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Italy v Scotland 6 Nations Championship Saturday 12th March 2022

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Italy v Scotland 6 Nations Championship Saturday 12th March 2022 Empty Italy v Scotland 6 Nations Championship Saturday 12th March 2022

Post by BigGee Sun 06 Mar 2022, 8:48 pm

Italy v Scotland
6 Nations Championship
Stadio Olympico
Rome

Saturday 12th March
KO 15.15 (local time)


So my biannual trip to Rome has come along again and I am wondering what i am going to be seeing this time around.

Having been the past two occasions, I am less full of the joys than some Scottish fans may be. We have made pretty hard work of it on both occasions and quite frankly aught to have lost 4 years ago. It was and remains, the classic banana skin game for a Scottish team and the one that the Italians will always feel that they have got a chance.

I might be feeling more confident had we really done ourselves any kind of justice in the past two games, but we certainly have not.

I might also be feeling a bit more confident were any of our star players living up to their billing and showing any kind of form, but they are not.

I also might be feeling a lot more confident were we able to put out our strongest side, wheras in reality we have gone from our best ever depth, to digging deep into the barrel in only a matter of weeks.


This is still a game we should win and comfortably, but i am not really sure that is what it will be at the end of the day and I will probably be happy with a one point win with an 80th minute drop goal if that is what it takes to steady the ship, as at the moment it seems all over the place.


Fortunately for us, Italy continue to struggle and with injuries and suspensions, will also be a way away from their best team. They have been well beaten in all three games so far, despite blooding their next generation of players and are clearly still struggling in this competition even if there are some decent signs of progress for the future. They won't lack passion and commitment, as their heroic defensive effort against Ireland showed but may still lack the game craft to win at this level yet.

The Scotland team now seems far from clear. Surely some players need to pay with their shirts for the poor performances in the last two games, but a wholesale clearout seems unlikely and a bench spot is maybe a more realistic option to remind a misfiring star player that they are not indispensable.

So maybe something like this:


1. Schoeman
2, McInally
3. Fagerson Z - was in the team of the week last week for his scrumaging, even if the stupid penalties persist
4. Gilchrist
5. Skinner
6. Darge
7. Watson
8. Bayliss - Fagerson still not fit and Bradbury still not convincing
9. White - deserves a start
10. Kinghorn - if not now then when?
11. Graham
12. Tuipolotu
13. Bennett
14. Steyn - assuming DVDM is out and with other injuries probably the safest option
15. Hogg


Subs:

Dell - hard to think who else is fit
Turner - though Ashman must be close
Nel/Berghan - can't make up my mind
Hodgson
Christie - deserves another crack and covers the whole of the back row
Price - hopefully warming the pine will have the desired effect
Russell - see above
Harris - but would have no issue with another flair player like Hutchinson coming in.


With that selection, I would expect to see Blairhorn moving out into the back three at some stage probably early in the second half and hopefully Price and Russell coming on to finish the game.

I live in hope!

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Post by tigertattie Sun 06 Mar 2022, 9:42 pm

Sigh

Who knows.

Good thread though Gee. My only question, biannual, is that twice yearly or every two years? Still an ongoing argument at my work
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Post by BigGee Sun 06 Mar 2022, 10:04 pm

tigertattie wrote:Sigh

Who knows.

Good thread though Gee. My only question, biannual, is that twice yearly or every two years? Still an ongoing argument at my work


Probably going to have to refer that one to Jimbo Smile

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Post by demosthenes Mon 07 Mar 2022, 8:21 am

Q. : 10. Kinghorn - if not now then when?

A :. Never, at least at international level.

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Post by jimbopip Mon 07 Mar 2022, 8:24 am

Sadly, the pedant in me can't resist; it's twice a year. As in FES pays his domestic staff on a biannual basis. Or when I was a winger I scored a try biannually. 
Gee, as our resident medico... if the Glasgow squad have a Novo type lurgi should their players be joining the Scotland squad?

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Post by BigGee Mon 07 Mar 2022, 8:33 am

Novo actually clears very quickly, typically around 48 hours.

It also spreads by areosoling into the surrounding environment from whichever orifice is the culprit and from there onto peoples hands usually via a flat surface and into their mouths. So once you are asymptomatic, you won't spread it around any more. One of its main features is projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea, which make it very effective at spreading into surrounding areas and hence someone else picking it up. It is not very pleasant but generally not very harmful as it is so short lived.

