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Wales v Scotland Saturday 14th March 2020

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Post by BigGee on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 7:27 pm

Wales v Scotland
6N 5th Round

Principality Stadium
Cardiff

KO 14.15

Well Scotland and Wales draw the long straw and are the ones to be able to get their 6N competition played and out of the way. The way results have gone this time around was always going to make this an interesting game and now everyone is going to be concentrating on this match.

Cardiff, as it has often been said, has not proved to be a happy hunting ground for Scottish teams for a long long time. Is this year going to be any different. Well form might suggest that it may be. A Wales side in transition, new coach, new style and several newish players, have so far struggled a bit this year. Plenty of heart on show as always, but not really quite getting the new tactics and consequently making far to many errors. They have also been handicapped by an appalling injury list and that may be getting even worse following the very bruising match against England last weekend.

Scotland, on the other hand have built pretty well into the tournament and played their best game so far in beating France comfortably at the weekend. France, it should be reminded, were fancied to tie up their first GS in a long time after winning their first three games.

Scotland's own tournament has not been incident free, with Finngate taking centre stage and a lot of Scottish fans dissatisfied with the direction Toonie seemed to be taking this Scottish team and calling for his head. After two wins on the bounce though, the pressure on Toonie and the team seems to have abated a bit and some more serious thinkers are coming round to the conclusion that maybe Toonie, in trying to make Scotland a more structured team that are first and foremost, hard to beat, may actually be on to something. Certainly some of the coaching appointments prior to this tournament are looking nothing short of inspired. Who would ever have believed that after 4 rounds, Scotland would have the best defensive record in the tournament?

Still for all the positives, this is still Wales in Cardiff, a wounded and angry Wales, who will badly want to salvage some pride from an otherwise disappointing tournament. This is a real test as to the progression of this Scotland team, can they turn some promise into hard results.

For Wales, losing 4 out of 5 is probably approaching the unthinkable, especially to Scotland, who have always been seen as a soft touch. This will be a fascinating encounter in so many ways.

I am hoping for Scotland team something along these lines, there won't be many/any changes from the last game:

1. Sutherland - a shout for player of the tournament, has been outstanding
2. McInally - Toonie seems keen to rotate them
3. Fagerson
4. Cummings
5. Gilchrist - came back into the team with something to prove and proved it
6. Ritchie - the man everyone loves to hate
7. Watson
8. Haining - assuming not suspended, Bradbury if he is
9. Horne - is not now then when, deserves a start
10. Hastings
11. Maitland
12. Johnson - owns the shirt now, has had a good tournament
13. Harris - even the many doubters quietly impressed on sunday
14. Kinghorn - under pressure from Steyn though
15. Hogg - has grown into the captaincy

Subs:

Dell
Brown
Nel
Skinner
Bradbury (Fagerson if Haining out)
Price
Hutchinson - Hastings seems to have got over his wobbles in Italy and it is the last game of the tournament and no weather issues indoors
Steyn - Not much time on his debut, but did well

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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 8:03 pm

On current form I think home advantage swings it. I hope and expect Wales win by 10 points. We've not been too far away from beating everyone and the difference is power and the gainline in most of those games as well as mistakes (we've got better at limiting them each game). Scotland (sorry) don't pose as much threat as the 3 teams we've lost to and if we don't win fairly comfortably that would probably be the most disappointing result of all.

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Post by Guest on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 8:11 pm

I would also expect rotation in this Welsh side which might help Scotland. As you say we'll see what the England game has done to the body count. Navidi will probably stay on, Wainwright might come back in for Moriarty or Faletau, Webb should start with Gareth Davies on the bench, we'll hopefully see Louis Rees Zammitt at some point. Elias or Dee might start, Will Griff John should be in the 23, and if Rowlands or Hill is fit it's likely Ball drops out anyway with Shingler possibly keeping his bench spot. I think we might see Carre kept on as the replacement with Wyn Jones brought back to start, Tipuric and AWJ are undroppable.

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Post by The Oracle on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 9:51 pm

I think I read Ball is definitely out as he needs shoulder surgery.

I also feel that home advantage should be enough to get us across the line. But I thought that against France too! So who knows. But I think it should be an exciting game to watch with Scotland’s brand of running rugby, and our new attempts to follow suit.
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Post by RiscaGame on Mon 09 Mar 2020, 11:09 pm

It’s frustrating really, as we should’ve beaten France and only got done by our own errors. I would normally back us against most teams at home, but we are playing a confident Scotland now after Sunday. I expect to see Navidi, Tipuric and Faletau start, to counter Ritchie and Watson. I suspect Hill may not be ready for this weekend either, or he may have joined Dee in being released for Dragons last weekend (although perhaps it was the absence of Hibbard, why Dragons had Dee?). So I expect Shingler will have to do a longer stint in the engine room.

