Scotland v France Sunday 8th March 2020

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Post by BigGee on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 10:24 am

Scotland v France
BT Murrayfield Stadium
Edinburgh

Sunday 8th March 2020
KO 15:00

Live on BBC1


Well assuming it goes ahead and it would be very late to cancel it now, The all conquering French team will arrive in Scotland for this weekends fixture.

This match will go a long way to either propelling France towards a Grand Slam (first for a long time) or giving Scotland a half decent season and guaranteeing that Toonie stays in post.

France have looked good without being totally convincing and have looked vulnerable to second half comebacks in all of their games so far. They are playing some fantastic rugby but maybe their fitness is not quite at the level of some of the other sides yet and it is hard to say that they look unbeatable, especially away from home.

Scotland actually have a pretty good record against France at home and even beat them pretty comfortably in the summer despite a very poor start to the game.

This is a different French side though, especially with the new defensive set up and they are less likely to be carrying past baggage. They will be very clinical and will take scoring chances if Scotland give them to them. They should be favourites for this game and for the GS if they win. The question for them is probably are they ready for that kind of pressure this early in their development as a team?

As for Scotland, well a win last time out removes the spectre of whitewashes and wooden spoon and hopefully that can loosen them up a lot for this game. Defensively they have been very hard to break down in this championship and that might frustrate the French as well. There is no doubt though that to win this game, our attack needs to click and without FR and with Huw Jones still not really firing (he did nothing against Leinster that suggested he would be back in the team this week).

I don't expect many changes to the Scotland set up. Of all the players out last weekend, probably only Kyle Steyn put in a convincing case to get himself into the team. He has been playing well all season and has scored some eye catching tries, so maybe it is his turn now.

I am expecting to see a Scotland team something like this:

1. Sutherland
2. McInally
3. Fagerson Z
4. Cummings
5. Toolis
6. Ritchie
7. Watson
8. Bradbury
9. Price
10. Hastings
11. Maitland
12. Johnson
13. Harris
14. Kinghorn
15. Hogg

Subs:

Dell
Brown
Nel/Berghan - maybe Nel to counter the French scrum later in the game
Carmichael - another youngster worthy of a spot, been playing well for Edinburgh
Fagerson/Haining - The carrying of Haining v the defensive excellence of Fagerson (he made 31 tackles against Leinster!), I think he will so with youth
Horne G
Hutchinson
Steyn



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Post by Cumbrian on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 10:27 am

France seem to have set a certain pattern in this tournament. They race out of the blocks and build a lead, get pegged back and manage to steal a score just as they are starting to teeter. It will be interesting to see what will happen if Scotland can stop them getting off to a fast start/ big lead.
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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:39 am

The French scrum has not been great, especially with the sub Bamba. Do we play Berghan to try and fight fire with fire or send on Nel to try and generate penalties late on? I would prefer the latter as Berghan is not that good in the loose to make up for Nel's ability in the scrum.

I like M Fagerson and think there is an international player in there. The problem for him is that I don't think it is with two smaller flankers. It is all about balance and the back-row with M Fagerson lacks the ballast you need at the higher levels. You need Bradbury or Haining at six to support him with carrying in the tight.

Carmichael or Skinner on the bench with Haining is probably a more natural fit for this game. Both Cummings and Toolis can go 80 minutes if there are issues in the back row. I am not convinced Toonie has it in him to go to a 6-2 bench split. He also does not have it in him to drop Bradbury to the bench after a couple of so-so performances.

It is disappointing that we have H Jones, Hutchinson and Bennett all fit and two of them on form (and the other is not exactly struggling), yet Harris is selected.

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Post by RDW on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:42 am

Charmichael has been pretty ineffective for Edinburgh this season and if we think Fagerson is a lightweight 8, he is certainly a lightweight lock!

Hopefully he's just there to make up the training numbers.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:44 am

Really think we should be giving Horne a punt on this one but expect Toonie's team will be much the same.

We can't play much worse than we did against Italy. Our attack has to be better otherwise this will just be another "brave defeat" against a team who will take their chances.

Hastings needs to sit flatter, Horne needs to be on earlier if the attack isn't working, we need to be sensible about trucking it up the middle of the field, give support to the players and get the ball out QUICKLY.

I think France will edge this. We may manage a single try but I can't see any more than that if it's more of the same attack. We've gone from rapier to rubber bat in the space of 2 years.

I'd say 10-18 to France.