That may be more information than anyone needs at this time in the morning, but the answer is to Jim's question is no, once asymptomatic for 48 hours, they can come back into the squad,

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Post by bsando Mon 07 Mar 2022, 10:08 am

Yep that’s a good summary of norovirus. I got it at Christmas while visiting the other halves parents in France. It was a very nasty 48 hours with an extra day of general malaise as the body recovered. I managed to to pass it on to my partners mum and my partner got it when she got back to Scotland. That combined with the rules around travel for omnicron made for a very festive Christmas period indeed Rolling Eyes

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Post by bsando Mon 07 Mar 2022, 10:14 am

https://www.scottishrugby.org/news/the-cuttitta-cup-is-unveiled

Looks like this fixture has a trophy now and it’s a very nice tribute a fantastic Italian coach. Sure his family will be very proud.

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Post by NeilyBroon Mon 07 Mar 2022, 10:27 am

Not to disparage this but it is becoming a bit "everyone gets a trophy" in international rugby. The doddie Weir cup, Calcutta cup, the whatever it's called we have with Australia, do we have something with Ireland? Nice gesture dedicating it to Cuttita, like the Doddie cup but it's all a bit excessive imo.

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Post by BigGee Mon 07 Mar 2022, 10:51 am

I don't really mind, he, like Doddie was one of the good guys and it may also help keep the horrors of Covid in our memories as well.

As long as there is something symbolic about it, a cup is fine.

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Post by majesticimperialman Mon 07 Mar 2022, 11:25 am

Scotland should win this game comfortably on paper anyway.

But as we know Italy playing at home could well cause an upset and win the game. Hard to call really.

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Post by bsando Mon 07 Mar 2022, 12:34 pm

Thistle Rugby Pod suggesting that Hastings has left with Harris to link up with Scotland squad. Great news if true!

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Post by tigertattie Mon 07 Mar 2022, 1:45 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:Not to disparage this but it is becoming a bit "everyone gets a trophy" in international rugby. The doddie Weir cup, Calcutta cup, the whatever it's called we have with Australia, do we have something with Ireland? Nice gesture dedicating it to Cuttita, like the Doddie cup but it's all a bit excessive imo.

We play for a quaich vs Ireland. Lovely wee trophy so it is.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 07 Mar 2022, 1:46 pm

Also yes, Hastings (and Thomson) have been called up to the squad.

As has jonny gray.
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Post by NeilyBroon Mon 07 Mar 2022, 1:53 pm

Good news, finally some sense, provided they're not just there to hold tackle bags.

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Post by jimbopip Mon 07 Mar 2022, 1:58 pm

tigertattie wrote:Also yes, Hastings (and Thomson) have been called up to the squad.

As has jonny gray.

So from one gifted but unpredictable 10 (Dancer) and another who has yet to nail down a starting place at his club (Blarehorn) we now have the talented but inconsistent (Haircut) and the promising but not quite starting for Glasgow (Thomson).

Oh and the solution to our hard tackling but lacking dynamic carrying second row? Ickle Jonny a renowned hard tackler.

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Post by BigGee Mon 07 Mar 2022, 2:02 pm

Hard to see Jg being fit for this game, but maybe they are just getting him up to speed for the Ireland game. Glen Young also in to the squad, presumably as the back up lock after Skinner, Gilchrist and Hodgson.ther

No new props either.

Is Dell even with the squad still? Even if he is, that only leaves 2 fit LHs, unless Bhatti is also on a miracle cure or Berghan will switch sides, which he has done before, he provided the third LH cover in the WC if I can remember correctly.

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Post by bsando Mon 07 Mar 2022, 5:31 pm

I like Berghan, I'd be happy to see him on either side of the scrum. He's a good rugby player.

Updated squad...

Forwards: Ewan Ashman (Sale Sharks), Josh Bayliss (Bath), Simon Berghan (Glasgow Warriors), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh), Andy Christie (Saracens), Allan Dell (London Irish), Rory Darge (Glasgow Warriors, Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors), Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh), Jonny Gray (Exeter Chiefs), Jamie Hodgson (Edinburgh), Stuart McInally (Edinburgh), Kiran McDonald (Glasgow Warriors), WP Nel (Edinburgh), Pierre Schoeman (Edinburgh), Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), George Turner (Glasgow Warriors), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh), Glen Young (Edinburgh).

Backs: Mark Bennett (Edinburgh), Darcy Graham (Edinburgh), Chris Harris (Gloucester Rugby), Adam Hastings (Gloucester Rugby), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), Rory Hutchinson (Northampton Saints), Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors), Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh), James Lang (Edinburgh), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors), Kyle Rowe (London Irish), Finn Russell (Racing 92), Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors), Ross Thompson (Glasgow Warriors) Sione Tuipulotu (Glasgow Warriors), Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors), Ben Vellacott (Edinburgh), Ben White (London Irish).