Personally, I would drop Halfpenny now, as he was pretty quiet last game, has dropped at least one ball per match and I don’t like Liam Williams on the wing either. What might save him is Biggar not being 100% ready to kick for goal still. I think we should’ve had a look at LRZ by now, so probably won’t for this game with so much hanging on finishing as high as possible and a probably big rankings dip, if we lose to Scotland at home?

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 8:04 am

That sucks, hasn’t Ball had a couple shoulder surgeries already? That doesn’t sound good.

Navidi was awesome on Saturday, first game back in and he’s a demon. If available he’s always a starter for me. Faletau looked better off the bench. Would also like to see Rees-Zammit involved at some point. 

You feel the game Pivac wants to play needs us to have a few guys always on the field; Shingler, Navidi, Tips, Thompkins. Up front a hard carrier or two, Ball or Rowlands and definitely Carre.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 8:59 am

Tough one to call. I have watched all of the Wales and all of the Scotland games this tournament and having done so, I think that some Wales fans should be more nervous than they seem to be. All of my Ponty lot believe that they'll win because 'we always beat Scotland' (they are under 40, predictably) which is fair enough but that does seem to be based on home advantage and 'received wisdom' rather than merely form.

Scotland were lazy against Ireland, unlucky against England, borderline passable against Italy (if we're being generous) and pretty good against France. They can continue the upswing here and I think that they will. What may be key is that the Scottish scrum has been very good this tournament and the Welsh scrum does not appear to be as solid as I've seen it in previous years. What's also interesting is that Scotland have conceded fewer scores than anyone else in this tournament (4) whereas Wales have shipped 10 of them. Again, non-traditional stats for Scotland but it should serve to make the point that Scotland will be hella competitive here.

Key players like Hogg, Hastings, Sutherland, Watson, Ritchie and Johnson have started to show real form and will be danger men again.
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Post by EWT Spoons on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:25 am

I think this game will be close, we're not conceding many scores currently as our defence has improved significantly, however for the last (seems like forever) decade or so, we've been terrible in Cardiff, some of that is Wales have been outstanding, other times we've found unique and bizarre ways of shooting ourselves in the foot, balls and head.

I can't see a Scottish win on Sat, but I think it'll be closer than it has been of late. Wales aren't in great form, with the team in somewhat of a transition phase, and whilst we've only beaten a shocking Italy side and a team that was down to 14 players for most of the game, we are at least coming into this game with a couple of wins under our belt.

Wales by 6 is my prediction.

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Post by Comfort on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:39 am

I'm hoping we continue to see the evolution of Wales, injuries forcing some selections. I'd love to see (although doubtful admittedly):

1. Carre
2. Elias
3. Brown
4. AWJ
5. Rowlands (if fit)
6. Moriaty
7. Tips
8. Navidi
9. Webb
10. Biggar
11. McNicholl
12. Tomkins
13. North
14. Halfpenny
15. Williams

16. Wyn Jones
17. Dee (if fit)
18. WG John
19. Shingler
20. Faletau
21. Tomos Williams
22. Jarrod Evans
23. Rees-Zammitt

Big risks, huge rewards.

The tournaments been a failure realistically and our defence couldn't be any more narrow so lets have a proper go at the Pivac style rather than this half-way house between Gats previous regime and where Pivac wants to take us...

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Post by LondonTiger on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:32 am

EWT Spoons wrote:I think this game will be close, we're not conceding many scores currently as our defence has improved significantly, however for the last (seems like forever) decade or so, we've been terrible in Cardiff, some of that is Wales have been outstanding, other times we've found unique and bizarre ways of shooting ourselves in the foot, balls and head.

I can't see a Scottish win on Sat, but I think it'll be closer than it has been of late.  Wales aren't in great form, with the team in somewhat of a transition phase, and whilst we've only beaten a shocking Italy side and a team that was down to 14 players for most of the game, we are at least coming into this game with a couple of wins under our belt.

Wales by 6 is my prediction.

If that is what happens, I woudl say the campaign can be viewed positively by Scotland. 3 BP losses and 2 wins (after a disastrous WC) would be progress.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:37 am

Everything is always the same until it isn't. Scotland are playing tight games and failing to cut loose in contrast to the previous part of the Toonie era. One of the concerns is that Ireland and England were still able to sneak it against us, and Wales won a slam last year winning three tight games.

We seem to have sorted out our scrum with scrum coaches at club and international level (who knew) and our defence has begun to perform at a reasonably high level. Our maul defence at line-outs has also come on leaps and bounds. Scotland need to go after the Welsh scrum, particularly as TH (Francis is a key player to be missing) and lock (Shingler is undersized if he starts) are not reputed at scrum time.

