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Wales v Scotland 6N Super Saturday 31st Oct 2020

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Post by BigGee on Mon 26 Oct 2020, 9:03 pm

Wales v Scotland

6 Nations Championship
Saturday 31st Oct
Parc y Scarlets

KO 14.15


Well Wales and Scotland kick off Super saturday, only 7 months late, but a game we are all happy to see being played at long last.

Scotland started the new session of internationals in much the same vein as they finnished, albeit was against Georgia, who were even more rusty than the rest of the teams and did not put up a great opposition.

Wales, by their own high standards, did not have a great tournament so far, the transition from Gatland to Pivac was always going to be a little tricky and so it has proved. They came up against a French side who were up for it at home and got comfortably beaten last week, for whatever reason, they just don't seem to have quite clicked yet.

One thing is for sure though, they will not relish the prospect of being beaten by Scotland at home, it is a long time since that has happened! They will also be battle hardened by the game last weekend and you can only expect them to improve.

So are Scotland feeling confident?

Well they do seem to be playing to a decent standard atm, but we have been there before and left the principality with our trails trailing between our legs on many occasions. It is and always will be a very hard place to come and win a game.

It will be odd playing in an empty stadium though and you wonder how it might effect both teams. Wales are used to having that very passionate crowd behind them playing at home and no doubt it has helped get them accross the line on more than one occasion.

Scotland have to feel that they have a good chance here, but also have to manage that pressure, something that they have not been very good at in recent times.

It should be a cracking game.

I am hoping for a Scotland team along these lines:

1. Sutherland
2. Brown
3. Fagerson Z
4. Cummings
5. Gray J
6. Ritchie
7. Watson
8. Haining
9. Price
10. Russell
11. VDM
12. Johnson
13. Harris
14. Graham
15. Hogg - Capt

Subs:

Keeble
McInally
Berghan
Toolis
Cowan
Horne G
Hastings
Jones H



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Post by BigGee on Mon 26 Oct 2020, 9:08 pm

I imagine that Matt Fagerson won't be fit, so have left him out

Shuggie on the bench for this one, covering 13/14/15, Hastings has got 10/12. As others have said Kinghorn needs a week back at the club.

I have gone for the extra breakdown guy for this one, so Cowan comes in rather than another big lump like Du Prez

Was tempted to rest JG, but he played off the bench last weekend, so should be fine for this one.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Mon 26 Oct 2020, 9:29 pm

So are Scotland feeling confident?

They should be.

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Post by RDW on Mon 26 Oct 2020, 9:33 pm

It's probably fair to say there's never been a better time to win in Wales. They're a team in transition, their form isn't great, plus they haven't got the raucous home crowd who make such a difference. Scotland have a reasonably settled team now and most key personnel fit.

So Wales 40 - Scotland 15 then Laugh

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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 5:24 am

I personally believe Scotland will win, because the points Wales are currently conceding over the last few games is too high (Italy aside). I just have little faith in Pivac as it stands, although he does deserve a bit longer. The prospect of finishing fifth should be sufficient motivation for Wales, but the fact it is a new ground for both teams and empty stands doesn't exactly inspire me. Scotland have also had a few key players involved in high profile games too, so are likely to be pretty confident.



Last edited by RiscaGame on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 12:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 10:01 am

Key weaknesses for Scotland remain at 8 and 13. The rest of the squad is decent and they certainly duffed up an admittedly very poor Georgia pack last week.

Scott Cummings is a youngfeller but much better than most Welsh fans will probably assume he is.

VDM is an absolute monster who has been scoring with Tim Visser-esque levels of frequency for Edinburgh for 3 years now.

What do Wales fans (a) want and (b) expect, the line up to be?
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Post by EST on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 10:56 am

BigGee wrote:Wales v Scotland

6 Nations Championship
Saturday 31st Oct
Parc y Scarlets

KO 14.15


Well Wales and Scotland kick off Super saturday, only 7 months late, but a game we are all happy to see being played at long last.

Scotland started the new session of internationals in much the same vein as they finnished, albeit was against Georgia, who were even more rusty than the rest of the teams and did not put up a great opposition.

Wales, by their own high standards, did not have a great tournament so far, the transition from Gatland to Pivac was always going to be a little tricky and so it has proved. They came up against a French side who were up for it at home and got comfortably beaten last week, for whatever reason, they just don't seem to have quite clicked yet.

One thing is for sure though, they will not relish the prospect of being beaten by Scotland at home, it is a long time since that has happened! They will also be battle hardened by the game last weekend and you can only expect them to improve.