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Post by Hazel Sapling Mon 07 Mar 2022, 7:38 pm

I am pretty confident in saying Dell will bench. 30+ caps for Scotland, was our starter in 2015 and is still only 29. Had a tough go of it at London Irish, but against Italy he should be fine.

Vellacott has to get a look in at some point surely? Same with Hutch. Problem is I am struggling to see Toonie resting Price or dropping White and Tuipulotu seems to be given a run in the side.

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Post by tigertattie Mon 07 Mar 2022, 9:48 pm

It’s the number of changes that will be the issue hazel

Dancer needs dropped. Simple as. Harris may be getting the same treatment but as the hardest working man in world rugby, Toonie is a fan of Harris so he may get kept.

If dancer and Harris are dropped then it’s doubtful they price will be dropped too. Unless Toonie goes full metal jacket and bins the entire backline other than Darcy.

White (Vellcott benching)
Thomson
Steyn
Johnson
Bennett
Darcy
Blairhorn

Not totally out with realms of possibility but I can’t see it happening.
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Post by jimbopip Tue 08 Mar 2022, 9:21 am

Here's the thing: Haircut, Dancer, Blarehorn and The Wonder Kid. Put them in order of appearances at 10 for their cub this season. Blarehorn is fourth.
Put them in oder of Scotland appearances at 10. It's close between Blarehorn and TWK.
Now Put them in order of who you think should start on Saturday. Blarehorn comes forth.

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Post by tigertattie Tue 08 Mar 2022, 9:26 am

But where does meatball go?
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Post by jimbopip Tue 08 Mar 2022, 9:56 am

If we're sticking with the kicking for territory game then Meatball would do a job for us. I think he has a better kicking game than Blarehorn or Haircut.

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Post by EST Tue 08 Mar 2022, 10:53 am

BigGee wrote:Italy v Scotland
6 Nations Championship
Stadio Olympico
Rome

Saturday 12th March
KO 15.15 (local time)


So my biannual trip to Rome has come along again and I am wondering what i am going to be seeing this time around.

Having been the past two occasions, I am less full of the joys than some Scottish fans may be. We have made pretty hard work of it on both occasions and quite frankly aught to have lost 4 years ago. It was and remains, the classic banana skin game for a Scottish team and the one that the Italians will always feel that they have got a chance.

I might be feeling more confident had we really done ourselves any kind of justice in the past two games, but we certainly have not.

I might also be feeling a bit more confident were any of our star players living up to their billing and showing any kind of form, but they are not.

I also might be feeling a lot more confident were we able to put out our strongest side, wheras in reality we have gone from our best ever depth, to digging deep into the barrel in only a matter of weeks.


This is still a game we should win and comfortably, but i am not really sure that is what it will be at the end of the day and I will probably be happy with a one point win with an 80th minute drop goal if that is what it takes to steady the ship, as at the moment it seems all over the place.


Fortunately for us, Italy continue to struggle and with injuries and suspensions, will also be a way away from their best team. They have been well beaten in all three games so far, despite blooding their next generation of players and are clearly still struggling in this competition even if there are some decent signs of progress for the future. They won't lack passion and commitment, as their heroic defensive effort against Ireland showed but may still lack the game craft to win at this level yet.

The Scotland team now seems far from clear. Surely some players need to pay with their shirts for the poor performances in the last two games, but a wholesale clearout seems unlikely and a bench spot is maybe a more realistic option to remind a misfiring star player that they are not indispensable.

So maybe something like this:


1. Schoeman
2, McInally
3. Fagerson Z - was in the team of the week last week for his scrumaging, even if the stupid penalties persist
4. Gilchrist
5. Skinner
6. Darge
7. Watson
8. Bayliss - Fagerson still not fit and Bradbury still not convincing
9. White - deserves a start
10. Kinghorn - if not now then when?
11. Graham
12. Tuipolotu
13. Bennett
14. Steyn - assuming DVDM is out and with other injuries probably the safest option
15. Hogg


Subs:

Dell - hard to think who else is fit
Turner - though Ashman must be close
Nel/Berghan - can't make up my mind
Hodgson
Christie - deserves another crack and covers the whole of the back row
Price - hopefully warming the pine will have the desired effect
Russell - see above
Harris - but would have no issue with another flair player like Hutchinson coming in.


With that selection, I would expect to see Blairhorn moving out into the back three at some stage probably early in the second half and hopefully Price and Russell coming on to finish the game.

I live in hope!

Great thread Gee, and you are correct - I think we will be in a battle against the Italians and would only have us very slim favourites going into this one. My confidence in this team has flatlined over the last two games, from such a good position going into the Wales game, pretty much everything has gone wrong.