In contrast, our line-out is a point of weakness and we are struggling to break down set defences. We can still allow teams to get on top of us physically a bit too easily. We need to bring on Skinner and Bradbury earlier than we have been to bring energy into the last 20 - 25 minutes as opposed to the last 10 - 15 minutes.

Wales should be favourites by a score.


Last edited by Hazel Sapling on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:49 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BigGee on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:40 am

I think unless we go down there and have a mare, this will be a tournament of progression.

The big thing is however, what is the mindset of the Scottish players?

Are they happy with some small progress or do they genuinely want to take the next step?

That might be what decides the game

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:49 am

I am actually quite sad that we won't see a Rees-Zammitt v Darcy Graham match up this year.
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Post by George Carlin on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:50 am

BigGee wrote:I think unless we go down there and have a mare, this will be a tournament of progression.

The big thing is however, what is the mindset of the Scottish players?

Are they happy with some small progress or do they genuinely want to take the next step?

That might be what decides the game
Hogg will want to go down and win - no question.

That's what differentiates him from Chris 'please don't hurt me' Paterson.
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Post by jimbopip on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 10:53 am

Scotland's last outing to Cardiff was a total shambles. Aldi Price had a complete nightmare of a game and Toonie's tactics looked naïve and as easily unpicked as GC's internet password (AYRISPUREDEADMAGICYABAM).

Selection for Scotland looks pretty straightforward:

1. Sutherland team of the tournament candidate
2. Chuckles or Rambo both are throwing shocking darts, but Rambo scores from his fecc ups!
3. Ragnar The Pretty best TH in the tournament IMHO
4.All of our locks have played well when selected so any two from Cummings, GG, Toolis or Principal.
5. GG & Principal with Cummings on the bench?
6. Mbawza What a player he is turning out to be
7. Hamish Either he or Tips should be pencilled in for the Lions jersey
8. Fingers Haining may be cited, I'd choose Middle Fagerson before Malcolm Bradbury as he's not really made much impact from the bench.
9. Does Aldi Price get a shot at redemption or do we finally see Little Big Horne start? That is the big question for me.
10. Not Dancer...Haircut.
11. NoMaits...Having a wonderful tournament.
12 Smiling Sam
13. Rugby's answer to James Brown
14. Seaman...King Blarehorn hasn't really convinced and in defence the Welsh won't like Seaman in their faces.
15. Dropsy Hogg.


I said that Scotland's last visit was a shambles....not quite; I got to stay in the Shangri La that is Tremorfa, survived a twelve hour drinking session with Tattie Scones and his mates (interrupted by 80 minutes rugby), queued forever on the bridge into the stadium and laughed myself silly when the two Welsh lads dressed as the Dragon and the Trophy realised their bladders couldn't wait till they got off the bridge and they couldn't undo the costumes in time, then sometime after midnight I got into a cab and handed the driver the post code for my Airbnb in Tremorfa and he said..."Are you sure? Do you really want to go there?" When the neighbours wakened me at three in the morning by having a full bloodied domestic in their front garden I could see his point.
Wish I was going on Saturday.

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Post by Luckless Pedestrian on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 11:23 am

George Carlin wrote:Tough one to call. I have watched all of the Wales and all of the Scotland games this tournament and having done so, I think that some Wales fans should be more nervous than they seem to be. All of my Ponty lot believe that they'll win because 'we always beat Scotland' (they are under 40, predictably) which is fair enough but that does seem to be based on home advantage and 'received wisdom' rather than merely form.

Scotland were lazy against Ireland, unlucky against England, borderline passable against Italy (if we're being generous) and pretty good against France. They can continue the upswing here and I think that they will. What may be key is that the Scottish scrum has been very good this tournament and the Welsh scrum does not appear to be as solid as I've seen it in previous years. What's also interesting is that Scotland have conceded fewer scores than anyone else in this tournament (4) whereas Wales have shipped 10 of them. Again, non-traditional stats for Scotland but it should serve to make the point that Scotland will be hella competitive here.

Key players like Hogg, Hastings, Sutherland, Watson, Ritchie and Johnson have started to show real form and will be danger men again.

I think it's worth remembering how good a chance Scotland had of winning in Dublin, and contrasting their performance with Wales's effort the following week.

Yes, Wales at home are a different prospect, but if we're going down the home / away route in comparing the two sides, Scotland's 'nilling' of Italy was in Rome. 

France were overdue a win in Cardiff; Scotland are even longer overdue. I'm less confident than some appear to be!

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 12:21 pm

Got to see who Wales have left to select from. Ball is out and a number of other forwards looked to be hurt against England.

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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 12:27 pm

lostinwales wrote:Got to see who Wales have left to select from. Ball is out and a number of other forwards looked to be hurt against England.

