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The Calcutta Cup Saturday 5 Feb 2022

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Post by bsando Wed 19 Jan 2022, 7:10 pm

First topic message reminder :

Scotland vs England

BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Saturday 5th of February 2022
Kick Off 4:45pm

What the Coaches are saying

Gregor Townsend - "The players have been in outstanding form for their respective clubs.. and that is outstanding!" *tongue click*

Eddie Jones - "There are some young players getting an opportunity. They just need to make sure they don't get distracted or else they might not do so well."

Scotland Team

1. Sutherland 2. Turner 3. Z Fagerson
4. J Gray 5. Gilchrist
6. Ritchie 7. Watson 8. M Fagerson.
9. Price 10. Russell
12. Johnson 13. Harris
11. Van der Merwe 14. Graham
15. Hogg

Replacements: McInally, Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, M Bradbury, White, Kinghorn, Tuipulotu.

England Team

1. Genge 2. Cowan-Dickie 3. Sinckler
4. Itoje 5. Isiekwe
6. Ludlam 7. Curry (c) 8. Simmonds.
9. Youngs 10. Smith
12. Slade 13. Daly
11. Marchant 14. Malins
15. Steward

Replacements: George, Marler, Stuart, Ewels, Dombrandt, Randall, Ford, Nowell.


Last edited by bsando on Thu 03 Feb 2022, 3:12 pm; edited 5 times in total

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Post by Sharkey06 Fri 28 Jan 2022, 10:26 pm

I am expecting Scotland to give England a bit of a going over at the scrums and lineouts. We were absolutely wrotten against South Africa in the Autumn Internationals (and the World Cup final) and have been generally poor in the scrums for quite a while now. The lineout was shored up to a degree by playing Lawes in the backrow, but if he is out I can see us struggling.

With Ben O'Keeffe as the ref, anything is possible and England have shown a propensity to give away lots of penalties at the breakdown.

This seems a really unsettled England team with lots of question marks around key positions - no8, scrumhalf and inside centre. I hate to say it, but I do fancy Scotland to win and win quite comfortably. If only this was football, we might finally see the back of Eddie as England coach.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Fri 28 Jan 2022, 10:33 pm

First choice at 1 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 13 14 and 15 though.

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Post by lostinwales Sat 29 Jan 2022, 2:14 am

There are very few if any packs that SA have not dumped on on a regular basis.

I don't know what will happen next Saturday but SA out-muscled Scotland to a 30-15 victory the week before we beat them. (Not sure if we should have won but I guess scoring 3 tries to their one was a big part of it)

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Post by doctor_grey Sat 29 Jan 2022, 1:56 pm

lostinwales wrote:There are very few if any packs that SA have not dumped on on a regular basis.

I don't know what will happen next Saturday but SA out-muscled Scotland to a 30-15 victory the week before we beat them. (Not sure if we should have won but I guess scoring 3 tries to their one was a big part of it)
I thought it helped to score more points than they did..... drumroll

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Post by Hazel Sapling Sat 29 Jan 2022, 2:05 pm

As much as I am a fan of the 4 props (Sutherland/Schoeman, Zander/Nel) we are likely to play, we are not going to demolish the English scrum. All are more prominent in the loose (except for maybe Nel) than in the set piece and look to set a stable base.

All I want from our set piece is parity and a solid base from which to attack the English backline giving Russell free reign to attack the line.

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Post by majesticimperialman Sat 29 Jan 2022, 9:21 pm

With England playing so well in the AI winning against the world champions i honestly believe they (England) would win this game easily.

I was going to put Scotland's win last year down to a blip in England's form(the pandemic and players not having much game time) But now i am not so sure it will an easy win for England.

I guess we will see on Saturday. Very Happy

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun 30 Jan 2022, 12:36 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I am expecting Scotland to give England a bit of a going over at the scrums and lineouts.  We were absolutely wrotten against South Africa in the Autumn Internationals (and the World Cup final) and have been generally poor in the scrums for quite a while now.  The lineout was shored up to a degree by playing Lawes in the backrow, but if he is out I can see us struggling.

With Ben O'Keeffe as the ref, anything is possible and England have shown a propensity to give away lots of penalties at the breakdown.

