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 Tattie Scones RRN on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:30 pm

BigGee wrote:Well I am flying off to Rome tomorrow morning and so have been keeping a close eye on the weather.

It looks very much like it is going to be warm, sunny and dry, perfect conditions really, so no weather related excused this time around. You would hope that would suit us!

Me too....(Friday outbound though). At least we'll get a tan!

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Post by Eejit on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:32 pm

Just to be safe I think I might pull a few Italians into my fantasy 6N side...

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Post by BigGee on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:34 pm

Tattie Scones RRN wrote:
BigGee wrote:Well I am flying off to Rome tomorrow morning and so have been keeping a close eye on the weather.

It looks very much like it is going to be warm, sunny and dry, perfect conditions really, so no weather related excused this time around. You would hope that would suit us!

Me too....(Friday outbound though). At least we'll get a tan!

Rome is always a great weekend, but some sunshine and hopefully a Scotland win will hopefully take it to the next level!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:39 pm

BigGee wrote:
Tattie Scones RRN wrote:
BigGee wrote:Well I am flying off to Rome tomorrow morning and so have been keeping a close eye on the weather.

It looks very much like it is going to be warm, sunny and dry, perfect conditions really, so no weather related excused this time around. You would hope that would suit us!

Me too....(Friday outbound though). At least we'll get a tan!

Rome is always a great weekend, but some sunshine and hopefully a Scotland win will hopefully take it to the next level!

Not to worry if they don't you can always grab yourself a pint of creme de menthe!
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Post by Tattie Scones RRN on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:47 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:
BigGee wrote:
Tattie Scones RRN wrote:
BigGee wrote:Well I am flying off to Rome tomorrow morning and so have been keeping a close eye on the weather.

It looks very much like it is going to be warm, sunny and dry, perfect conditions really, so no weather related excused this time around. You would hope that would suit us!

Me too....(Friday outbound though). At least we'll get a tan!

Rome is always a great weekend, but some sunshine and hopefully a Scotland win will hopefully take it to the next level!

Not to worry if they don't you can always grab yourself a pint of creme de menthe!

Laugh Laugh Laugh

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Post by BigGee on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 1:56 pm

The Pope's favourite tipple so we are lead to beleive🤢

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Post by bsando on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 2:09 pm

Happy to see McInally back, hopefully he’ll throw well and do a good job in the loose.

You just know this going to be a nervy game. I will be very surprised if Scotland lead at halftime by more than 10.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 2:22 pm

Very nervy it will be.

I obviously want Scotland to win but I don't want a scraped victory to scrape Toony out of his current situation. If we win we have to win properly, otherwise Toonies tenure is just unsustainble. If, for example, we squeak past with 19-17 with Italy having lead for most of the game or we just about manage with a last gasp try, that for me would still be curtains for Toonie. What I expect though is that the SRU will say post 6Ns,

"It's fine, we still beat everyone ranked below us (... just Italy then), we had very tough games against tough opposition (where we had the lions share of posession in the oppos 22 and failed to capitalise on about 20 opportunities and could have won if our attack had been as effective as under the previous coach), so we still believe Gregor is doing a good job considering the circumstances - just look at how good our defence is!"

When I think about it like that, I almost don't want us to win...
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Post by tigertattie on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 3:16 pm

You've got to wonder what Haining is doing in training to be completely dropped from th squad.

Mrs Bradbury's laddie has been honking and Fagerson has shown on more than one occasion that he's just not up to it at International level (he’s also shown it a few times at club level too)

You also need to wonder what Huw Jones has done to be dropped. Unless Toonie has said to him from the outset that he'd be rested for Italy to keep him fresh for Les Blues and those pesky Welsh laddies.

This game has narrow Scottish win written all over it!
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Post by jimbopip on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 3:40 pm

tigertattie wrote:You've got to wonder what Haining is doing in training to be completely dropped from th squad. Probably nothing. But he can't be a nailed on starter after one and a bit games, can he?