So are Scotland feeling confident?

Well they do seem to be playing to a decent standard atm, but we have been there before and left the principality with our trails trailing between our legs on many occasions. It is and always will be a very hard place to come and win a game.

It will be odd playing in an empty stadium though and you wonder how it might effect both teams. Wales are used to having that very passionate crowd behind them playing at home and no doubt it has helped get them accross the line on more than one occasion.

Scotland have to feel that they have a good chance here, but also have to manage that pressure, something that they have not been very good at in recent times.

It should be a cracking game.

I am hoping for a Scotland team along these lines:

1. Sutherland
2. Brown
3. Fagerson Z
4. Cummings
5. Gray J
6. Ritchie
7. Watson
8. Haining
9. Price
10. Russell
11. VDM
12. Johnson
13. Harris
14. Graham
15. Hogg - Capt

Subs:

Keeble
McInally
Berghan
Toolis
Cowan
Horne G
Hastings
Jones H



Like the team BigGee, would love to see Shug back in the mix - he has been the standout player by far for Glasgow this season and would offer real cover at 13 and 15. As ever, we are in a bit of a bind at 8 - no standouts even with Fagerson jnr fit. Haining will probably get the nod, but definitely an area of weakness.

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Post by RiscaGame on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 1:25 pm

George Carlin wrote:What do Wales fans (a) want and (b) expect, the line up to be?

I expect the same team, except possibly Williams for 1/2P

I would pick something like (with no Navidi or Moriarty).

Smith
Parry
Francis
AWJ
Rowlands
SLH (it won’t happen, but I want as physical a 6 as possible)
Tipuric
Faletau
Davies
Biggar
Adams
Tompkins
Davies
North (although I am not sure I want him against VDM, it could be the best option)
Williams

Elias, Carre, Lewis, Hill, Wainwright, Hardy, Patchell, LRZ.

I’m assuming Webb isn’t going to make it. There definitely needs to be a change at lock, which could well be Ball. Having somebody who could get over the ball like Parry could help things. Francis or Lee would be my preference for as solid a scrum as possible, although Lewis did fine there last weekend.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 1:36 pm

I think I'd start with Davies and Patchell, then have the next available 9 with Biggar off the bench. Not sure why one of the next available 9's is Lloyd Williams but hey ho.

Regarding the midfield... Unless Johnny Williams can come in and do something then we're looking threadbare there with a bunch of mostly naf options. Pivac, if you want to win then do the right thing and call Doc Roberts Very Happy.

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Post by jimbopip on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 1:57 pm

I think we can all agree on most parts of the team.

Front Row
Sutherland/Kebble-Chuckles/Rambo-Ragnar/Berghan
Engine Room
Cummimgs-Toolis-Jonny the only question is who starts. I think Wales have not quite mastered Pivac's defensive patterns yet, especially when they lose the ball so dynamic forwards should be preferred. Toolis to start and Jonny benching. Which flat out contradicts what I said yesterday!
Half backs
Aldi Price/Haircut-Dancer/Hornito
Back Three
ADHD Kid-Hogg-DVDM

Problem areas?
Back Row
I think it's about balance more than anything. The back row took a while to get on top of Georgia at the breakdown on Friday. A similar start against Wales could see us chasing the game after 15 minutes.
Is Mbawza a 6? Would we be better with a big lump there? Haining or Harley? Or if we go with a bigger, more direct 8 than Middle F can we keep Mbawza at 6? Does Blade Thompson start because he is familiar with the Welsh style?

Mbawza-Thompson-Hamish
Haining-Middle F-Hamish

If Fagerson's ankle is not 100% I think it's Haining/Du Preez sharing the duties at 8.

Centres
picard It's enough to make FES join the SWP and make his domestic staff shareholders in the grouse moor. The choice seems to be from Lang, Grigg and Harris. I'm not going to denigrate hard working pro's but Lang-Grigg wouldn't work. Partly because Grigg looked short of fitness against the O's on Saturday and partly because he plays best when running angles off a smart distributing 12. Lang didn't show any aptitude for that against Georgia. Harris may play despite GC calling him a plank dipped in creosote. To me, Harris is a typical English Premiership centre; he will tackle everything that runs in his channel and he will run hard, straight lines. He and Foxy could easily spend the afternoon running into each other ad infinitum. Despite his shortcomings with the ball Harris is probably our best 13 without the ball.
So, Johnson-Harris to start.