This seems a really unsettled England team with lots of question marks around key positions - no8, scrumhalf and inside centre.  I hate to say it, but I do fancy Scotland to win and win quite comfortably.  If only this was football, we might finally see the back of Eddie as England coach.

I don't think the scrum will be to bad. We actually did ok against SA considering the injuries/absentees at both loosehead and hooker in the AIs. The lineout I'd hope we can disrupt a little and win our own ball.

The big issue for me will be England discipline. Scots have got some gnarly players that compete fantastically well and I can see us getting on the wrong side of sir.

I think it should be a fairly tight game, if the weather's good possibility of some free slowing stuff. If the weather is bad and there's a lot of kicking it might suit England a little more with Eddie able to go to a back three with a lot of security under the high ball in the likes of Steward and Malins. Smith has a lot of diversity in his kicking game to make life awkward and with Ford able to come off the bench and deploy his particularly nightmarish interpretation of the spiral bomb Hogg might need assistance at the back.

Should be an interesting game.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 30 Jan 2022, 1:11 pm

You think Ford will be on the bench? If EJ still wants his 6:2 split, not sure I see a place for Ford in the match game 23. If he goes back to a 5:3, I can see that easily. Hard to predict what he will do. And I think the 6:2 became more likely with the questions about whether Courtney Lawes will play.

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Post by king_carlos Sun 30 Jan 2022, 2:22 pm

doctor_grey wrote:You think Ford will be on the bench?  If EJ still wants his 6:2 split, not sure I see a place for Ford in the match game 23.  If he goes back to a 5:3, I can see that easily.  Hard to predict what he will do.  And I think the 6:2 became more likely with the questions about whether Courtney Lawes will play.  
I think we will see a 5-3 split. Due to the forward injuries as well as Farrell.

Either something like:

16.George
17.Marler
18.Stuart
19.Isiekwe/Chessum
20.Simmonds
21.Quirke
22.Ford
23.Daly/Nowell/Marchant/Malins/Furbank (a versatile back depending on starting XV basically)

or:

16.George
17.Marler
18.Stuart
19.Isiekwe
20.Chessum/Barbeary
21.Simmonds
22.Quirke
23.Versatile back depending on XV once again with Malins or Furbank then being 10 cover

One of them covers the whole backline and pack, whilst giving a second competent goal kicker and offers a reserve 10 who is regularly trusted to play fly-half at club level.

The other loses the kicker and backup 10, in return adds an extra back row sub that could very likely go unused. If Curry, Ludlam and Dombrandt start (presuming Lawes injured here) then having two back rows means subbing presumably Ludlam and Dombrandt. Barbeary or Simmonds coming on at 8 in the second half as a different style of carrier makes sense to me. Bringing Simmonds or Barbeary on at flanker doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

The other 6-2 split option is having two locks on the bench in Isiekwe and Chessum with both able to cover 6. Again I see one going unused though. You're not subbing Itoje, if either of those guys came on at 6 in place of Ludlam it would likely to be shoring up the lineout with extra jumper. If the lineouts faltering with 2 jumpers are we then going to sub Ewels though?

With genuine fly-half cover and a second goal kicker in the starting back line, plus stronger bench forwards to stack the 16-21 shirts with it can be worth the risk. It looks likely we will have neither the 10 and goal kicking cover or the forwards to stack the bench though. Just not worth it. If we could load 19.Launchbury 20.Underhill 21.Barbeary onto the bench it's a different discussion. Not where this squad is with the unavailable players though.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Sun 30 Jan 2022, 3:13 pm

The probable scottish back line is more impressive than their probable pack, which if the game was at Twickenham in April would be a far more dangerous proposition that Murrayfield in February.

I was at Murrayfield two years ago and it was a dreadful game in dreadful conditions. I see the weather forecast for Edinburgh next Saturday is 75% chance of rain.

EJ will have noted how Exeter demolished Glasgow a week or two previously but then again EJ will probably try something completely different....

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Post by king_carlos Sun 30 Jan 2022, 3:33 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:The probable scottish back line is more impressive than their probable pack, which if the game was at Twickenham in April would be a far more dangerous proposition that Murrayfield in February.