Mrs Bradbury's laddie has been honking and Fagerson has shown on more than one occasion that he's just not up to it at International level (he’s also shown it a few times at club level too) We seem to be slightly schizophrenic about the English match; on one hand we say it was a complete outlier and can't judge players on it (Hamish, No Maits) but then want to drop players who underperformed. For what it's worth, Not A Pony missed four tackles iirc in that match and for a player whose defence is currently under scrutiny that is not a good day at the office. Also, we can't moan about the lack of a ball carrier in the back row and then ignore someone who puts in a performance like Fagerson did against Zebre.

You also need to wonder what Huw Jones has done to be dropped. Unless Toonie has said to him from the outset that he'd be rested for Italy to keep him fresh for Les Blues and those pesky Welsh laddies. I think in terms of keeping the squad fresh Toonie may have pencilled in resting one or two this weekend...but it is a must win. If Shug missed four tackles and we lost Crying or Very sad

This game has narrow Scottish win written all over it!I think it will either be implosion and Gee and Tattie will look like Munch's Scream or it will be Russia and Samoa at the World Cup. No middle ground.

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Post by tigertattie on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 5:31 pm

Fagerson making hay vs Zebre is like me getting a motm award while playing against the Gorbals Ladies 3rd XV.

Zebre are knickers and they played knickers in that game. Time and time again, when fagerson comes up against more robust/competent/larger players, he folds quicker than an origami grand master posting away his winning lottery claim form.
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Post by sensisball on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 5:46 pm

It has been said, time and again, by most posters on here that Glichrist isn't a good bench option. Yet there he is once again, as I predicted ( just saying!).i would prefer GG starting and Toolis as the bench option as he offers more around the park once the game has opened up a bit.
Bradbury needs the game of his life to justify his selection. If Parisse ( well past his best) is picked for his final cap that could be a pivotal match up if the Italian scrum holds its own. Why no Skinner? Apparently had a good run out for Exeter last weekend. Covers 4 and 6 and 8 ( in emergency).

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Post by BigGee on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 6:07 pm

Skinner has been out a long time snx last weekend was his first proper game, off the bench.

Probably not fair to chuck him in if not quite there yet. Lessons from the WC and all that.

Let him have a proper run out with Exeter this weekend and hopefully he plays against France.

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Post by sensisball on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 6:20 pm

Fair enough re Skinner. But why McGuigan? A small, lightweight man with bad tattoos had rarely been the answer in the past, why yet again is he chosen as our impact back three? I suppose with Darcy not fit and Seymour's retirement he is deemed to be the least worst option. I would have given Steyn a go, at least he can run over people as well as round them.

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Post by BigGee on Wed 19 Feb 2020, 6:40 pm

McGuigan is much maligned but apparently has some of yhe best wingers Stats jn the premiership

Experience has won out here. I think Toonie might have been braver in his decesion making if we were not 2 from 2.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 5:57 am

Well it'll be interesting. I always hope the boys win but feeling a sense of dread like in the first 5 minutes against Ireland at the WC. We look even worse in attack now.

I really think Italy will target this game, and if we continue not scoring then it'll be a long afternoon... italy will be looking at our breakdown in the red zone as a means of defense, we made the english and irish defences look like world beaters. Funny how only a few changes can make me so nervous. Toony just has it wrong. I hope I'm proved wrong and we have a strong end to the tournament with good attacking play but I fear I wont be. At best this will plaster over the cracks, at worst it will be Toonies "notice of resignation"
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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 7:54 am

Glad I’m not the only one scratching my head at Haining being dropped, I can’t fathom that one at all!

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Post by bsando on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 8:47 am

I hope we see a fast start like the previous two games. Johnson's tackle on May straight out the traps was awesome against England! I'd like to see that same sort of intensity.

Strangely, I think Scotland may not want a loose and open game. Italy's offloading has been superb so far in the tournament and broken play probably suits them more than it does for Scotland. Bring on Horne and Hutchinson and that changes, but I think Toonie's plan is still to execute an accurate kicking game to gain territory and apply pressure in the right areas of the field.