Bench
Toonie might go for a 6-2 split: Dancer covers 12 with Haircut at 10, Hornito can cover wing. However I think he'll go with 5-3 and the big choice will be the third back. Shuggie Shuggie Shuggie has been playing very well at 15, he obviously can slot in at 13. However, Ratu could cover all back three positions and if we were really looking for a nuclear option then Ratu to 15 and Hogg steps up to 13.

p.s. Gee, I knew Long Covid had some nasty side effects vomit but I never realised hallucinating that Blair Cowan would play for Scotland again was one of them.

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Post by George Carlin on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 2:01 pm

jimbopip wrote:I think we can all agree on most parts of the team.

Front Row
Sutherland/Kebble-Chuckles/Rambo-Ragnar/Berghan
Engine Room
Cummimgs-Toolis-Jonny the only question is who starts. I think Wales have not quite mastered Pivac's defensive patterns yet, especially when they lose the ball so dynamic forwards should be preferred. Toolis to start and Jonny benching. Which flat out contradicts what I said yesterday!
Half backs
Aldi Price/Haircut-Dancer/Hornito
Back Three
ADHD Kid-Hogg-DVDM

Problem areas?
Back Row
I think it's about balance more than anything. The back row took a while to get on top of Georgia at the breakdown on Friday. A similar start against Wales could see us chasing the game after 15 minutes.
Is Mbawza a 6? Would we be better with a big lump there? Haining or Harley? Or if we go with a bigger, more direct 8 than Middle F can we keep Mbawza at 6? Does Blade Thompson start because he is familiar with the Welsh style?

Mbawza-Thompson-Hamish
Haining-Middle F-Hamish

If Fagerson's ankle is not 100% I think it's Haining/Du Preez sharing the duties at 8.

Centres
picard It's enough to make FES join the SWP and make his domestic staff shareholders in the grouse moor. The choice seems to be from Lang, Grigg and Harris. I'm not going to denigrate hard working pro's but Lang-Grigg wouldn't work. Partly because Grigg looked short of fitness against the O's on Saturday and partly because he plays best when running angles off a smart distributing 12. Lang didn't show any aptitude for that against Georgia. Harris may play despite GC calling him a plank dipped in creosote. To me, Harris is a typical English Premiership centre; he will tackle everything that runs in his channel and he will run hard, straight lines. He and Foxy could easily spend the afternoon running into each other ad infinitum. Despite his shortcomings with the ball Harris is probably our best 13 without the ball.
So, Johnson-Harris to start.

Bench
Toonie might go for a 6-2 split: Dancer covers 12 with Haircut at 10, Hornito can cover wing. However I think he'll go with 5-3 and the big choice will be the third back.  Shuggie Shuggie Shuggie has been playing very well at 15, he obviously can slot in at 13. However, Ratu could cover all back three positions and if we were really looking for a nuclear option then Ratu to 15 and Hogg steps up to 13.

p.s. Gee, I knew Long Covid had some nasty side effects vomit but I never realised hallucinating that Blair Cowan would play for Scotland again was one of them.
We will provide 'Understand Jim' subtitles for our Welsh brothers throughout the course of this thread.
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Post by BigGee on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 2:36 pm

I will stick with Cowan as a bench option. He is versatile enough to plsy accross the back row and after Richie and Watson, probably our best breakdown forwars available.

It depends if Toonie wants a jackler or a big lump on the bench.

He is clearly not one of the future, but like Harley last weekend, he won't let us down if he is picked!

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 4:09 pm

Problem with Cowan is if Toolis or J Gray is on the bench (not Skinner) and whomever is at 8 (Haining, Thomson or CDP) gets injured, the back row is going to be underpowered and we don't have the locks to make up for it.

Cowan fits the bench if either Skinner is also on the bench or we have Skinner/Haining/Thomson/CDP at BS to complement the no. 8 which would mean Ritchie is dropped entirely.

I am not sold on Toolis making the 23 though due to Skinner's versatility so maybe Cowan does come in. Was cursed in his first run as Barclay was the better player and being ignored, he was always a decent player.

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Post by No9 on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 6:12 pm

George Carlin wrote:What do Wales fans (a) want and (b) expect...

(a) Want -> For the WRU to wake up, and realise that any head coach who picks Jonathan Humphries and Byron Hayward as coaches, hasn't a b!oody clue what they're doing, and needs to be replaced so that we can repair the damage he is doing before the next World Cup.

(b) Expect -> The WRU to put their heads back up their backsides, and watch the Welsh side slide backwards undoing the work done over the last 12 years.