I was at Murrayfield two years ago and it was a dreadful game in dreadful conditions. I see the weather forecast for Edinburgh next Saturday is 75% chance of rain.

EJ will have noted how Exeter demolished Glasgow a week or two previously but then again EJ will probably try something completely different....
Sutherland and Schoe are very different prospects at LH to the ones Exeter faced though.

The forward battle will be very tight I think. I rate Ritchie and Mish very highly indeed.

Props
Fairly even I'd say though both sides are stronger at LH than TH.

Hooker
England's advantage here with the two Lions.

Lock
Just Scotland advantage here for me. Itoje the best player here but Gray and Cummings the better partnership.

Flanker
Very tight. If Lawes plays it will be 4 proven internationals with different strengths going at each other which sounds brilliant. If Ludlam plays it will be more similar players with all 4 flankers then arguably at their best playing 7. If England are slow to secure their own ball, which they were very liable for last Six Nations, then the Mullet and Ritchie will take full advantage. I hope Darge is on the bench, seems a huge talent.

Number 8
Fagerson vs Dombrandt feels most likely. Fagerson was very good against England last year. Dombrandt has a really high ceiling. Other options in Bradbury and Simmonds are players who have shown excellent club form without quite converting it yet.

Tough to call.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun 30 Jan 2022, 7:08 pm

Marchant has tested positive so won't be available for training until midweek at earliest. Kinda forces the hand now. We'll see Atkinson and Slade in midfield now surely?
Freeman out with a hamstring injury.
And Radwan and Lynagh both come into the squad. Getting exciting.

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Post by Mr Bounce Sun 30 Jan 2022, 7:50 pm

Looking at the large number of wingers now in the squad (Radwan, Lynagh, Nowell, Hassell-Collins) plus Malins often covering there, could Eddie be considering playing Daly at 13? Could Slade and Daly work together?

Note that I would prefer Atkinson and Slade at 12 and 13, but who knows what permutations are going on in Jones' head. Knowing him he's playing Daly at 11, Nowell at 13 and putting Ford at 12...

I just hope that Slade stays fit and well. He was quite a decent player for England in the AIs.

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Post by doctor_grey Sun 30 Jan 2022, 10:49 pm

Mr Bounce wrote:Looking at the large number of wingers now in the squad (Radwan, Lynagh, Nowell, Hassell-Collins) plus Malins often covering there, could Eddie be considering playing Daly at 13? Could Slade and Daly work together?

Note that I would prefer Atkinson and Slade at 12 and 13, but who knows what permutations are going on in Jones' head. Knowing him he's playing Daly at 11, Nowell at 13 and putting Ford at 12...

I just hope that Slade stays fit and well. He was quite a decent player for England in the AIs.
Simmonds at 12......... Run

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Post by RDW Sun 30 Jan 2022, 11:01 pm

A bit of fighting talk coming from EJ, which is not like him - usually he's all about putting the pressure on the opposition. Knowing Eddie it could easily be a double/triple/quadruple bluff! From a Scotland PoV, as always, they're best just focusing on their own game.

It's a very weird feeling as a Scotsman coming into this game - England have only beaten us 1 in the last 4 games, have a few injuries and we're looking in good shape. On the other had, we're Scotland.....

Definitely an example of where I'm glad I'm in the wrong timezone so it will all be over by the time I wake up!

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Post by hugehandoff Mon 31 Jan 2022, 11:13 am

The weather is always key in Edinburgh and currently it looks like a light rain and a fresh breeze. The forwards battle will be as important as ever and England should be happy to just come away with a scrappy 1 point victory. Therefore, I see England trying to grind their way forward and maybe opting for the 6:2 bench split to aid that. Especially with the disruption to the backs I can see a limited game plan being used. Hoggy has dropped a few so I expect Youngs to test him a few times.

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Post by Poorfour Mon 31 Jan 2022, 11:57 am

Possibly, but unfamiliarity cuts both ways.

England's worst recent results against Scotland have come when the side has been too settled - when Toonie has been able to work out the game plan and counter it. This time, what you'll have is a very new squad, particularly in the backline, but also an early outing of Eddie's RWC 23 game plan.