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Post by BigGee on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:45 am

Blimmey, I forgot about Skinner in my team. You have got to imagine he is going to be in there somewhere, may well even start.

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Post by BigGee on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:50 am

NeilyBroon wrote:Really think we should be giving Horne a punt on this one but expect Toonie's team will be much the same.

We can't play much worse than we did against Italy. Our attack has to be better otherwise this will just be another "brave defeat" against a team who will take their chances.

Hastings needs to sit flatter, Horne needs to be on earlier if the attack isn't working, we need to be sensible about trucking it up the middle of the field, give support to the players and get the ball out QUICKLY.

I think France will edge this. We may manage a single try but I can't see any more than that if it's more of the same attack. We've gone from rapier to rubber bat in the space of 2 years.

I'd say 10-18 to France.




But we have also gone from leaky sieve to brick wall in defence and in the longer term that may be the greater benefit!

Bad defence loses you more games than a good attack will win you.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 11:53 am

BigGee wrote:
NeilyBroon wrote:Really think we should be giving Horne a punt on this one but expect Toonie's team will be much the same.

We can't play much worse than we did against Italy. Our attack has to be better otherwise this will just be another "brave defeat" against a team who will take their chances.

Hastings needs to sit flatter, Horne needs to be on earlier if the attack isn't working, we need to be sensible about trucking it up the middle of the field, give support to the players and get the ball out QUICKLY.

I think France will edge this. We may manage a single try but I can't see any more than that if it's more of the same attack. We've gone from rapier to rubber bat in the space of 2 years.

I'd say 10-18 to France.




But we have also gone from leaky sieve to brick wall in defence and in the longer term that may be the greater benefit!

Bad defence loses you more games than a good attack will win you.

We weren't always defensively sound at the expense of attack! Only in the last two years did it really become a bigger problem... Whistle

We also used to win more games with our attack... We had the best defence under Andy Robinson. Enough said.
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Post by bsando on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 1:33 pm

I think you’re pretty spot on with that team Big Gee although as you say Skinner will probably feature in there somewhere. I still think Skinner is a big prospect for Scotland and has a lot of good performances ahead of him.

Two years ago Scotland went behind but managed to crawl back into the game and forced France to make some daft penalties. Another game like that would be just fine for me. Unfortunately Gray and Russell setup the first try and Laidlaw setup the Jones try.

Horne and Hastings vs DuPont and Ntamack would be a phenomenal matchup. It would make for a really interesting game of rugby. I’m guessing Price will start again but I guess we’ll have to see. Price hasn’t done too much wrong and if Toonie is set on him starting games it’s good he’s giving him a run of games to build form I guess. Still, I think Horne could be a good option for this one.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 2:16 pm

I think we'll see almost an identical side to the last time out but with Skinner involved. Hogg, Kinghorn, Maitland and Hastings are pretty much nailed on. Although I could see McGuigan coming in ahead of Maitland. Harris is one of Townsend's favourites, he scored last time out. Jones is considered to be a questionable defender and played in a Glasgow thrashing last week. It's hard to see him making a change there. Townsend is a coach under pressure going into a game against the form team in the tournament, the smart money is on him going with the safe option. That's why Price will start again too.

France lost the second-half against England 17-7, they drew the second-half against Italy 12-12 and they lost the second half against Wales 14-10. If we can get in at half-time in touch then I think we can beat them. So if Townsend goes for a more conservative selection it may work out for us, if he has the courage to go for more exciting players on the bench.

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Post by Tramptastic on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 3:53 pm

So the game plan will obviously be to pin the french back in their own 22 and keep the ball off them (easy as that eh). France's domination in games comes from the Shaun Edwards defense, however, that style of france is quite demanding with regards to energy levels and commitment. If Scotland can deny France any meaningful possession, force them to make tackles for 60 minutes and not actually worry about making fantastic risky plays then the scoreboard should stay fairly evens for 60 minutes at which point France will be knackered.

That won't happen though. Scotland have the mental toughness of a tesco own brand digestive and will collapse when their miracle plays (re. hands to Harris, attempted crash ball, Vakatawa turnover) don't work immediately, allowing France to create wonderful counter attack opportunities and create scores we'd love to see Scotland play.