WRU screwed up big time, not offering the top job to Shaun Edwards, as he could and would have built on Gatland's legacy, instead of doing all he could to undo it. Like it or not, his tenure was the most successful period of Welsh international rugby.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 7:21 pm

I'd go with BigGee's team, albeit I'd probably switch Cowan for Du Preez on the bench (Ritchie and Watson are both 80 minute players so it would be Haining I'd be looking to replace in the second half).

If were are chasing the game then we replace Johnson and Harris for Hastings and Jones. I may have mentioned before that I dont think Harris is very good...

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Post by NeilyBroon on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 7:57 pm

funnyExiledScot wrote:I'd go with BigGee's team, albeit I'd probably switch Cowan for Du Preez on the bench (Ritchie and Watson are both 80 minute players so it would be Haining I'd be looking to replace in the second half).

If were are chasing the game then we replace Johnson and Harris for Hastings and Jones. I may have mentioned before that I dont think Harris is very good...

I think we're using Harris wrong, he can solve our problems at 8 with his excellent control at the back of the maul and hardworking physicality battering up the middle and we can have shug back at centre.
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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 8:45 pm

Ha, like Richie Vernon in reverse but not as quick....

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Post by RDW on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 10:10 pm

Opta Jonny (he tweets stats about rugby) has posted that Duhan VDM tops the charts for pretty much every attacking metric in the Pro 14 since his debut for Edinburgh in 2017 - tries, metres gained, average gain per carry, clean break an defenders beaten. In terms of m gained, 2nd place was 700m less - that's huge. In terms of defenders beaten 2nd place was 70 fewer, also huge.

Obviously stats don't tell the full story - for the stats relating to total numbers he's benefited from generally playing most games, and not being away on international duty etc. and being the Pro 14 a lot of those games wouldn't have been against top class defenses - but it is still incredible numbers.

I've certainly not been as excited about the potential of a player for Scotland in a long time, and even if he manages half of what he does at club level he's going to be a hell o fa weapon for us. It won't come easy for him though - he already saw against Georgia that he was a marked man and defences are so much better at this level.

Tim Visser was probably the last player to cause such a stir as an attacking threat, and whilst he wasn't able to fully replicate his club abilities at the highest level he still scored 14 tries in 33 tests. I'd say Duhan is even more impressive than Visser though - I think he's actually faster and his physicality is on a completely different level, and whilst not a great defender (like most big winger) you don't get the impression he's afraid to put the shoulder in like Visser!

Really looking forward to see him develop over the next few months. Wales will be a big step up for him.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Tue 27 Oct 2020, 11:32 pm

Agreed, he's a fantastic strike runner and it's also great to get Graham back on the other wing. Both looked sharp against Georgia.

I knock Harris because I think he's mediocre, but he has shown an offloading game and if Duhan can latch onto an offload or two he'll cause Wales problems. Likewise he'll benefit from Russell at 10, and his wide passing game.

Toonie will probably stick Hastings at 10 and Kinghorn on the wing now I've said all that....

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Post by George Carlin on Wed 28 Oct 2020, 5:35 am

RDW wrote:Opta Jonny (he tweets stats about rugby) has posted that Duhan VDM tops the charts for pretty much every attacking metric in the Pro 14 since his debut for Edinburgh in 2017 - tries, metres gained, average gain per carry, clean break an defenders beaten. In terms of m gained, 2nd place was 700m less - that's huge. In terms of defenders beaten 2nd place was 70 fewer, also huge.

Obviously stats don't tell the full story - for the stats relating to total numbers he's benefited from generally playing most games, and not being away on international duty etc. and being the Pro 14 a lot of those games wouldn't have been against top class defenses - but it is still incredible numbers.

I've certainly not been as excited about the potential of a player for Scotland in a long time, and even if he manages half of what he does at club level he's going to be a hell o fa weapon for us. It won't come easy for him though - he already saw against Georgia that he was a marked man and defences are so much better at this level.

Tim Visser was probably the last player to cause such a stir as an attacking threat, and whilst he wasn't able to fully replicate his club abilities at the highest level he still scored 14 tries in 33 tests. I'd say Duhan is even more impressive than Visser though - I think he's actually faster and his physicality is on a completely different level, and whilst not a great defender (like most big winger) you don't get the impression he's afraid to put the shoulder in like Visser!