My pre game thoughts are.. 1) will we see Hogg continue to be kicking the ball a lot? 2) Will our backrow be more disciplined at the breakdown and will they win more turnover ball? 3) Will we see an improved set piece, particularly lineouts and driving mauls? 4) Will Scotland create and finish chances inside the 22 and ditch the continuous pick and go's to build a more unpredictable attacking platform?

On Italy... Calum Braley has completed 159 passes so far this tournament whilst Ali Price has made 118. Three Italian players are in the top 5 for offloads. Minozzi is leading the way with 8 to his name. Liekwise, two Italians in the top 5 for meters made. Scotland need to be prepared for an Italian attacking and offloading game. The Scottish defence must be absolutely solid at ruck time and out wide on the fringes. The likes of Steyn and Budd have been popping up on the wings to collect offloads so you'd hope Scotland are prepared for this. Likewise at ruck time, Scotland can't just expect to make tackles and for a ruck to be formed. Italy will look to offload and take Scottish defenders out of the equation to open up space for support runners.

Canna has so far been used as an Owen Farrell type 12 and they often pass quite deep to him so he can feed the backs before a rush defence can get up. It hasn't really worked that well so far and has seen Italy get pushed back quite a lot, losing territory. So if Scotland can get up quickly and shut down the Italian attack they should force some silly mistakes.

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Post by jimbopip on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 9:54 am

Good points there bsando, especially about Canna. The Italian scrum half has made more passes than Aldi Price but almost all of them go to Tomaso Allen. They play everything off him, with as you say Canna as a second distributor. So what you want is a back row that is fast enough and nippy enough to get in Allen's face while the centres blitz Canna. However, if the Italians can get the ball away from the rush defence their wingers are rapid.
It's also worth noting that according to SquidgeRugby the Italian scrum half has box kicked TWICE in the opening two games. They prefer to pass deep to TA and allow him to kick for territory. I think our back three need to be brave here and run it back when it's on. Hogg and Blarehorn have a good kicking game but our inability to score from close range, especially from line outs in the opposition 22, probably means that running from deep is our best chance.
Italy remind me of Glasgow in Toonie's early days; lots of off loads, looking to get outside defences as quickly as possible, athletic forwards supporting strike runners. Toonie and his coaches should be well prepared for this tye of game.

47-22 to Scotland say I. Braveheart

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 10:25 am

Id take that biggee, lets hope mr defence has an inspired game in attack!

I think itll be a score and both sides will score 2
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Post by tigertattie on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 10:49 am

Ah come on now Jimbo. 47 points when we've failed to cross the line so far this 6Ns?

Would be nice to see but I'm still going for my narrow Scottish win.

18-23 to us.
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Post by 123456789. on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:08 am

I’m quite ambivalent about this game, I always want Scotland to win and that won’t change on Saturday. But this is very much a Townsend selection. If he fails to win because he think Harris is a better player than Jones and Hutchinson then that reflects poorly on him as a coach. Same with Toolis over Gilchrist and Skinner. Same with McGuigan on the bench. If we lose on Saturday time’s up and he’ll have nowhere to point the finger.

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Post by jimbopip on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:13 am

I can see what you're saying, Numbers, but if the Italian attack is predicated on concertina-ing the defence (through off loads and quick ball from 12) then the last thing you want is a 13 whose defence is the weakest part of his game.
Hutch, I don't know about but he's been in camp a while now and Toonie doesn't feel ready for him. He may live or die by that decision.

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Post by George Carlin on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:26 am

jimbopip wrote:Flounder, I'm not too sure what you mean by,

I've been a fan and champion of Toolis throughout his career, but I'm genuinely surprised he's been seen as 3rd choice this 6N!

Like you, I'm a fan of Toolis but; I'd have Ickle Jonny in before him in terms of tackling, Cummings in terms of lines of running and go forward, Skinner in terms of all round abrasiveness and grunt. Mind, I'd have Toolis well before even considering Gilchrist. Pipettoe has just looked over my shoulder and said, "You haven't said anything nasty about Gilchrist. Why not? Are you feeling OK?"