The other key to this game is ruck speed. Against Italy I had a go at counting the time during rucks (thats how dull it was) and Scotland looked threatening any time their total ruck time (from the moment ball carrier hit the deck to the ball being passed) was below 3s. If Scotland can create that magic 1.5-2s ruck then the French line wont have time to reset OR they'll get exhausted even quicker from blitzing and back peddling to get onside.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 03 Mar 2020, 4:42 pm

It will be interesting to see how Edwards' tactics work in the long term with France. They have been effective so far this Six Nations but there is an obvious fitness problem that, in time, the English, Irish and Welsh will work out. Hopefully us as well, but that's no guarantee. This is the first time he's not had ultimate control over his players. Wales had supreme say over their top players and at Wasps obviously he was in charge.
For this game I think, to win, we need to play the standard kick to the corners game and strike when they're exhausted. Unfortunately, I don't think we are, as you've said, accurate enough to do so effectively. A kick out on the full gives them field position. A dropped pass gives them the chance. We can't do the controlled game that the other teams can, if we could Townsend's attempts at doing it would have been more successful.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 11:23 am

Aye itll be a score or slightly more. I think France will win the first half from our f ups, expending less energy from defence then Scotland will batter at the door until a 75 minute try by which point itll be too late. Id be surprised if we pulled off a win, would be nice but our attack will be even more blunted against that defence.
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Post by BigGee on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 1:10 pm

Rumours from Scottish Thistle Rugby pod that Hainning and Gilchrist to start this one.

They have been generally on the money on their predictions so far.

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Post by RDW on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 1:40 pm

I'd be happy with that.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 1:43 pm

BigGee wrote:Rumours from Scottish Thistle Rugby pod that Hainning and Gilchrist to start this one.

They have been generally on the money on their predictions so far.

Wouldn't be a bad selection by any stretch.

Bradbury to the bench might work well and I expect Skinner will be the utility forward.

I really want a more adventurous selection at centre but I can't see that happening.
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Post by 123456789. on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 3:36 pm

Think the centre selection is pretty much made. Townsend's mind is obviously made up on his chosen centres. Huw Jones probably had to do something special to be selected through the tournament.

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Post by lostinwales on Wed 04 Mar 2020, 4:53 pm

123456789. wrote:Think the centre selection is pretty much made. Townsend's mind is obviously made up on his chosen centres. Huw Jones probably had to do something special to be selected through the tournament.

That line reminds me of Team America for some reason.

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Post by tigertattie on Thu 05 Mar 2020, 11:53 am

Which England player was lambasted for saying Scotland wouldnt win th 6Ns but would have an impact on someone else not winning it?

I think he's on the money here and Scotland could determine if the rest of the 6Ns is even played out!

Why?

If Scotland beat France this weekend then England and Ireland will want to play the rest of thier games as they could win the championship. If Scotland dont win then only Ireland can stop France getting the slam which may mean Fra vs Ire will be arnaged furhter in the year and only if Ireland win that then will the other "postponded" games be played.

If France win the slam then really theres no point getting the other gmes played really unless e.g. Scotland and Wales want to play each other in the AIs for the Doddie Cup.
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Post by BigGee on Thu 05 Mar 2020, 3:12 pm

Hutch and McGuigan both playing for their clubs this weekend, so not for Scotland. Weir however is not in the Worcester squad.

Does that give us any clues as to the team.

You do get the feeling that Steyn is going to be involved, he has certainly been putting up his hand!

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Post by BigGee on Thu 05 Mar 2020, 10:46 pm

Some pretty strong hints around that Duncy is going to be back in the squad for the France game. The fact that Hutch is back with Saints, almost guarantees it.

Question is, does he start or bench?

In truth it was always going to be a big ask of Hastings, with his level of experience to play 5 straight 80 minute games in this tournament, especially with the last 2 back to back. The pressure was maybe getting to him a bit last time out when he did not have his best game and his boot certainly went wayward.

I actually think we might see Weir start and then see Hastings come off the bench in the second half with the brief of playing it a lot closer to the line than he has been. He is certainly capable of that and does it regularly for Glasgow.

We might actually see a bit of Tombola in the selection for this one!

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 7:46 am

Well itd be nice to see wee duncy back in a Scotland shirt, if he starts hopefully he has a good game, itd be nice to have another option at FH! The sad thing is that if he has a howler thats probably his last chance in the shirt gone, and France are easy to have a howler against! Im sure he would at least have a solid game. He's certainly had a lot of time to mature!
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Post by bsando on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 8:31 am

Weir starting? I just can't see it. Hastings was a bit sloppy against Italy but he didn't have a bad game by any means. weir hasn't started for a long time and he's only in the squad thanks to Russell's shenanigans.