Also, depending a little on how Marler and Marchant recover from COVID, the squad is likely to have 4 or more players who play together at Quins (and Sinckler, who also played with them) and so know each other pretty well.
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Post by takethelongroad Mon 31 Jan 2022, 1:44 pm

Gentle swell of optimism for me. I think that GT will now be looking at different sides for different opposition. If he looks back at last season for work ons to turn the Ls into Ws, it probably came down to keep on the right side of the ref, no red cards and an unlucky bounce of the ball. A settled spine to the team, an efficient defence and a healthy crowd behind the team will all help.

My guess at the side: Schoeman, turner. Fagerson. Gray and Cummings. Ritchie, Haining and Watson. Price, russell, johnson (who seems to relish playing England), harris, vdm, steyn and Hogg.  Bench 6/2 ashman, nel, sutherland, gilchrist, bradbury, darge. Vellacot, redpath.

I would prefer maitland on the wing as an old head and hastings on the bench. Darcey graham is always a bit defensively naive for my tastes. I think the team will be quite different next game.

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Post by George Carlin Mon 31 Jan 2022, 5:33 pm

Van der Merwe coming back in is huge for us, although it remains to be seen how fit he is. 

Weirdly, Scotland's strengths seem to be in a backline which boasts an awful lot of talent. 

Can the forwards get parity? If they can, it will be very competitive. 

However, self destruction is still like a siren call to Scotland teams so let's see. 

I do hope that this tournament isn't decided by random cards for individual mid-air or clean-out challenges.
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 01 Feb 2022, 9:40 am

via the Guardian:

Scotland have been told to keep a close eye on Marcus Smith if they want to make a winning start in the Six Nations. England’s fly-half impressed on last summer’s British & Irish Lions tour and within the Scotland camp there is a belief that he poses the biggest threat to their Calcutta Cup prospects.

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Smith has not played in the Six Nations before but his autumn form for England and match-turning performances for Harlequins have made him a key figure in the view of Scotland’s defence coach, Steve Tandy. “He is an outstanding individual,” said Tandy, also a member of the Lions coaching staff. “He has an outstanding kicking game, makes really good decisions, hits the line and opens the game up a little bit more. There is an unpredictability about him as well so we know we are going to have to be on the money defensively.”

The Scotland head coach, Gregor Townsend, and Tandy returned from South Africa last year full of respect for Smith’s ability to extract the best from those around him. “On the Lions trip you could see exactly what he is about: the talent he has, the speed, how he can play the game,” said Tandy. “His instinct will take over. Obviously he will play in the England structure but we have to put in a positive performance in defence.”

The Scotland management are also looking for improved discipline with two red cards having damaged their chances last year. “We were pretty unfortunate with the red cards … I don’t think there’s a lot the boys could have done,” said Tandy. “We’ve got to be making sure we don’t give the referee opportunities to give penalties. We don’t want to give a team like England easy field position. We are very conscious of how smart we have to be around the breakdown area.”


Prop Jamie Bhatti has withdrawn from the Scotland squad due to a hand injury and has been replaced by Allan Dell. Bath’s Josh Bayliss is also recovering from concussion while Sean Maitland has returned to Saracens. Ireland’s Iain Henderson, rated doubtful last week with an ankle problem, is due to return to full training on Tuesday and is set to be available for Saturday’s game against Wales in Dublin.'

No surprise that Smith is mentioned, either through interest from the media or from the threat identified from Scotland. A threat England haven't really had at fly half since probably those first 4 or 5 games from Cipriani.

Not sure I can agree that the red cards from Scotland were that unfortunate, seems they half want to sort out sloppy play and pens and half think it's just part of the game now to end with 14 men.

Oh, and finally Guscott is no longer part of the BBC coverage.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 01 Feb 2022, 1:21 pm

I'm genuinely interested to see Smith at test level. 

It's always where expectations collide with reality. He gets an armchair ride at Quins a lot of the time and cap internationals aren't like that. He's going to have to play well under pressure as Ritchie/Watson will come hunting for him. 