I suppose it's all about the balance of the front five. Will Toolis -Cummings dominate the tight exchanges? Mind you, we're all still waiting for Jonny Gray to step out of his, "Lads, I made 45 tackles in 80 mimutes and haven't missed a tackle since 1973! " shell and actually start dominating games a la Alun Wynn Jones or even Al Kellock (at club level).

If Toolis stops our line out being as flimsy as GC's expenses claims then he deserves his place in the team.
Look, I've already explained that the massage was for medical reasons. All of them were, in fact.
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Post by tigertattie on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:37 am

George Carlin wrote:
jimbopip wrote:Flounder, I'm not too sure what you mean by,

I've been a fan and champion of Toolis throughout his career, but I'm genuinely surprised he's been seen as 3rd choice this 6N!

Like you, I'm a fan of Toolis but; I'd have Ickle Jonny in before him in terms of tackling, Cummings in terms of lines of running and go forward, Skinner in terms of all round abrasiveness and grunt. Mind, I'd have Toolis well before even considering Gilchrist. Pipettoe has just looked over my shoulder and said, "You haven't said anything nasty about Gilchrist. Why not? Are you feeling OK?"

I suppose it's all about the balance of the front five. Will Toolis -Cummings dominate the tight exchanges? Mind you, we're all still waiting for Jonny Gray to step out of his, "Lads, I made 45 tackles in 80 mimutes and haven't missed a tackle since 1973! " shell and actually start dominating games a la Alun Wynn Jones or even Al Kellock (at club level).

If Toolis stops our line out being as flimsy as GC's expenses claims then he deserves his place in the team.
Look, I've already explained that the massage was for medical reasons. All of them were, in fact.

depends what was being massaged!
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Post by SecretFly on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:45 am

tigertattie wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
jimbopip wrote:Flounder, I'm not too sure what you mean by,

I've been a fan and champion of Toolis throughout his career, but I'm genuinely surprised he's been seen as 3rd choice this 6N!

Like you, I'm a fan of Toolis but; I'd have Ickle Jonny in before him in terms of tackling, Cummings in terms of lines of running and go forward, Skinner in terms of all round abrasiveness and grunt. Mind, I'd have Toolis well before even considering Gilchrist. Pipettoe has just looked over my shoulder and said, "You haven't said anything nasty about Gilchrist. Why not? Are you feeling OK?"

I suppose it's all about the balance of the front five. Will Toolis -Cummings dominate the tight exchanges? Mind you, we're all still waiting for Jonny Gray to step out of his, "Lads, I made 45 tackles in 80 mimutes and haven't missed a tackle since 1973! " shell and actually start dominating games a la Alun Wynn Jones or even Al Kellock (at club level).

If Toolis stops our line out being as flimsy as GC's expenses claims then he deserves his place in the team.
Look, I've already explained that the massage was for medical reasons. All of them were, in fact.

depends what was being massaged!

Don't be dirty minded, tiger! It was only a head massage...........

Whistle

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 12:00 pm

SecretFly wrote:
tigertattie wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
jimbopip wrote:Flounder, I'm not too sure what you mean by,

I've been a fan and champion of Toolis throughout his career, but I'm genuinely surprised he's been seen as 3rd choice this 6N!

Like you, I'm a fan of Toolis but; I'd have Ickle Jonny in before him in terms of tackling, Cummings in terms of lines of running and go forward, Skinner in terms of all round abrasiveness and grunt. Mind, I'd have Toolis well before even considering Gilchrist. Pipettoe has just looked over my shoulder and said, "You haven't said anything nasty about Gilchrist. Why not? Are you feeling OK?"

I suppose it's all about the balance of the front five. Will Toolis -Cummings dominate the tight exchanges? Mind you, we're all still waiting for Jonny Gray to step out of his, "Lads, I made 45 tackles in 80 mimutes and haven't missed a tackle since 1973! " shell and actually start dominating games a la Alun Wynn Jones or even Al Kellock (at club level).