Any last thoughts on the team sheet?

My guess at Toonies team is

Sutherland
Brown
Fagerson
Cummings
Skinner
Ritchie
Watson
Bradbury
Price
Hastings
Kinghorn
Johnson
Harris
Maitland
Hogg

Reserves: McInally, Dell, Nel, Gilchrist, Haining, Horne, Weir, Steyn

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:42 am

Weir comes on with 10 to go

Drops the winning goal on 78.

The fans go wild!
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Post by bsando on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 9:48 am

tigertattie wrote:Weir comes on with 10 to go

Drops the winning goal on 78.

The fans go wild!

What a way to miss out on a Grandslam! haha

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:00 am

bsando wrote:
tigertattie wrote:Weir comes on with 10 to go

Drops the winning goal on 78.

The fans go wild!

What a way to miss out on a Grandslam! haha

After all this talk he'll be replacing Dell on the bench.

"Duncan provides us a lot of versatility in the loose. He's been training well in the scrum, his stature means he can easily get under his opposite number and we're really impressed with the amount of pies he's been eating with Gordy. He's progressing onto katsu and chips this week."
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Post by bsando on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 10:39 am

12.45pm for team Announcement

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Post by BigGee on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:48 pm

Pretty much as predicted:

Haining and Gilchrist to start

Bradbury, Weir, Skinner and the Steyn of destiny to bench.

Actually looks to have a bit more balance to the team and maybe a bit more oomph off the bench if the French are flagging a little towards the end.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:52 pm

Team's oot. Same with the tweaks the Thistle predicted.

Sutherland
Brown (VC)
Fagerson
Cummings
Gilchrist
Ritchie
Watson
Haining

Price
Hastings

Kinghorn
Johnson
Harris
Maitland
Hogg (C)

McInally, Dell, Nel, Skinner, Bradbury, Horne, Weir and Steyn

Brown starts, interestingly. Steyn is the new utility back. Chris 'Licence to thrill' Harris stays at outside centre. Meatball to come on and tear it up with his legendary intercepts when France are puffing from tackling Sutherland all afternoon. Scotland to win by 30 points.

In all seriousness, not a bad side. Centres... well... definitely could make a more positive choice as always but we know GT won't do that. Besides it would probably be equally negative to drop a player who hasn't really done anything wrong. I hope Horne gets more than 15 minutes this time.
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Post by BigGee on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 12:55 pm

https://www.scottishrugby.org/news/brown-to-hit-half-century-against-france

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Post by bsando on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:15 pm

Considering the new game plan and the recent results, this is a great side. A few players had chances to impress last weekend for their clubs and the only one who really did that was Steyn and he’’s finally in the match day squad. I hope he does well and gets a bit of time off the bench. He seems a player to me who can step up when given an opportunity. Horne is my only grievance, I still think he’s the form SH and should be starting but oh well.

It’s going to be brilliant test match and the weather is looking quite favourable too. However, I still think we’re going to get humped. France have Pernaud back, Ramos on the bench as well as the players who have been performing well this championship. It’s going to be a tough afternoon I think.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:35 pm

Fraser "50th cap/Penantly machine" Brown is lucky to be starting

Poor Ben Toolis must be wondering what hes done wrong to go from starter to being completely dropped. Bearing in mind vs italy he made 75% more tackles than Cummings did.

Wee Horne really should be starting over Aldi "the next glacier" Price.

Hutch dropped is a bit of a kick in the nuts to the boy when hes hardly been given a chance.

Harris was always going to be picked due to his hard working ethos.

Wee Duncy though. He's either going to be great or meh. I really hope he's great. He could show Finn that he can jsut walk back into the sqaud and therefore improve Finn (and Hastings) as players.

Happy to see Haining back though. We'll see how he fairs against that French backrow. Ollivon and Alldritt have been the two best backrowers in the tournament so far in my book
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Post by Tramptastic on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:55 pm

I'm fairly happy with the team and the bench looks hella strong compared to normal

It seems that in terms of our backline there's been a fairly savage reduction in ball playing ability. Hutchinson dropped, Johnson and Harris retained, Jones out, Steyn to the bench. A ball playing midfield of Scott/Bennett or Scott/Hutchinson is available but instead we have Johnson and Harris. Now to be fair, both can run good support lines and run a half decent crash option but neither is known for being particularly flair (unless you fire Johnson in to space, he needs a good distributor otherwise he's fairly ineffective).