Really looking forward to see him develop over the next few months. Wales will be a big step up for him.
Absolutely - the guy is a potential star and I say that whilst acknowledging that each home nation now has at least one new, young winger who could be the bedrock of their side's backline for while. This was the Opta post:
OptaJonny
@OptaJonny
12 Oct 2020

Duhan van der Merwe has topped the charts for tries (24), metres gained (2927), average gain per carry (9.5), clean breaks (78) and defenders beaten (222) since his PRO14 debut in November 2017. Pick.
Wales v Scotland 6N Super Saturday 31st Oct 2020 Opta_d10
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Post by EST on Wed 28 Oct 2020, 10:24 am

Worth noting he did all this playing for Edinburgh with Duncan Hodge as the backs coach.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Wed 28 Oct 2020, 11:38 am

RDW wrote:Really looking forward to see him develop over the next few months. Wales will be a big step up for him.

I think Wales' defence will be anything but that. Has to be curtains for Hayward soon. It's like we don't learn anything from all the past cases of jobs for the boyo's Rolling Eyes.

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Wed 28 Oct 2020, 9:27 pm

Does anyone else think that we might see a Toonie Tombola back row of Ritchie, Watson and Thompson?
Despite that sounding like a working class firm of solicitors, it would be a mightily feisty and urgent back row.

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Post by profitius on Wed 28 Oct 2020, 10:39 pm

Its a nightmare match for Pivac. The Welsh public expect a win but its a very dangerous Scottish side who will come into this confident of a win. Should be a good match.
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Post by jimbopip on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 9:43 am

Anglobraveheart wrote:Does anyone else think that we might see a Toonie Tombola back row of Ritchie, Watson and Thompson?
Despite that sounding like a working class firm of solicitors, it would be a mightily feisty and urgent back row.

I refer the honourable gentleman to my earlier remarks on the subject;

Problem areas?
Back Row
I think it's about balance more than anything. The back row took a while to get on top of Georgia at the breakdown on Friday. A similar start against Wales could see us chasing the game after 15 minutes.
Is Mbawza a 6? Would we be better with a big lump there? Haining or Harley? Or if we go with a bigger, more direct 8 than Middle F can we keep Mbawza at 6? Does Blade Thompson start because he is familiar with the Welsh style?

Mbawza-Thompson-Hamish
Haining-Middle F-Hamish

If Fagerson's ankle is not 100% I think it's Haining/Du Preez sharing the duties at 8.


I think Toonie has decided that Mbawza and Hamish are the two flankers he wants but the problem seems to be finding the right 8 to complement them. Thompson could be that man but his horrendous luck with injuries has prevented him from showing us that he is.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 10:59 am

Shane Lewis-Hughes again rumoured to be starting. I'm good with this as long as there are changes to the front 5 and at half-back. I think the locks will likely remain the same with (hopefully) Rowlands on the bench.

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 11:07 am

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; Liam Williams, Jonathan Davies, Owen Watkin, Josh Adams; Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Rhys Carre, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Will Rowlands, Alun Wyn Jones, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Wyn Jones, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, James Davies, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Patchell, Nick Tompkins.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 11:10 am

Well still not entirely pleased with the team but you can't please everyone. At least he had the gonads to drop North. Watkin getting some game time in his best position, finally...

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 11:17 am

I totally get his back three selection. Williams will be better equipped to deal with VDM, in my opinion. I also get the centre selection. As I said, I think I would’ve started Parry for another jackal threat. I can’t really argue with his starting team, at the minute.

Subs seem a little strange. I get the front row. I don’t really get what James Davies can offer, other than coming on for Tipuric. If it is for one of the other two, it’s a pretty unbalanced backrow. It’s kind of strange to see Lloyd Williams leapfrog Hardy and I’m not sure if I would’ve had Tompkins as the outside backs replacement. I would possibly have chosen a direct replacement for the back three like LRZ.

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 11:26 am

Ah so LRZ has had a knock all week, so that makes sense. Interesting to see him acknowledge North’s lack of form, when it mattered little last week.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 11:59 am

RiscaGame wrote:I totally get his back three selection. Williams will be better equipped to deal with VDM, in my opinion. I also get the centre selection. As I said, I think I would’ve started Parry for another jackal threat. I can’t really argue with his starting team, at the minute.

Subs seem a little strange. I get the front row. I don’t really get what James Davies can offer, other than coming on for Tipuric. If it is for one of the other two, it’s a pretty unbalanced backrow. It’s kind of strange to see Lloyd Williams leapfrog Hardy and I’m not sure if I would’ve had Tompkins as the outside backs replacement. I would possibly have chosen a direct replacement for the back three like LRZ.