I've been watching Ford and Farrell for so long, it's going to be strange to see another option out there. I also think it was early Cipriani since I last saw an England 10 who could genuine break the game open with ball in hand so it should be a very good game for the neutral too.
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Post by lostinwales Tue 01 Feb 2022, 2:05 pm

George Carlin wrote:I'm genuinely interested to see Smith at test level. 

It's always where expectations collide with reality. He gets an armchair ride at Quins a lot of the time and cap internationals aren't like that. He's going to have to play well under pressure as Ritchie/Watson will come hunting for him. 

I've been watching Ford and Farrell for so long, it's going to be strange to see another option out there. I also think it was early Cipriani since I last saw an England 10 who could genuine break the game open with ball in hand so it should be a very good game for the neutral too.

He played through the Autumn, including kicking a nerveless penalty at the end of the SA game for the win. Vs Australia he took the kind of hit from one of the Australian centres that was definitely meant to let him know about the level he's playing at, and he just got up and shrugged it off. (The tackler hurt his shoulder and stayed down). He'll have bad days but he's an excellent player. There is also a joy about England that there has not been for a couple of years. How much that is down to him I do not know, but he's a bit special.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 01 Feb 2022, 2:09 pm

George Carlin wrote:I'm genuinely interested to see Smith at test level. 

It's always where expectations collide with reality. He gets an armchair ride at Quins a lot of the time and cap internationals aren't like that. He's going to have to play well under pressure as Ritchie/Watson will come hunting for him. 

I've been watching Ford and Farrell for so long, it's going to be strange to see another option out there. I also think it was early Cipriani since I last saw an England 10 who could genuine break the game open with ball in hand so it should be a very good game for the neutral too.

Did you watch the AIs at all? Playing the reigning world champions with a pack with 6 recent debutants across the XXIII and losing Manu in the third minute was hardly a walk in the park...

It's also a bit of a myth that Quins give an armchair ride. To be fair, when the team is on song Allen and Edwards can run the show and Quins still look impressive, but the difference between most of Quins' losses this season and the close wins has been having Smith to pull the strings when the chips are down. He has a long litany of last minute wonder tries - and crunch conversions and penalties.

Edinburgh in February is a different kind of test, but there's nothing to suggest that he can't play well under pressure.
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Post by Cumbrian Tue 01 Feb 2022, 2:47 pm

Just had a quick look at the weather report, it now looks like it is going to be a fairly nasty afternoon (heavy rain and 40mph winds). I genuinely don't know who that will favour, but I think a free flowing game is probably a bit much to ask now. A try either way could win it.
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Post by George Carlin Tue 01 Feb 2022, 3:38 pm

Poorfour wrote:
George Carlin wrote:I'm genuinely interested to see Smith at test level. 

It's always where expectations collide with reality. He gets an armchair ride at Quins a lot of the time and cap internationals aren't like that. He's going to have to play well under pressure as Ritchie/Watson will come hunting for him. 

I've been watching Ford and Farrell for so long, it's going to be strange to see another option out there. I also think it was early Cipriani since I last saw an England 10 who could genuine break the game open with ball in hand so it should be a very good game for the neutral too.

Did you watch the AIs at all?
Nope, that's why I wrote "I'm" interested to see Smith at test level. I'm not suggesting other people haven't seen him play there before.  OK
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Post by No 7&1/2 Tue 01 Feb 2022, 3:42 pm

He's been very decent so far. WIll be nice to see him with Dombrandt from the off, shame about Marchant. Very early days for him obviously but when there are special players it's hard not to get ahead of yourself. This England squad now has about 4 or 5 players who could very well go onto to be in that select top tier of players. A lovely relaxing away trip to Scotland with all their fans back is just the sort of trip you want to ease them in. Shocked

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Post by Recwatcher16 Tue 01 Feb 2022, 4:49 pm

I hadn't realised how big a specimen Atkinson is, 6'6 and 17st plus which even for an inside centre is a lot of timber. The grim weather forecast would suggest he will see a lot of ball along with the usual ball carriers.
If Lawes doesn't pass the protocols, Ludlam must be favourite for blindside and I have always been impressed by his non stop abrasive style. I like the idea of a Ludlam, Curry & Dombrandt back row with Simmonds off the bench. It all could be quite effective.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 01 Feb 2022, 5:05 pm

George Carlin wrote:
Nope, that's why I wrote "I'm" interested to see Smith at test level. I'm not suggesting other people haven't seen him play there before.  :OK:

Fair enough, but your post also implied that he hasn't been exposed to the pressure of an international and that Ritchie or Watson hunting him would be a new challenge. I was just pointing out that having Kolisi, Vermeulen and Kwagga Smith coming after you (not to mention de Allende, Am and Etzebeth) is a comparable challenge, to say the least. Smith survived some pretty rough treatment including a cheap shot from Wiese that earned England their final kick at goal. After which he got up and kicked it to win the game.