The pack looks as good as it could be, harsh on Toolis but its maybe horses for courses. I'm not fussed as to either Brown or McInally starting, I do think McInally brings more oomph off the bench than Brown. Haining deserves another chance but I don't think Bradbury has been playing as bad as people make - again this is all in the context of Toonie dropping an inform Haining so slightly unfair on Bradbury.

I wish Horne was starting. Hastings plays better when he has Horne at 9 at Glasgow so why not pick both the young guns?

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 1:58 pm

Im hopeful for weir. He's almost always been second fiddle at club level and has finally had the chance to grow as a player at Worcester over the last three years. He's not a Hastings or a Russell but he could play an important role yet. If he has a good game that's only good news really. I think people tend to underrate him but for my money he's better than Jacko was, possibly more consistent than Hastings and has more experience on the whole, and he's less of a maverick than Russell.

Solid, likeable and dependable. With the right players around him could be a great option.
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Post by Tramptastic on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 2:03 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:Im hopeful for weir. He's almost always been second fiddle at club level and has finally had the chance to grow as a player at Worcester over the last three years. He's not a Hastings or a Russell but he could play an important role yet. If he has a good game that's only good news really. I think people tend to underrate him but for my money he's better than Jacko was, possibly more consistent than Hastings and has more experience on the whole, and he's less of a maverick than Russell.

Solid, likeable and dependable. With the right players around him could be a great option.

This is key, if you have the right players around him he's effective. If you had Scott or Hutchinson outside him helping call attacking plays I think he'd be grand but potentiall Weir, Harris, Steyn reeks of Parks, Morrison, Lamont *shudders*

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Post by RDW on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 2:03 pm

I'm pleased with that team, particularly the much better balance and impact off the bench.

Looking forward to seeing Steyn get a good run.

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Post by Tramptastic on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 2:06 pm

France team up

France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 François Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Matthieu Jalibert, 23 Thomas Ramos

Note that Penaud is back and Ramos is on the bench. Eurgh that French team is so talented they don't even need Teddy Thomas

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 2:15 pm

Tramptastic wrote:
NeilyBroon wrote:Im hopeful for weir. He's almost always been second fiddle at club level and has finally had the chance to grow as a player at Worcester over the last three years. He's not a Hastings or a Russell but he could play an important role yet. If he has a good game that's only good news really. I think people tend to underrate him but for my money he's better than Jacko was, possibly more consistent than Hastings and has more experience on the whole, and he's less of a maverick than Russell.

Solid, likeable and dependable. With the right players around him could be a great option.

This is key, if you have the right players around him he's effective. If you had Scott or Hutchinson outside him helping call attacking plays I think he'd be grand but potentiall Weir, Harris, Steyn reeks of Parks, Morrison, Lamont *shudders*

I think Steyn would do a good job outside him at OC. Harris, agree with you there. Okay bench option but not much more but this is our reality unfortunately unless he gets injured! I had hoped Scott would get a run out this weekend but Toonie, like at club, has picked his favourites - the ones who will work hard and follow his tactics to the 't'.

Can't see us winning but I'm looking forward to seeing the bench and Haining getting another start.
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Post by whocares on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 3:10 pm

Tramptastic wrote:France team up

France: 15 Anthony Bouthier, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Arthur Vincent, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Grégory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (c), 6 François Cros, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Dylan Cretin, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Matthieu Jalibert, 23 Thomas Ramos

Note that Penaud is back and Ramos is on the bench. Eurgh that French team is so talented they don't even need Teddy Thomas

Teddy Thomas deserved to be dumped but am still concerned by the lack of specialist wingers in that team - as much as I like Vincent, Fickou should go back to centre and this game should be used to blood someone like Retiere ( at the very least at 23 because Ramos is really only a FB which is not needed)

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Post by whocares on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 3:11 pm

By the way Baille is injured so Poirot has the 1 shirt

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Post by EWT Spoons on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 4:04 pm

I really don’t understand Townsend.

Toolis played well in the games he was involved in and shored up the line out. Dropped
Haining played well against Ireland. Dropped
Bradbury played well against Italy, and was decent against England. Dropped for Haining
Hutchinson, been backup 10 all tournament, barely got a chance. Dropped for Weir!
Harris who’s so so and his stats from Italy are pretty terrible, can’t shake that jersey off his back.

It’s like he’s rotating a club squad, but at international level.