Agree on the 9's, and on the Davies selection - and he's well down the open-side pecking order anyway. Hill would be better for back 5 cover but we're probably reliant on the availability of Navidi for that, funny how some are only now realising his worth when I've banging the drum for years Very Happy. Hopefully Tips and Faletau are better this week or they won't be around for long when others return. North would have been a good sub if his form was any better, otherwise we may as well have put Johnny Williams there.

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:37 pm

Stuart Hogg will return to the Scotland starting line-up as Captain for the final round of the 2020 Guinness Six Nations against Wales on Saturday 31 October - kick-off 2:15pm.

Fresh from securing the European and Premiership double with his club Exeter Chiefs, Hogg plays at full back as one of five changes to the starting XV from the Scotland side that defeated Georgia 48-7 last week.

Finn Russell lines up at fly-half after winning his 50th Scotland cap in the Georgia victory at BT Murrayfield on Friday night, and is joined in the half-backs by Glasgow Warriors’ Ali Price.

In the back division, Blair Kinghorn shifts to the wing from full-back and replaces Edinburgh teammate Duhan van de Merwe, who is named among the replacements.

James Lang and Chris Harris continue their centre partnership after playing together against Georgia.

In the pack fellow Exeter Chief Jonny Gray comes into the second row and Scarlets’ Blade Thomson is selected at number 8 and will run out on his club ground on Saturday in Llanelli.

Hooker Fraser Brown is named as Vice-Captain and packs down with Rory Sutherland and Zander Fagerson in an unchanged front row. Scott Cummings also retains his starting place to partner Gray in the second row.

Edinburgh pair Jamie Ritchie, also a Vice Captain, and Hamish Watson make up the back-row with Thomson.

In the replacements Harlequins scrum-half Scott Steele could make his Scotland debut if called into action. Adam Hastings and van de Merwe complete the backline replacements.

Townsend can also call upon the same front row of Oli Kebble, Stuart McInally and Simon Berghan as featured in against Georgia, alongside Worcester Warrior Cornell du Preez and Edinburgh’s Ben Toolis from the bench.

“As a group we are very much looking forward to finally completing our fixture against Wales and returning to play Guinness Six Nations rugby again. We were highly motivated back in March, and that extra edge has come back into our training and preparations this week.
Scotland Head Coach, Gregor Townsend
“It’s been great to bring in quality and experience to our starting line-up with players such as Stuart, Jonny and Finn who have been involved in some high-level games in recent weeks. We were also encouraged by Blade’s display at the weekend for Scarlets, which is a timely boost given last weekend’s injury to Matt Fagerson.

“We are expecting a physical battle against a very good side, one which we will be working hard to stay in the fight and to finish the fight in Llanelli. Ultimately, this game provides an opportunity for us to end this extended championship on a positive note and go into the Autumn Nations Cup with some added belief in what this group of players can achieve.”

Scotland team to play Wales at Parc Y Scarlets

Saturday 31 October (kick-off 2:15pm) – live on BBC

15. Stuart Hogg CAPTAIN (Exeter Chiefs) – 76 caps
14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 12 caps
13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) - 19 caps
12. James Lang (Harlequins) – 3 caps
11. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 22 caps
10. Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 50 caps
9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 33 caps

1. Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh) – 8 caps
2. Fraser Brown VICE CAPTAIN (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps
3. Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 30 caps
4. Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
5. Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs) – 57 caps
6. Jamie Ritchie VICE CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 19 caps
7. Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 33 caps
8. Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 5 caps

Substitutes:

16. Stuart McInally (Edinburgh) – 38 caps
17. Oli Kebble (Glasgow Warriors) – 1 cap
18. Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
19. Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 26 caps
20. Cornell du Preez (Worcester Warriors) – 8 caps
21. Scott Steele (Harlequins) - Uncapped
22. Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
23. Duhan van der Merwe (Edinburgh) – 1 cap

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Post by BigGee on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:44 pm

He does love Kinghorn dose he not!

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Post by Hazel Sapling on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:51 pm

Several surprises in that line-up.

- Steele over G Horne
- Lang keeps his place over Johnson
- Kinghorn and Duhan are swapped around from what was expected
- Thomson starts at 8 (minor surprise)

Toolis must have done enough against Georgia to keep his place in the 23 over Skinner. The front five is more than solid whilst figuring out the no. 8/bench back row spots continue to prove painful.