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Post by NeilyBroon Tue 08 Mar 2022, 11:10 am

jimbopip wrote:If we're sticking with the kicking for territory game then Meatball would do a job for us.  I think he has a better kicking game than Blarehorn or Haircut.

The SRU social media is playing Duncy's universe conquering drop goal effort against Italy on repeat. I think Finn, Hastings, Thompson and Blair horn have been a red herring all along and we'll see Weir dropped into the squad at 12.29 on Thursday before being announced as Captain.

50:22? Forget it. He'll be dropping goals from our 10 metre line.

Cometh the hour, cometh the meatball.

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Post by RDW Tue 08 Mar 2022, 11:24 am

If VDM is banned I wonder if he'll pick Kinghorn at 11, hence the reason for bringing in extra 10s. He's got a good try scoring record against the Italians!

Russell may be carrying an injury too given he didn't play for Racing.

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Post by bsando Tue 08 Mar 2022, 12:39 pm

Here’s a controversial team selection..

Schoeeeee..
Ashman
Fagerson
Hogdson
Gilchrist
Christie
Watson
Darge
Price
Russell
Kinghorn
Tuipulotu
Harris
Graham
Hogg

McInally, Berghan, Nel, Skinner, Bayliss, White, Hastings, Rowe

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Post by RDW Tue 08 Mar 2022, 9:04 pm

VDM has been banned and will miss the rest of the 6N

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Post by Anglobraveheart Tue 08 Mar 2022, 10:34 pm

Kinghorn to wing.

I think that we will/should see:

Shoeman
McInally
Nel
Gilchrist
Skinner
Darge
Watson
Bradbury
White
Russell
Kinghorn
Hutchinson
Bennett
Graham
Hogg

Dell
Turner
Fagerson
Gray
Fagerson
Price
Hastings
Harris

I can't see Russell or Hogg being axed, but we need something different in the centres.

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Post by BigGee Wed 09 Mar 2022, 7:05 am

Bennett was doing media yesterday. Always a good sign that he is likely to be playing.

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:13 am

Maggie moving on to Bristol next season. I think this may be the move that makes him as a player, the prem is a different ballpark for forwards, hopefully we'll get some good performances out of him for Scotland!

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Post by tigertattie Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:50 am

It’s a great move all round

1. Means he’s not fighting for a spot at Edinburgh
2. Gets him exposed to hard graft forward play
3. Pat lam is an utterly excellent coach
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Post by Hazel Sapling Wed 09 Mar 2022, 10:59 am

Completely agree with Tattie. It was overdue in a way for Bradbury to grow as a player and Lam/Bristol is a great place for him to go with Hughes on his way out.

I would like to see Rowe or Steyn to start on the wing. Both have earned it on form at wing and I would rather reward them for their performance in the position of need than shoehorn Kinghorn.

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Post by tigertattie Wed 09 Mar 2022, 12:15 pm

There would be a right sense of poetic justice if Rowe took the place of VDM on the wing
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Post by George Carlin Wed 09 Mar 2022, 1:18 pm

I'm nervous about this. I don't like it.

If we spank Italy, we get no credit.

If it's close, we get no credit.

If Italy win, I will get Toonie Must Go tattooed on RDW's bronzed Aussie forehead.
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Post by jimbopip Wed 09 Mar 2022, 1:33 pm

Has his bronzed Aussie got room for another tattoo on her forehead?

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Post by RDW Wed 09 Mar 2022, 1:49 pm

George Carlin wrote:I'm nervous about this. I don't like it.

If we spank Italy, we get no credit.


If it's close, we get no credit.

If Italy win, I will get Toonie Must Go tattooed on RDW's bronzed Aussie forehead.

I'd still take that any day of the week and twice on Sundays

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Post by jimbopip Wed 09 Mar 2022, 7:54 pm

I posted a hypothetical 23 earlier to some criticism. Then others posted even more "interesting " selections.
However, events may make us all look conservative and unimaginative.
Toonie has gone from two 10s in the squad to four.
Duhan will miss the game.
So, if Blarehorn stats on the wing we don't need a 10 on the bench. Toonie likes a 6/2 split and the Italians favour an attritional forward based game.
Would this mean a 9 and a utility centre/ back three player?
Here goes;
9.Price
10. Thompson
11. ADHD KID
12. Shona
13. Messiah
14. Blarehorn
15. Hogg
White and Seaman on the bench.
The real nuclear option is Haircut at 15.
Dancer should be stood down after going rogue against France. Thompson has a good kicking game and doesn't run up as many blind alleys as Haircut.
If Blarehorn can't be trusted to take over if the first choice isn't working against Italy then he's never going to be an international 10.
I think one way or another Blarehorn and Seaman will have a huge bearing on the result.