Press conference at 1300, with the team announced on Thurs.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 3:32 pm

BigGee wrote:I think unless we go down there and have a mare, this will be a tournament of progression.

Agree. I've been critical of some selections this tourney but if Toonie gets a LBP or better in Cardiff then he'll probably look back with a fair bit of satisfaction.

The scrum and defence have been hugely improved, and we've coped well without our star player (the Italy game was probably Hastings' worst).

Lineout still an utter shambles and we need one more rapier in the backs. We remain too dependent on Hogg. Graham should help remedy that, and possibly an adjustment in the centres.

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Post by Guest on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 4:25 pm

George Carlin wrote:Tough one to call. I have watched all of the Wales and all of the Scotland games this tournament and having done so, I think that some Wales fans should be more nervous than they seem to be. All of my Ponty lot believe that they'll win because 'we always beat Scotland' (they are under 40, predictably) which is fair enough but that does seem to be based on home advantage and 'received wisdom' rather than merely form.

Scotland were lazy against Ireland, unlucky against England, borderline passable against Italy (if we're being generous) and pretty good against France. They can continue the upswing here and I think that they will. What may be key is that the Scottish scrum has been very good this tournament and the Welsh scrum does not appear to be as solid as I've seen it in previous years. What's also interesting is that Scotland have conceded fewer scores than anyone else in this tournament (4) whereas Wales have shipped 10 of them. Again, non-traditional stats for Scotland but it should serve to make the point that Scotland will be hella competitive here.

Key players like Hogg, Hastings, Sutherland, Watson, Ritchie and Johnson have started to show real form and will be danger men again.

The difference as I see it is physical power. Wales lost to England and Ireland because they no longer want to get in to long, drawn out, trench warfare style defending that saps them of their energy. Same with keeping the ball in play from clearing kicks. They seem 'happy' to concede and then go down the other end and score a try of their own.

Scotland still look a bit of a soft touch up front. They're better than they have been under Townsend by the looks of things but still look soft. If Wales have a platform, it means more opportunity to run the ball and score tries, but more importantly they're less likely to concede them as they might stand a chance of winning the gainline.

Scotland have been unfortunate. But then they were very fortunate against France to be honest who barely turned up and then threw the game away. Ireland are not a great team in all honesty and the England game was a bit of a write off - in different conditions that physical imbalance might have been clearer. Both teams 'could' be on for the Grand Slam but equally both teams seem to have major flaws that mean they can't feel too hard done by.

For Scotland to win they need to play the territory game and not turn the ball over when attacking the line. That's their best hope.

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Post by Guest on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 4:29 pm

Comfort wrote:The tournaments been a failure realistically and our defence couldn't be any more narrow so lets have a proper go at the Pivac style rather than this half-way house between Gats previous regime and where Pivac wants to take us...

I disagree about the tournament being a failure but just one point - Pivac also played a lot of pragmatic rugby. He's not a sevens coach. He picked Hadleigh Parkes at 10 on numerous occasions over the years and asked him to run hard and straight and make his tackles. When the team was underperforming he always got back to basics and went very 'route one' with one out runners and not much inventiveness. His style will be a mix of Gatland and, well, Gareth Jenkins' sexy rugby.

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Post by lostinwales on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 4:37 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:
Comfort wrote:The tournaments been a failure realistically and our defence couldn't be any more narrow so lets have a proper go at the Pivac style rather than this half-way house between Gats previous regime and where Pivac wants to take us...

I disagree about the tournament being a failure but just one point - Pivac also played a lot of pragmatic rugby. He's not a sevens coach. He picked Hadleigh Parkes at 10 on numerous occasions over the years and asked him to run hard and straight and make his tackles. When the team was underperforming he always got back to basics and went very 'route one' with one out runners and not much inventiveness. His style will be a mix of Gatland and, well, Gareth Jenkins' sexy rugby.

Gareth or Gethin?

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Post by Guest on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 4:48 pm

Gareth.

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Post by Pie on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 6:05 pm

I'd put Laim at 15 for this and give LRZ the start....1/2 on bench. Webb for TW. Otherwise team remains the same though obviously Rowlands will take on Ball's spot.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 7:16 pm

I think the perception is, rightly or wrongly, that Scotland are going on to this on the up and Wales are on the way down. I remember an enormous number of these occasions over Gatland's time. In 2018 I was convinced we'd win in Cardiff, 2010 as well.
For Scotland within a score and we can come out of the tournament, give ourselves a pat on the back and say it's something to build on. If we win then we can come out and say genuine progress. It's been ten years since we won away anywhere other than Rome. I don't think Townsend is the guy who is going to win us the Six Nations, I certainly don't think he'll do it with certain favourites in the team. But you'd have to give credit where credit's due and say a win next week represents something of a bounce back from a really, really dreadful 2019.