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Post by 123456789. on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 4:33 pm

The positive is that I think that's the best forward replacements I've seen a Scotland side have in a very, very long time. Each one of those players comes on and makes a positive contribution. The back substitutes are confusing. I assumed that the Italy changes were made with half an eye on this game. Harris is considered a better defender than Jones so I thought perhaps he was selected to get him up to speed before this game. But that doesn't add up now we see this team. The whole tournament we've played without a back up stand-off and now Weir is in the team. Why was Weir not picked on the bench for the Italy game with a view to him coming into the squad for this game? Jones didn't set the heather alight in his first two games but he wasn't bad. Harris was bad last time out, his try glossed over it but either of the other options would have done the job then.
John Barclay wrote an article saying that if we win this we have a good chance to finish up with three wins and two LBPs, and that would be a good result. It's hard to argue with that. However I feel like we've played with a hand behind our back. I think whatever happens in the rest of the tournament this year will have been a massive missed opportunity. Some of that isn't Townsend's fault. Russell chose to be an imbecile and the situation has been messy since then. But if he'd played against Ireland we could have got over the line. England were there for the taking and we couldn't piece a win together. Wales are unlikely to be this poor again anytime soon. France are very, very good in fairness but we are playing them at home.

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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 5:23 pm

Aye the townsend era has been one big missed opportunity tbh and I dont think any of us really see any of the sense in it. However, it is what it is and all things considered, a decent enough selection. Just another rough patch for the fans to ride through, at the current rate I cant see Toonie lasting until xmas. If we lose France, Wales then the summer Tour our win/loss could be close to the Johnson era.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Fri 06 Mar 2020, 8:31 pm

Watching the U20s - Ollie Smith seems like a special player in the making. Him and the France captain have been the highlights so far!
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Post by jimbopip on Sat 07 Mar 2020, 9:40 am

Morning peeps, sorry for the radio silence this week what do you mean you haven't noticed? but MrsPip insisted on some winter suns and we snuck off to Orlando for some rays, as the hip people say.

On the Toonie-Dancer tiff: game set and match to Toonie. Dancer has admitted he's a muppet and his penance is to go on the summer tour and act as an elder statesman for the fledglings. Lets hope he's Beer Monitor for the duration of that tour. The likelhood of Toonie being shot is quite slim now; especially since Dancer is "giving his insight" to the coaching team. No other coach with any sense would take over if Toonie gets sacked after falling out with a player who sulks until he is asked to tell the coaching team how to prepare for a big game: if Toonie goes Dancer's ego will expand to Jupiter sized proportions and any new coach will either have to break him or accept that he's calling the shots. I can't see any coach worth his salt putting up with that.

Sutherland
Brown (VC)
Fagerson
Cummings
Gilchrist
Ritchie
Watson
Haining

Price
Hastings

Kinghorn
Johnson
Harris
Maitland
Hogg (C)

McInally, Dell, Nel, Skinner, Bradbury, Horne, Weir and Steyn

The only thing that worries me about that 23 is that we all agree that it is a very competitive squad and could actually win tomorrow. That never augurs well. We're doomed, ah tell ye , doomed.


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Post by RDW on Sat 07 Mar 2020, 11:51 am

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/51742616

Quite the interview with Jamie Ritchie here - goes to show you we usually have no idea what's going on in players lives and the off field distractions they often have.

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 07 Mar 2020, 4:10 pm

Swing low..... sweet chariot......

Oops sorry. Wrong thread!
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Post by bsando on Sat 07 Mar 2020, 8:18 pm

Well I feel like we’re fighting with Wales for 4th place at the moment. Unless Scotland pull off a huge upset tomorrow to give England an open goal to the title. How will France react knowing they need to win tomorrow to stay in touch?

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Post by tigertattie on Sat 07 Mar 2020, 10:43 pm

This is where the fun starts bsando

The french are typically french. They’ve been up and down this tournament but still winning. France wouldn’t be France if they didn’t play a game where they go all french on us and implode to the extreme resulting in a loss.

Will that french moment come tomorrow or vs Ireland? Who knows.

I still think the way this weird world works is that if France win tomorrow the tournament will be cancelled and France declared the winner. Because the world is so messed up, France won’t win this forcing the rest of the games to be played at some point in the year.
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Post by NeilyBroon on Sun 08 Mar 2020, 7:54 am

Well I hope France dont implode and our players have a good game! No joy in victory from the other team playing badly, unless we make them through our play!

Still don't think we're going to win but a couple of nice tries and a close scoreline with improved execution would be good. Hoping to see steyn on the pitch today.
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