If Toolis stops our line out being as flimsy as GC's expenses claims then he deserves his place in the team.
Look, I've already explained that the massage was for medical reasons. All of them were, in fact.

depends what was being massaged!

Don't be dirty minded, tiger!  It was only a head massage...........

Whistle

Oooo Matron
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Post by RDW on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 4:45 pm

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/sport/rugby/1155285/scotland-too-scared-to-lose/

The Courier isn't exactly renowned for its rugby journalism, but this is pretty spot on.

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Post by BigGee on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 4:51 pm

Reporting in from Rome

The weather here is just about perfect for a rugby match. This is one reason amongst many why Italy should stay in the 6N!

A great trip to lift the February blues, at keast until Scotland mess things up!

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Post by RDW on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 9:03 pm

Glad to see Parisee is saving his send off for the England game. He's nowhere near the player he used to be but can you imagine the galvanising effect he'd have on the team and fans.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 9:39 pm

RDW wrote:Glad to see Parisee is saving his send off for the England game. He's nowhere near the player he used to be but can you imagine the galvanising effect he'd have on the team and fans.

Bluntly?

No.

He's outstayed his importance. Should have gone maybe three years ago. The whole team has moved on and he just looks like a large young man who rather than going to college, repeats and repeats and repeats final year of school. He's out of place. A certain nobility would have been leaving his final exit to the WC as he had initially planned - we hear.


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Post by Gooseberry on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 9:51 pm

SecretFly wrote:
RDW wrote:Glad to see Parisee is saving his send off for the England game. He's nowhere near the player he used to be but can you imagine the galvanising effect he'd have on the team and fans.

Bluntly?

No.

He's outstayed his importance.  Should have gone maybe three years ago.  The whole team has moved on and he just looks like a large young man who rather than going to college, repeats and repeats and repeats final year of school.  He's out of place.  A certain nobility would have been leaving his final exit to the WC as he had initially planned -  we hear.


To be fair where they moved on to was even further down so whilst he may be past his best he fits in pretty well and at least gives the commentators something other than 2003 to talk about.

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Post by Cyril on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 10:20 pm

For some time Parisse has reminded me of Brian Glover in Kes. In his final game he’ll be kicking penalties, throwing line-outs to himself and handing off team mates before taking the ball home at half-time.

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:36 pm

It’s all the all blacks fault for not letting him have his last hoorah at the World Cup.
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Post by 123456789. on Thu 20 Feb 2020, 11:44 pm

I get that Harris is a better defender than Jones but I think defensive picks were part of the issue at the World Cup. Rio Ferdinand spoke about the difference after Ferguson went was the shift to defensive preparation. When United played against most teams they focused on what they were going to do to the opposition, only against the very best did they consider the other team. The All Blacks are the same. Now obviously we are not United in their pomp, nor are we the All Blacks. Italy are a team we should be heading out to comprehensively beat in our own way. Harris in for Jones is a bunker decision. Townsend trusted Jones to defend against Ireland and England, Italy are not half the team they are. I think Harris is still better than whoever they are able to put out. But I think the biggest risk on Saturday is the old Italian tug of war we used to endure ten years ago. When we'd start well, be all over them and never quite pull away. As the doubts crept in, we used to get stuck in a slogging match and they were able to nick it. 2015 was the prime example. They looked like they might do it to France last time out. So if we're at 55-60 minutes in the game and we just can't shake them off, has Harris got the potential to produce that burst of pace or bit of magic to kill them off? I don't think he does. I think Townsend is nervous and he's gone with the defensive option. If he can just squeeze past Italy he has the breathing space to get him through to next year. But the team going out on Saturday is a downgrade on the team that lost to Japan, we're back firmly into Einstein's definition of a fool.

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Post by bsando on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 10:45 am

At least there is Hutchinson on the bench to add a bit of flare. I think we might see him get a bit more game time this weekend and hopefully G Horne as well.