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Post by Guest on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 8:17 pm

If we ignore the Italy game as a glorified training run, Wales have got better game on game in this tournament IMO.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 8:55 pm

Whilst they have probably improved game on game, I'd say both Wales and Ireland seem to have dropped off from the levels they hit in 2018 and 2019. Going into the World Cup I would have said the World Order manifested itself into a top tier of New Zealand, Wales, Ireland, England and South Africa, then a second tier of France, Scotland, Argentina and Australia followed by Japan, Fiji, Italy and Georgia. Then the rest following on from there. Japan upset the apple cart a bit in the World Cup at our expense. Ireland dropped to their usual World Cup form. But broadly speaking Wales showed they were very much so at rugby's top table. I don't think that is the case now. Now I'd say England, South Africa and New Zealand are sitting pretty. France, Wales and Ireland could easily break in but currently sit in a new second tier. We have to have ambitions of being in that second grouping and, to belong there we need to start beating those three at home regularly and relatively often away also. We should have beaten Ireland, could have beaten England, could hardly lose to Italy and needed only to let France beat themselves as it turned out. Wales away could be a watershed game for us, but it could also galvanise Wales. We are early in the World Cup cycle, but a win here could set the tone for the next four years and for Pivac's reign. If Scotland want to consider this Championship a success we have to win. For Wales to consider it anything other than a dismal failure they cannot lose.

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Post by SecretFly on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:14 pm

guestalt_physicality wrote:If we ignore the Italy game as a glorified training run, Wales have got better game on game in this tournament IMO.

England were 33 - 16 with four minutes to go?  Lost two men (one yellow, one red) before Wales did the fight back that came close to nicking it.

33 - 16 would have been quite a sobering result for Pivac's Wales.  Have they really been improving game after game?  Can't say I agree with that.  Their slickest game was the first one - against Italy.  I think they've been at a certain level since, and it's mostly a level where so far, Pivac seems to have hit the wall of realising just what a step up Internatiinal coaching is.

It's early and he might excel.  But he'll need more than a Scotland blueprint.  It's all very well wanting more expression, looseness, offloading and creativity but the rigid old stuff that Gatland coached is still required - plenty.  And I don't really see that certainty about the foundation stone (Gatlandism if you will) there with the team anymore.
Does Pivac really have the coaching personel to accept it and coach it?  Time will tell. But energy is finite - if you use it one way, you won't have it elsewhere.

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Post by RDW on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:20 pm

I think this is likely to be a game.too far for Scotland. It's a big ask to follow up the France performance with a 6 day turnaround - physically and mentally. Wales will be absolutely desperate to win after a pour tournament by their standards.

A decent performance with something to build on and I'll be reasonably content with this tournament given the chaotic beginning.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:44 pm

SecretFly wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:If we ignore the Italy game as a glorified training run, Wales have got better game on game in this tournament IMO.

England were 33 - 16 with four minutes to go?  Lost two men (one yellow, one red) before Wales did the fight back that came close to nicking it.

33 - 16 would have been quite a sobering result for Pivac's Wales.  Have they really been improving game after game?  Can't say I agree with that.  Their slickest game was the first one - against Italy.  I think they've been at a certain level since, and it's mostly a level where so far, Pivac seems to have hit the wall of realising just what a step up Internatiinal coaching is.

It's early and he might excel.  But he'll need more than a Scotland blueprint.  It's all very well wanting more expression, looseness, offloading and creativity but the rigid old stuff that Gatland coached is still required - plenty.  And I don't really see that certainty about the foundation stone (Gatlandism if you will) there with the team anymore.
Does Pivac really have the coaching personel to accept it and coach it?  Time will tell.  But energy is finite - if you use it one way, you won't have it elsewhere.

Don't think we've improved game by game. We've been hampered by injuries again and have drawn the short straw with ref's. We should hopefully have less injuries and more depth - if we cap the new boys - by the summer where we can go again. Hayward needs to go though as he never had the credentials for the job, and is proving it game after game.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 9:51 pm

123456789. wrote:Whilst they have probably improved game on game, I'd say both Wales and Ireland seem to have dropped off from the levels they hit in 2018 and 2019. Going into the World Cup I would have said the World Order manifested itself into a top tier of New Zealand, Wales, Ireland, England and South Africa, then a second tier of France, Scotland, Argentina and Australia followed by Japan, Fiji, Italy and Georgia. Then the rest following on from there. Japan upset the apple cart a bit in the World Cup at our expense. Ireland dropped to their usual World Cup form. But broadly speaking Wales showed they were very much so at rugby's top table. I don't think that is the case now.  Now I'd say England, South Africa and New Zealand are sitting pretty. France, Wales and Ireland could easily break in but currently sit in a new second tier. We have to have ambitions of being in that second grouping and, to belong there we need to start beating those three at home regularly and relatively often away also. We should have beaten Ireland, could have beaten England, could hardly lose to Italy and needed only to let France beat themselves as it turned out. Wales away could be a watershed game for us, but it could also galvanise Wales. We are early in the World Cup cycle, but a win here could set the tone for the next four years and for Pivac's reign. If Scotland want to consider this Championship a success we have to win. For Wales to consider it anything other than a dismal failure they cannot lose.