He also counter-rucked an 18 stone prop off the ball during a recent European match. He looks like he'd break in a strong breeze, but he's proven pretty tough so far.
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Post by lostinwales Tue 01 Feb 2022, 6:27 pm

Also worth pointing out that for all the excitement about Smith (and there is a great deal) - he was not the guy who got two MoM performances across the AI. That would be a Mr. Steward who normally plays at full back for Leicester.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Tue 01 Feb 2022, 6:55 pm

lostinwales wrote:Also worth pointing out that for all the excitement about Smith (and there is a great deal) - he was not the guy who got two MoM performances across the AI. That would be a Mr. Steward who normally plays at full back for Leicester.

We'll need Freddie to be on the money. The forecast is for rain and wind up in Edinburgh. Furbank came unstuck in tough Scottish conditions hopefully Steward can dominate in them. Hogg Vs Steward is very much master Vs the apprentice, the apprentice has been very handy so far though. Should be a cracking clash between the 15s.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 01 Feb 2022, 7:56 pm

Poorfour wrote:
George Carlin wrote:
Nope, that's why I wrote "I'm" interested to see Smith at test level. I'm not suggesting other people haven't seen him play there before.  OK

Fair enough, but your post also implied that he hasn't been exposed to the pressure of an international and that Ritchie or Watson hunting him would be a new challenge.
Happy to correct that misunderstanding then. heart
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Post by RDW Tue 01 Feb 2022, 9:09 pm

Some say that Chuck Norris wears Marcus Smith pyjamas....

It is going to be interesting to follow how he gets on over the next few years. The English media is quick to build a new hero but wouldn't hesitate to tear them to pieces if the opportunity arises.

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Post by Poorfour Tue 01 Feb 2022, 10:12 pm

RDW wrote:Some say that Chuck Norris wears Marcus Smith pyjamas....

It is going to be interesting to follow how he gets on over the next few years. The English media is quick to build a new hero but wouldn't hesitate to tear them to pieces if the opportunity arises.

An important thing to remember about Smith is that Eddie has been watching him since 2015 when he was part of a Brighton College squad sent to provide opposition for Japan in their training camp, and he’s been Quins’ first choice flyhalf since 2017 (when he was thrown into the role following Demetri Catrakilis’s horrible freak neck injury).

While he’s new on the international scene, he’s played over 100 times for Quins, and he’s been getting input from Eddie throughout that period. He’s also had Nick Evans as a coach for his entire career.

The point being, he’s not some kid who’s been pushed forward on the back of a great debut season. He’s got a vast amount of experience for a 22 year old.

He might not cope with the transition. He might get injured and drop out of contention. But there’s lots to suggest that if he stays fit he will be an international fixture for a long time.
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Post by Heuer27 Wed 02 Feb 2022, 7:43 am

Smith has shown the talent and so far, the mental toughness to deal with international rugby but he has not as yet experienced the intensity of 6 N rugby.
He will be travelling to stadia where almost the whole crowd will be openly hostile. It’s a bit different to playing AI’s at twickenham.
I hope he does shine through because rugby needs guys like him, Russell, Ntamack and Mounga to show how the game should be played.
Shame the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to play ball for Saturday but it will be a feisty affair regardless.

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Post by RDW Wed 02 Feb 2022, 8:10 am

Heuer27 wrote:Smith has shown the talent and so far, the mental toughness to deal with international rugby but he has not as yet experienced the intensity of 6 N rugby.
He will be travelling to stadia where almost the whole crowd will be openly hostile. It’s a bit different to playing AI’s at twickenham.
I hope he does shine through because rugby needs guys like him, Russell, Ntamack and Mounga to show how the game should be played.
Shame the weather doesn’t look like it’s going to play ball for Saturday but it will be a feisty affair regardless.