Lang did not deserve to keep his place based off Georgia and Johnson can feel hard done by. H Jones must have spat in someone's coffee. Outside of injury, dropping Horne for Steele is a bizarre choice. The centres will hopefully be solid defensively and run some lines for Russell. It feels like giving an F1 driver the keys to a Volvo rather than the Ferrari without VDM or H Jones starting.

The weather has been appalling in Wales for the last six days and is not due to get much better. The game is meant to be played during a relative pause in the rain according to the google forecast for Llanelli. I can only think that we want another kicker in the back three to clear the lines.

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Post by EST on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:53 pm

Well, it wouldn't be a Toonie selection without a few left-field choices.  I like the pack, a strong front row and good balance to the back three - really good impact from the bench in that area too, with Kebble, McInally, Toolis and Du Preez.

Delighted to see Finn start, but a few odd selections in the backs otherwise.  Hoped Johnson would be brought back into 12, Lang looked very pedestrian last week; Harris continues with his steady medium pace and Kinghorn is rewarded for his terrible form with a move to the wing.  I can sort of see the logic in the latter, he does have a decent amount of international experience on the wing and Duhan could well be targeted defensively, but I hoped Townsend would have learned his mistakes from the WC around picking players short of form.


Last edited by EST on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:57 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by EST on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:55 pm

Didn't even notice Steele over Horne - another odd choice. Steele is solid if unspectacular, which seems to be a bit of a theme in Toonies backs selections recently.

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Post by jimbopip on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 1:59 pm

Typically Toonie; some good, some not and some what the fecc.
The pack looks solid. Blade Thompson is no real surprise but Du Preez over Haining or Principal on the bench is.
Blarehorn over DVDM and no Tangive or Shuggie Shuggie Shuggie Oi Toonie Oi on the bench is typical Tombola.
Lang starting again at 12 with the Godfather Of Soul at 13 means the rumours that Toonie has appointed Father Dougal as his new backs coach must be true.

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Post by sensisball on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 2:26 pm

Lang (3 caps) and Steele (uncapped) look like strange choices for a game that offers the best chance in almost 2 decades to beat Wales on Welsh soil.
Is Kinghorn an international class winger? Not seen much evidence of it. Under intense pressure he seems to produce brain farts of the highest order.

DVDM would have been the better starting option with Shug to provide cover for a happy but undoudtedly tired Hogg. Or he would have been able to provide a cutting edge in midfield once the Welsh defence tires after 60 minutes.
Putting an uncapped scrum-half on the bench is also a major concern. Say Price goes off with a head knock after 10, are we really saying Steele is the man you want to steer the pack around the park to victory?
Would also have picked Skinner for the bench, his defensive energy would have bolstered the tackle area and he also carries well. I know he not an established 8 but he has played there and the front five should be strong enough to give him a stable scrum platform.
Think it is building to be a close game. Both teams really need the win, but probbaly more pressure for the W on the home team. Might work in our favour.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 2:48 pm

SCOTT STEELE!!!!!!!!!!!

He must have improved out of sight at Quins these last 3 months, as prior to that he has been a pretty average player. Decent championship player but not shown more than that before.

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Post by EST on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 2:59 pm

LondonTiger wrote:SCOTT STEELE!!!!!!!!!!!

He must have improved out of sight at Quins these last 3 months, as prior to that he has been a pretty average player. Decent championship player but not shown more than that before.

Yeah, very strange - he has been picked over Hidalgo-Clyne in the original squad as well, who has obviously been going very well.

I'm a huge George Horne fan and struggle to see how dropping him for Steele improves us.

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Post by Anglobraveheart on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 3:00 pm

jimbopip wrote:
Anglobraveheart wrote:Does anyone else think that we might see a Toonie Tombola back row of Ritchie, Watson and Thompson?
Despite that sounding like a working class firm of solicitors, it would be a mightily feisty and urgent back row.

I refer the honourable gentleman to my earlier remarks on the subject;

Problem areas?
Back Row
I think it's about balance more than anything. The back row took a while to get on top of Georgia at the breakdown on Friday. A similar start against Wales could see us chasing the game after 15 minutes.
Is Mbawza a 6? Would we be better with a big lump there? Haining or Harley? Or if we go with a bigger, more direct 8 than Middle F can we keep Mbawza at 6? Does Blade Thompson start because he is familiar with the Welsh style?

Mbawza-Thompson-Hamish
Haining-Middle F-Hamish

If Fagerson's ankle is not 100% I think it's Haining/Du Preez sharing the duties at 8.