Interesting that France are ranked that high and Japan ranked that low. Japan were one of the teams of the tournament IMO. I look forward to seeing us play them in the summer.

France might be the most improved team but probably the most overrated as well. Their backs are pretty good. The forwards are just large, pretty easy to shut down unless you have a poor ref.

England are good with a bit of a world cup hangover. Ireland are a jester wearing king's clothes, and more reliant on ref's or Sexton reffing in order to win a test match.

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Post by 123456789. on Tue 10 Mar 2020, 11:51 pm

Japan were good in the tournament but I think it's far, far too early to start considering them one of the top five or six teams in the world. Their victory over Scotland came in the midst of some pretty hefty mitigating circumstances. They had a week to prepare for the game and we had a matter of days. They trained the day before the game and we did not. The biggest and most obvious mitigating factor was the fact that we were the square root of useless throughout the world cup. Japan were good value for their wins but one swallow does not make a summer and it's too early to say they have overthrown the world order in rugby. I'd still be backing us to turn them over at home, the same goes for Argentina and Australia. I do think we'd perhaps be struggling away. Hence a third grouping. All of which aspire to reach that level above with relatively little to show they belong there over the last eighteen months.

France are good. Make no bones about it. That's why it was heartening to see our performance on Sunday. They were down to 14 men so I don't think it was as big a deal as some have suggested. However, we tethered them in a way no one else has in the last month or so in the first half an hour. What they showed in the start of games against England and Wales was that they have the potential to mix it with the big three sides in rugby currently. What they showed on Sunday shows they have some way to go to realise it. Ireland beat Wales with more than a ref's influence to spare. They still have some unbelievable players waiting to click. Wales still have some very good players too but are undergoing more of a transition than Ireland after a longer tenure. Wales will almost certainly come good before the next world cup either under Pivac or someone else.

None of them are good as England who have put together a very strong side. Their games against Wales and Ireland were not really close and there was only ever one winner throughout. The Scotland game was different but we had the ultimate leveller. Nonetheless, coming up to a noticeably hostile crowd and grinding out a win in those circumstances took grit. If South Africa and New Zealand were to rock up for matches in the next couple of weeks you would say that England had a good chance of beating them both. The three of them are at rugby's pinnacle. For Wales to aspire to reach those heights again they need to beat us on Saturday, for us to claim we're moving upward we need to record a win. It's a big game for two teams, very much so at a crossroads.

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Post by Pie on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 3:46 am

Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral

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Post by Comfort on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 8:38 am

guestalt_physicality wrote:
Comfort wrote:The tournaments been a failure realistically and our defence couldn't be any more narrow so lets have a proper go at the Pivac style rather than this half-way house between Gats previous regime and where Pivac wants to take us...

I disagree about the tournament being a failure but just one point - Pivac also played a lot of pragmatic rugby. He's not a sevens coach. He picked Hadleigh Parkes at 10 on numerous occasions over the years and asked him to run hard and straight and make his tackles. When the team was underperforming he always got back to basics and went very 'route one' with one out runners and not much inventiveness. His style will be a mix of Gatland and, well, Gareth Jenkins' sexy rugby.

He did put Parkes at 10 a fair amount, but with a hell of a lot more pace in the midfield and effective strike runners in the backline than Wales currently have - and that's the balance we've been struggling with. Biggar is outstanding at what he does, but he doesn't have the natural running threat of Anscombe (who is hugely underappreciated for what he brought to team wales over the last 2 years imo) and with Parkes at 12 that's a very slow midfield by test standards. I'm not suggesting we go all-out sevens, but we've seen glimpses of what 'Pivac-style' personnel can do in his setup - so why not overhaul the team a little for the last game. It maybe not the time and the summer will be, but I'd love to see it. I see our evolution as halfway-cooked at the moment - I'm not expecting us to become Fiji-like overnight.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 9:33 am

If you’d like a fast midfield and also a second five-eight, Thompkins and North is probably the best option right now.

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Post by Comfort on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 9:41 am

mikey_dragon wrote:If you’d like a fast midfield and also a second five-eight, Thompkins and North is probably the best option right now.