A key point. To use the old cliché, the AIs with a home crowd are peacetime rugby. 6N is the real deal. Us Scots know this all to well - having a strong AIs but not being able to back it up in the 6N.

FWIW I think Smith is gonna turn onto a 80 cap England legend and I'm sure will have a storming 6N, but he's still a novice in international rugby experience and needs to be given time and patience to develop. By the time he hits the next WC he'll have 20 caps to his name and right in his prime (assuming Farrell doesn't come straight back in at 10!)

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Post by No 7&1/2 Wed 02 Feb 2022, 8:39 am

Won't be long to find out now. I think the key for me is that we've already seen him make mistakes and there are 2 positives I take when he does. It's normally execution rather than him picking the wrong option (which is always better for me!) and those mistakes seem to be water off a ducks back. He won't go hiding but on the flip side neither will he start to force things which is very promising. I think England will go well and so will he.

Interested to see how he plays with the guys either side of him. Youngs is a step down on his normal service so the lack of space at international level will be cut even further, but he does have the tricks to stop any blitz defence, expect some kicking very early doors should Scotland try to get to him. And Atkinson. Probably a stop gap but plays in a similar way to his club teammate but probably better at offloading. Seeing how Dombrandt Smith and him link could be quite good to watch.

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 02 Feb 2022, 8:49 am

How do the Scottish side perpetuate the dislike of the English at International level when half their squad are born English and the a lot of the rest overseas imports that qualify on a granny or residency?
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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed 02 Feb 2022, 9:50 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:How do the Scottish side perpetuate the dislike of the English at International level when half their squad are born English and the a lot of the rest overseas imports that qualify on a granny or residency?

Usually with comments like that



No Hill or Lawes. That should mean Isiekwe and Ewels will be in the England 23. If Lawes was going to play BS, putting Isiekwe there would probably be the natural succession if they would prefer Ludlam start on the bench.

For most teams, losing the first or second choice would be a problem but sometimes it feels like we take our foot off the pedal.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 02 Feb 2022, 10:49 am

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:How do the Scottish side perpetuate the dislike of the English at International level when half their squad are born English and the a lot of the rest overseas imports that qualify on a granny or residency?
Must be like being married. Living together, but.......

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Post by WELL-PAST-IT Wed 02 Feb 2022, 12:22 pm

Hazel, nothing meant by it, just a lack of understanding. Ruck had 22 players in the Scotland squad as born outside Scotland, a lot of them born in England with Scottish grandparents, same for the antipodeans, they are 2 generations removed from any Scottish roots. I don't understand why, but I accept that for some reason probably going back a few centuries, the Scots love to hate the English. I just don't understand how that can transfer into players brought up without these perpetuated traditions, especially those born and bred south of the border
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Post by bsando Wed 02 Feb 2022, 12:34 pm

It’ll certainly be a interesting looking England side with all the injuries they’re incurring. Drop in quality though? Very much doubt it. Scotland should look to own the favourites tag for this one and just get on with it. They have the more settled squad, they have a very experienced spine as they say. Let’s hope the players can live up to the expectation that pundits and journalists will heap on them in the days to come.

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Post by tigertattie Wed 02 Feb 2022, 1:08 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:Hazel, nothing meant by it, just a lack of understanding. Ruck had 22 players in the Scotland squad as born outside Scotland, a lot of them born in England with Scottish grandparents, same for the antipodeans, they are 2 generations removed from any Scottish roots. I don't understand why, but I accept that for some reason probably going back  a few centuries, the Scots love to hate the English. I just don't understand how that can transfer into players brought up without these perpetuated traditions, especially those born and bred south of the border

That’s just asking for a reaction

Firstly don’t mix the players up with the behaviour of armchair experts. Both teams are professional and behave accordingly. Only Ryan Wilson could be considered to be like that but he’s no longer in the Scotland setup thankfully.