I think Toonie has decided that Mbawza and Hamish are the two flankers he wants but the problem seems to be finding the right 8 to complement them. Thompson could be that man but his horrendous luck with injuries has prevented him from showing us that he is.
I think after my little question last night, I might just buy a Euromillions ticket tomorrow.......

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Post by NeilyBroon on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 3:20 pm

Looks like Toonie is trying his best to keep our record streak on Welsh soil going then!
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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 3:52 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:Looks like Toonie is trying his best to keep our record streak on Welsh soil going then!

I still think you will be okay. People like VDM coming off the bench could be carnage for us, especially with our bench.

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Post by Blueschief on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 4:06 pm

I’m pleased for SLH, it’s well deserved. He’s one for the future. It’s possible one day when Ellis Jenkins is back to his best that we could see a Cardiff back row for Wales. SLH at 6, Ellis at 7 and Navs at 8. Quite tasty that.

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Post by mikey_dragon on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 4:11 pm

Blueschief wrote:I’m pleased for SLH, it’s well deserved. He’s one for the future. It’s possible one day when Ellis Jenkins is back to his best that we could see a Cardiff back row for Wales. SLH at 6, Ellis at 7 and Navs at 8. Quite tasty that.

I think Navidi would be my first choice now at 6, 7, or 8 depending on who else is available but for me, Navidi is the best (when available). Our back-row needs a shake up, maybe SLH can provide it.

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Post by RiscaGame on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 4:29 pm

There was a case form wise, for SLH to have made the initial squad over Davies or Wainwright. Agree on Navidi though. Definitely a huge miss for us.

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Post by Mcsweens on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 5:04 pm

Lang over SJ is a Poopie - however Finn will make him look good.
Very happy with the pack.

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Post by funnyExiledScot on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 5:29 pm

The pack is fine, as are the bench forwards. No issue with giving Blade another shot at 8.

I'm pleased Russell starts at 10, but not happy with Kinghorn over Duhan, or Lang starting at 12 ahead of Johnson and Hastings. The only possible explanation for Steele on the bench over Horne is injury/illness, otherwise the decision is just wrong. Steele over SH-C was a duff call for me for the squad!!

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 6:57 pm

profitius wrote:Its a nightmare match for Pivac. The Welsh public expect a win but its a very dangerous Scottish side who will come into this confident of a win. Should be a good match.

Definitely.

Lose and the knives come out.

So far, every defeat has been 'acceptable' in a weird way.

Against Ireland, Wales played by far the 'more' rugby and showed more to their game than Ireland. Silly errors and a lack of defensive clout allowed Ireland easy tries. Away from home, relatively narrow loss, in 12-18 months the positive gameplan should pay off and Wales will surpass an Ireland team that looked like 'more of the same'.

England was England, comfortably the best NH team now, WC finalists, and Wales still pushed them with a semi-Gatlandball late charge base on fitness and pressure. A bit more haste in the final 10 minutes when England were leaking points and cards and Wales could, however unexpectedly, won. Not a major issue, but again, England away from home.

The France game was poor. Wales outplayed them but easy, easy tries conceded and a lack of cutting edge meant, somehow, Wales lost.

Now, again, Wales clearly outmuscled and beaten away from home.

All of those are acceptable.

Losing to Scotland won't be.

Pivac has a long history at the Scarlets of not being able to stop 'rot' when it sets in - for weeks and months on end. That's not a good sign for test rugby and, so far, the streaky run they're on is a losing one. Lose to Scotland and Wales have issues. It's not a 'must win', and if they lose the manner of the defeat will be important, but the press will finally have something to sink their teeth in to if Scotland win. So far, each Welsh defeat has come with caveats. Losing to Scotland considering Wales' dominance over them for 15 years would be a major upset.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Thu 29 Oct 2020, 7:01 pm

I do think there are plenty of positive signs however perhaps the biggest issue, other than physical power and gainline control, was Dan Biggar. He simply doesn't fit at 10. The difference to Anscombe is dramatic and with Patchell and Jarrod Evans not grabbing their opportunities or showing class, there's space for a ballplaying 10 to take the 10 shirt asap. Biggar is a great bench option for gruelling test matches but he cannot run a backline that is now trying to play expansive rugby. This should be even more apparent against Scotland and Russell, particularly if Wales don't beat them up front. Tompkins being nervy and unpredictable won't have helped either Biggar or JD2 but Biggar is one to watch: for the first time in a long time, focusing on the Welsh 10 is actually quite important!

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