Really hope this doesn't turn into the inevitable tug of war as you say numbers. It always seems to happen in Rome. The last game I remember Scotland playing well there was in 2016 when Barclay ran a nice one and Hogg had that nice offload to Seymour.

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Post by 123456789. on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 11:41 am

Even that game in 2016 it took a while for the breakthrough moment if I recall correctly.

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Post by bsando on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 12:09 pm

Yes that is true, it wan't a walkover by any means. I've struggled with predictions this weekend, but I picked Scotland to lose. I really hope they don't but I think Italy look better in attack than us at the moment. I'm expecting them to cut out some of the errors at home and feed off the crowd in defence. Also, they have nothing to lose, most expect them to lose this one. If Scotland play the way I expect them to play on Saturday then I think they may gift Italy a win.

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Post by 123456789. on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 2:59 pm

I think it'll be a win by 10-20 or a close defeat. I think after the last few months a game that's tight at the end they'll take. The home crowd, Parisse and the scent of victory after 25 losses (or something around that) will perhaps carry them through.
I think this game may be huge for rugby in our part of the world. Toonie's job is on the line, but there is the underlying story of Italy's place and what it means for the game. A betting man would say they probably have two chances to pull off a win in the next four years, the Scotland games at home. If they can't win them then I think their position will become untenable.
In a weird way though I think Italy have become the gatekeeper to the old rugby world. From a PR point of view, booting Italy and reverting to a five nation will be damning, especially when rugby is being called to open up. Equally shifting Georgia into the tournament in their stead would seem a tad shortsighted as they could easily fall the same way as Italy in the long term. Before Italy entered the Six Nations they had beaten everyone but England in the years prior, where Georgia have not beaten any Tier One side. So the way forward won't be remotely clear.

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Post by Guest on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 7:14 pm

bsando wrote:At least there is Hutchinson on the bench to add a bit of flare.

Is that in case of emergency? An SOS to Finn Russell? Whistle

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Post by Gooseberry on Fri 21 Feb 2020, 10:45 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:
bsando wrote:At least there is Hutchinson on the bench to add a bit of flare.

Is that in case of emergency? An SOS to Finn Russell? Whistle

Sadly hes not eligible to play wing for England

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Post by jimbopip on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 9:46 am

guestalt_physicality wrote:
bsando wrote:At least there is Hutchinson on the bench to add a bit of flare.

Is that in case of emergency? An SOS to Finn Russell? Whistle

Can you just see it in the skies over the Eternal City?

"Look Commissioner Gordon ! It's the Bam Signal!!" Erm

That would bring Dancer galloping over the Appenine Way post haste.

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 1:00 pm

Andy Nicol has written that this is a 'must-win' game for Gregor Townsend's credibility, this from the man who, at the beginning of the tournament, stated that, regardless of the results, Townsend must keep his job. Of course Andy Nicol has shown for many, many years that a lack of credibility and continued employment are not mutually exclusive.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 1:21 pm

Pretty sure his pre game research extends to reading Tom English's article and rephrasing it. Wouldnt be surprised if he outsources his match analysis to India "Scotland need to score to stay in this game" "you feel like they need to score tries to win"
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Post by tigertattie on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 1:29 pm

Weather in Rome looks lovely.

Here’s its sideways wet snow.

Hate wet snow. Either snow properly so I can build a snowman or just rain. This half and half nonsense is just silly
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Post by maestegmafia on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:03 pm

Big game today lads... hopefully it will be a cracker.

Lose this and I fear for Townsends job

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:06 pm

Nervous!

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Post by 123456789. on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:08 pm

I'm not remotely convinced today. Big thing is, the two teams they've played are the two teams we haven't. The performance today will give us an indication as to how the rest of the tournament could pan out.

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Post by Duty281 on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:15 pm

RDW wrote:Nervous!

Don’t be, Italy are woeful!

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Post by RDW on Sat 22 Feb 2020, 2:17 pm

No hanging about in that first lineout

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