100% - with the current squad /injuries etc. The team I'd like to see this weekend;

1. Carre
2. Elias
3. Brown
4. AWJ
5. Rowlands (if fit)
6. Moriaty
7. Tips
8. Navidi
9. Webb
10. Biggar
11. McNicholl
12. Tomkins
13. North
14. Halfpenny
15. Williams

16. Wyn Jones
17. Dee (if fit)
18. WG John
19. Shingler
20. Faletau
21. Tomos Williams
22. Jarrod Evans
23. Rees-Zammitt

Big risks, huge rewards.

You lose a lot of experience, but you get a lot of strong ball carrying, physical forwards and a dynamic backline that could tear people apart (or fall apart defensively admittedly).

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:02 am

Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.

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Post by The Oracle on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:05 am

Genuine question here, rather than an accusation or finger pointing - given the liveliness and elusiveness of Scotland's backs, is North a good enough defended in the 13 channel to cope with that? I hear it's the hardest position on the pitch to defend, for whatever reason. Not saying he can't defend just wondering if his lack of experience defending in that channel at this level might be an extra issue against a set of backs who can cut free against the best teams on the planet? That's my worry. Happy enough with him at 13 in attack though if we're moving Tompkins to 12.
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Post by The Oracle on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:08 am

Gooseberry wrote:
Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.


I was interested in that so looked it up. Just the once actually. 2017. The rest are all 3s, 4s or GS.
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Post by Hazel Sapling on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:17 am

North would likely be going up against Harris, who defends well but won't be mistaken for a H Jones, Hutchinson or Bennett in attack

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:17 am

The Oracle wrote:Genuine question here, rather than an accusation or finger pointing - given the liveliness and elusiveness of Scotland's backs, is North a good enough defended in the 13 channel to cope with that?  I hear it's the hardest position on the pitch to defend, for whatever reason.  Not saying he can't defend just wondering if his lack of experience defending in that channel at this level might be an extra issue against a set of backs who can cut free against the best teams on the planet?  That's my worry.  Happy enough with him at 13 in attack though if we're moving Tompkins to 12. 

In which case you get the option of having poor defence on the wing, or poor defence in the 13 channel. Whilst North was mostly good against England he hasn’t done enough to redeem himself imo. Still, I can’t see Pivac dropping a favourite.

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Post by Comfort on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:22 am

mikey_dragon wrote:
The Oracle wrote:Genuine question here, rather than an accusation or finger pointing - given the liveliness and elusiveness of Scotland's backs, is North a good enough defended in the 13 channel to cope with that?  I hear it's the hardest position on the pitch to defend, for whatever reason.  Not saying he can't defend just wondering if his lack of experience defending in that channel at this level might be an extra issue against a set of backs who can cut free against the best teams on the planet?  That's my worry.  Happy enough with him at 13 in attack though if we're moving Tompkins to 12. 

In which case you get the option of having poor defence on the wing, or poor defence in the 13 channel. Whilst North was mostly good against England he hasn’t done enough to redeem himself imo. Still, I can’t see Pivac dropping a favourite.

I mean in all honesty he's probably not good enough defensively at test level, especially at 13, he just about gets by on the wing. Although I'd blame our narrow structure just as much as any of his individual mistakes this championship. But he can be unplayable in attack when he's on form (less and less these days).

I actually think JD2 would look like he's struggling at 13 in this defensive system.

Ideally I'd drop North and put Watkins/Tomkins at 12/13 for this game.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:25 am

The Oracle wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.


I was interested in that so looked it up.  Just the once actually.  2017.  The rest are all 3s, 4s or GS.

Genuinely surprised by that! 

In terms of Norths defence at 13 ...wasnt it Thompkins everyone was getting at the previous weeks?

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Post by TightHEAD on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:28 am

Will tip tackles, elbows to heads and hands to the eye area be allowed this week?

asking for a friend who is a Ref.



Why report this, its true that these offences were not cited from the Eng v Wales or the Scotland v Fra game last weekend. Just my mate needs to know when he takes charge of a game this weekend. Headscratch

The games authorities are not making it easy for Refs at the moment.


Last edited by TightHEAD on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 11:54 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:39 am

The Oracle wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.


I was interested in that so looked it up.  Just the once actually.  2017.  The rest are all 3s, 4s or GS.

2010 as well?

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Post by Comfort on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 10:42 am

Gooseberry wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.


I was interested in that so looked it up.  Just the once actually.  2017.  The rest are all 3s, 4s or GS.

Genuinely surprised by that! 

In terms of Norths defence at 13 ...wasnt it Thompkins everyone was getting at the previous weeks?

Yup! Our current structure ends up being extremely narrow and the 13 is consistently struggling and the outside winger gets left in no-mans land repeatedly. This wouldn't be as annoying if it wasn't so vulnerable down the middle aswell as out wide. Nice one Hayward....