Secondly, there is no “hatred”. There is rivalry, there always will be in competition, but there isn’t widespread hatred as you try to put it.
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Post by George Carlin Wed 02 Feb 2022, 1:45 pm

Agree Tattie.

All I can say as a Scot is that I personally don't know any of "the Scots" to "love to hate the English". I'm in my 40s now and I lost interest in that sort of generalist sledging decades ago. I'm really here for the rugby in all honesty.
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Post by lostinwales Wed 02 Feb 2022, 1:48 pm

For what its worth every nation has its minority of bumholes (god knows they are more prominent in England than ever before). I lived in Wales for a few years, and saw, from a minority, a very definite anti English vibe. Not lived in Scotland, but from visits there I suspect that that kind of anti English sentiment is in general joked about a great deal more than acted upon, although that may depend on where you are.

I think it helps that English and Scottish humor is closely aligned.


Last edited by lostinwales on Wed 02 Feb 2022, 1:49 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BigGee Wed 02 Feb 2022, 1:48 pm

The Scots love to beat the English, who does not? It is the classic underdog syndrome, the little guy beating the big guy. Professional rugby players don't need any motivation for that!

Tattie is right though, they don't hate each other though, a fair few of them are team mates!


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Post by Poorfour Wed 02 Feb 2022, 2:29 pm

The best thing about rugby is that rivalries on the pitch melt away when the final whistle goes, and that players who are bitter rivals in the 6N can be team mates at their clubs the next week or with the Lions the following summer.

It still raises a wry smile that the first red card earned by an England player at Twickenham was Lewis Moody lamping his Tigers team mate Alesana Tuilagi for a dangerous tackle on Mark Cueto.

All that said, I do think it contributes to England's relative underperformance in the 6N that every year they face 3 teams for whose fans beating the English makes for a successful tournament even if they lose to Italy, plus Italy themselves, who presumably are desperate to claim the one scalp they haven't yet claimed.

(FWIW, I think another factor is that England have the most "balanced" schedule. England always have a couple of tricky away games each year, but Wales in particular have a schedule that alternates between "nightmare" and "benign" - one year they have England, France and Ireland away, the next year at home. Because the home/away combinations are fixed and just alternate each year, this never changes - and I think that's why Wales tend to swing up and down the table much more than England do.)
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Post by Recwatcher16 Wed 02 Feb 2022, 2:33 pm

There seems to be an assumption that Isiekwe will now play six but surely he will be at lock or as cover at lock on the bench. If Ludlam doesn't play now not sure he ever will and with Curry and Dombrandt would be a tidy back row with Simmonds to arrive on 60 mins.
Simmonds with Randall and Ford is also a pretty tidy 8,9 & 10 combo.

England will need to keep the ball and away from a dangerous scottish backline. Do that and batter the lighter scottish back row for an hour and opportunities will be there. EJ will have watched SA in Edinburgh last November.

Saying that it wouldn't be the worse result in the world if Scotland won the game. My wife is from Dollar near Stirling.... !

I actually think the bigger 6N game this weekend is Ireland Wales in terms of the tournament.

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Post by bsando Wed 02 Feb 2022, 3:12 pm

Ireland vs Wales will be thriller. The Calcutta Cup will be a fine example of drudgery with Smith and Russell having a yarn on the sideline.

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Post by Gooseberry Wed 02 Feb 2022, 5:32 pm

Increasingly looking like just one of those fixtures England could do without. Playing with half the first squad (including two captains) in a raging gale against an opposition who will be well up for it, but who there is an expectation to beat. Even if they do win it'll take a stunning performance for them to get significant credit for it, and frankly on recent results Scotland should be favourite.

Sure we might learn how Smith copes with raging winters but honestly Jones will care more how he cam perform against France on manicured world cup pitches in the summer.

Still for the match itself has a habit of making good drama if not always good rugby so hopefully an enjoyable one to watch/follow, and the pmayers will sire care about winning. even if pretty meaningless in the longer term.

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Post by hugehandoff Wed 02 Feb 2022, 5:48 pm

2nd guessing Eddie is a loser's game. What about Simmonds at 6 and Dombrandt at 8 to start? If Isiekwe and Itoje in the 2nd row do you start George for some club continuity? So difficult to predict tomorrow's team.

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