mucho selfish.  And I'm not referring to his brilliant try.

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Post by SecretFly on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 11:25 pm

Cyril wrote:Just watched the game. What an awful spectacle. It will keep Townsend alive for the moment, but jeez it was a horrible game.

Italy must be removed from this tournament as soon as is legally possible. They are beyond bad and need to be nowhere near the 6 Nations.



#keepitsixforthechix

Oh you sexist bastereaude, Fly!!!!

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Post by 123456789. on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 2:03 am

When I was at school there was a book in the library about the history of rugby union that my friends and I pored over in our first couple of years. In the bit on the Six Nations the picture was of a Scottish winger flying down the touchline and in the crowd was the most beautiful girl we'd ever seen. I managed to convince one of my mates that I knew her, which you might think gives you an idea as to how small English people think Scotland is as a country. However it would be unfair to suggest that he was a fair reflection on English people generally as he was hardly the brains trust. He was the kicker on our team. One game we had a particularly crusty referee. The sort who would bleat about rugby's values having never played the game himself. He ran a strict no swearing policy. One of the opposition swore and he gave us a penalty in front of the posts, a kick to go ahead with 10 minutes to go. Calling the captains from both sides over and issuing the ultimatum that the next person to swear was off. So my friend comes forward and dutifully knocks the ball over to put us in the driving seat. He turns to the referee, looks him in the eye and, with all the enthusiasm he can muster, shouts "f**k yeah".

Anyway the initial point I was trying to make was that the pin-up girl up our dreams for about 8 or 9 days was a girl from the Murrayfield crowd.

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Post by BigGee on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 7:11 am

Well its been a great weekend in Rome and myself and the thousands of Scottish fans here would likely all agree that this is a tradition that should continue. It has become one of the great 6N journeys now, so much to see snd do and to est and drink.

Rugby wise i do think Italy will get there eventually, they are not a million miles away now and just need to trust their good young players.

The match itself was very nervy and we never got awsy from them enough to relax. If we hsd taken any of our esrlier chances then i think we would have gained confidence and probably built a score.

Still we needed a win and we got won. Lets see whst it does to the tesm for the rest of the tournament. The pressure was huge before the game and it will have been releived a littke bit now.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 9:27 am

Aye dont see the point in all this "kick italy out" talk. They've had a tough few years of transition but have, historically won and drawn games against all the teams bar England. Looking at their U20 and their young players they could be pretty competitive in the next couple of seasons and cause an upset or two, given the right coach (shame VC went to Fiji he would have suited them well).

As for Scotland. A wins a win and the SRU bosses are probably penning Toonie an extension until 2030 knowing them. Disagree with Risky about the panic in the trenches regarding tries, I think its a very legitimate concern. When your team arent finishing 90% of their attacking play then you need to be worried, and the gameplan obviously needs simplification because i think what is apparent is uncertainty creates mistakes, and this side have uncertainty in bucketloads.

We should be aiming for at least 50% completion, especially at international where chances are few and far between but even more especially when we have a game like that where we have the lions share of chances.

I really think the SRU need to look at bringing in an attack coach and pushing Toonie back to a management role if he must stay. All the aspects of our game that have improved, scrum, defence etc are as a result of other coaches. All areas that have gone backwards, ie attack are the sole responsibility of Toonie, not because he's head coach but he insisted on taking on the role of attack coach. Bring in an o'halloran figure and give him freedom over attack and I think we'd be there. The irony is the thing thats holding us back right now is our attack, and therefore falls under Toonie, but the thing that saved his job, defence, was not even down to him but the excellent work of Tandy. I'm not up for another 4 years of Robboball reborn, I'd sooner have Sean Lineen come in as an interim coach.
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Post by Gooseberry on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 9:43 am

NeilyBroon wrote:Aye dont see the point in all this "kick italy out" talk.

Scotland fans wouldnt would they

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 9:52 am

Well it doesnt really add anything to European rugby by taking them out, Gooseberry, just as your comment didnt really add anything to the conversation.
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Post by RDW on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 10:44 am

The 'panic in the trenches' isn't based on 3 games - it's based on the entire 6N last year, the WC and the last 3 games! This isn't a new thing by any means. We've been struggling in the opposition 22 for a long time now.

Hopefully with the pressure off we can cut loose a bit more. I can see the France game being a high scoring one!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 10:56 am

Hm I cant see france being high scoring. Edwards has had our number almost every time and I can see us maybe scoring a few penalties and a try but getting smothered for the majority of the game. France will just power it when they get opportunity in our 22, I reckon 13-20 or something along those lines. Given I thought pre tournament France would win the GS it wouldnt be a bad result by any stretch and I think France are one of those weird teams that are just as likely to win away as they are at home, if anything I think they play better without the weight of the Stade on their backs. We wont beat wales at the principality but will have more scoring opportunity, whether this translates to points is down to Toonie letting the players play. It will be a very frustrating few weeks!


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Post by whocares on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 10:59 am

Any chance of Finn being back for the France game?

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Post by RDW on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 11:02 am

whocares wrote:Any chance of Finn being back for the France game?

After Hastings' performance I'd like to see him back, but chances are slim to none.

It will take Finn to publicly apologies and step down from his viewpoint, and that's not gonna happen!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 23 Feb 2020, 11:02 am

Doubtful. Not exactly any positive noises from either side, unless something is happening behind closed doors.

I think as long as Toonie is coach, Finn wont want to play for Scotland. Also its hard to say if the other players would be too happy with Finn making an apology then getting straight into the 23. If he returns it'll be after the 6Ns.
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