As a caveat to that there have been some bad tackles attempted by both Tompkins and North in the last 4 games as well.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 11:00 am

guestalt_physicality wrote:

Scotland still look a bit of a soft touch up front. They're better than they have been under Townsend by the looks of things but still look soft. If Wales have a platform, it means more opportunity to run the ball and score tries, but more importantly they're less likely to concede them as they might stand a chance of winning the gainline.


Not sure I agree with that comment. We have had at least parity with every pack we have played against in the 6N, and we dominated Italy and France up front. For me the Welsh pack looks a bit squishy more than the Scotland pack. England, Ireland and France had the welsh scrum in all kinds of trouble, and I feel that Watson and Ritchie will be tough to contain on Saturday.

However the best complement I have seen regarding Scotland is that we now seem to be "street wise", basically we have been cheating and getting away with it more often!

I will concede that the Scottish line out has been something of a shambles. I expect AWJ to pinch our ball with impunity when and if (and its a big if) our hooker whoever that may be throws it in straight.
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Post by The Oracle on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 11:12 am

LondonTiger wrote:
The Oracle wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
Pie wrote:Pivac's pivotal moment IMO, Lose to Scotland unthinkable under Gatland. Lose Saturday I think we are looking at the beginning of a downward spiral


Wales' record against Scotland has been pretty ridiculous hasnt it. 2017 a blip, but that was under Howley. 

If Scotland do win this then even the most ardent Townsend haters / Finn Russel will have to take a bit of a rethink over their attitude. 

Pivac its still too soon and he can hide behind the injury issues and what he inherited, but the fans will not be happy and there will be a sausagefest in the media. Its only been one game they were comprehensively outplayed in, but results are what mater. They had championships with 2 wins or less under Gatland of course, but he gets a pass on that.


I was interested in that so looked it up.  Just the once actually.  2017.  The rest are all 3s, 4s or GS.

2010 as well?

Oh no!!! I had in my head that Gatland was in post from 2012 so started my search from there! Whoops!

Sorry Gooseberry. Yes, it's twice. 2010 and 2017. Thanks LT.
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Post by The Oracle on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 11:17 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:

Scotland still look a bit of a soft touch up front. They're better than they have been under Townsend by the looks of things but still look soft. If Wales have a platform, it means more opportunity to run the ball and score tries, but more importantly they're less likely to concede them as they might stand a chance of winning the gainline.


Not sure I agree with that comment. We have had at least parity with every pack we have played against in the 6N, and we dominated Italy and France up front. For me the Welsh pack looks a bit squishy more than the Scotland pack. England, Ireland and France had the welsh scrum in all kinds of trouble, and I feel that Watson and Ritchie will be tough to contain on Saturday.

However the best complement I have seen regarding Scotland is that we now seem to be "street wise", basically we have been cheating and getting away with it more often!

I will concede that the Scottish line out has been something of a shambles. I expect AWJ to pinch our ball with impunity when and if (and its a big if) our hooker whoever that may be throws it in straight.


Regarding the Wales scrum. It's been inconsistent, rather than being in trouble all of the time. It's been odd. At times we've been marched backwards, yes. But we've had lots of parity too and have won a number of scrum penalties also. All with different personnel. A good example is when Leon Brown came on against England. He got mullered and we went backwards and we gave away a penalty to make it 33-13 (I think). And I was thinking 'here we go'. Brown then seemed to really hurt his shoulder so I thought it was game over, literally! But then he somehow recovered and shored up the scrum and we seemed to have parity and a good platform from then on in the game. Weird. I do remember times when we've been marched back and mullered all through the game though. Mostly pre-Gatland. Horrible to see and really hard to work with.
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Post by RiscaGame on Wed 11 Mar 2020, 11:46 am

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
guestalt_physicality wrote:

Scotland still look a bit of a soft touch up front. They're better than they have been under Townsend by the looks of things but still look soft. If Wales have a platform, it means more opportunity to run the ball and score tries, but more importantly they're less likely to concede them as they might stand a chance of winning the gainline.


Not sure I agree with that comment. We have had at least parity with every pack we have played against in the 6N, and we dominated Italy and France up front. For me the Welsh pack looks a bit squishy more than the Scotland pack. England, Ireland and France had the welsh scrum in all kinds of trouble, and I feel that Watson and Ritchie will be tough to contain on Saturday.

However the best complement I have seen regarding Scotland is that we now seem to be "street wise", basically we have been cheating and getting away with it more often!

I will concede that the Scottish line out has been something of a shambles. I expect AWJ to pinch our ball with impunity when and if (and its a big if) our hooker whoever that may be throws it in straight.

Interestingly, I don't think we compete too well at defensive lineouts. I am sure a better mind than mine, could point to stats to potentially disprove that, but I never seem to notice us particularly challenging lineouts or certainly picking throws off.

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