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Post by funnyExiledScot Wed 09 Mar 2022, 9:49 pm

jimbopip wrote:Sadly, the pedant in me can't resist; it's twice a year. As in FES pays his domestic staff on a biannual basis

One doesn't pay staff anymore. I refer to the arrangement as a "cost of living crisis", but when I tell them that "we are all in it together", I get the sense that they understand.

Good thread Gee. Think the team you have is about right. I really want Bennett at 13 rather than Harris. My Harris trajectory has been in four phases: (i) solid and average club player, (ii) not fit to clean Huw Jones" boots (iii) OK, Toonie is right, he's really good in defence and balances the side, and (iv) I was right with (i).

All eyes will be on 10, but I reckon we stick with Russell. I'd still like Hastings on the bench ahead of Kinghorn, despite the fireworks against a poor Connacht side.

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Post by bsando Thu 10 Mar 2022, 7:16 am

That’s a good summary of the Harris trajectory FES. If the team stick to the game plan it certainly helps make everyone look a lot better. Especially Harris who looks pretty lost when games get too loose.

Squidge Rugby did some good video analysis on the Scotland France match and I agree with many of his points. We just have to hope Scotland can reboot this weekend and regain the confidence they’ll need for the Dublin encounter. Two wins from five are looking pretty likely at the moment.

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Post by jimbopip Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:32 am

FES you'll be telling us HMG is not being deliberately obstructive rather it is helping Ukrainian refugees learn self reliance.
I recently read a novel co authored by Alistair Campbell and an ex-pro footballer.  Surprisingly enough it's set in the 1970s and is a political thriller involving a football club! At one point the manager is approached by a computer geek who has discovered data analysis.  He says since inswinging corners lead to 3x as many goals he should tell the players to take inswingers every time. The manager points out that players will do what they think is best at that moment.  If they don't follow instructions substitute them immediately.  It's your job that's on the line. Is the reply.
Dancer went off script against France. If Toonie had another 10 in the 23 Dancer would have been off. Toonie has brought two 10s in and it may well be that one starts and Dancer benches.
Would could, but most likely won't, see Thompson 10, Blarehorn 11 and Haircut 15. That might make Dancer reconsider his place in the world.
P.s. Geoff Hurst told of how when he thought he was an established England player Alf Ramsey gave him a lift home after training.  " Thanks boss. See you next time" he said.
"Will you?" Was the reply.
Sometimes players need to be reminded that they are not the messiah but a very naughty boy.
Except for Mark Bennett obviously.

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Post by BigGee Thu 10 Mar 2022, 9:46 am

Well currently on a train from Milan to Rome

Twice as fast and half the price of BR it has to be said!

Looking forward to seeing the team announcement hopefully before we get to Rome. This may well be one of the more intriguing selections we have ever seen from Toonie.

It is a must win game and normally you would go with your praetorian guard (see what i did there) except said guard have been playing lousy.

Stick or twist, could be career defining for GT, hard to see his stock recovering from a loss on saturday.

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Post by bsando Thu 10 Mar 2022, 12:32 pm

Enjoy the match Gee, my dad will be there too so try to avoid him if at all possible.

Team is up and I’m very happy with it. Steyn, Vellacott and Hastings in and Johnson back at 12. Looks like a sensible team for a tough encounter.

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Post by Anglobraveheart Thu 10 Mar 2022, 12:41 pm

Well then. Team is out, and Toonie has double bluffed us all, by picking probably based on reputation for some and form for others.
Kinghorn is rewarded for his try assist 2 weeks ago by being dropped from the 23 completely.
The Tombola is alive and well.
On paper, reputation and form (from those that have been having good form) we should win comfortably.
However, we are Scotland, so absolutely anything could happen.
I just hope FR has shed 5 kg and been working on his bleep test - if he has, we'll be fine.
If he hasn't, at least we have Hastings on the bench Italy v Scotland 6 Nations Championship Saturday 12th March 2022 1f44d

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Post by TheMildlyFranticLlama Thu 10 Mar 2022, 12:51 pm

BigGee wrote:Bennett was doing media yesterday. Always a good sign that he is likely to be playing.

Or not then!  Italy v Scotland 6 Nations Championship Saturday 12th March 2022 1f62d

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Post by tigertattie Thu 10 Mar 2022, 12:51 pm

I worry about Toonie. I really do.

Now I’m not an international coach, but how can you just drop Blair when he’s not been on much after saying how great a 10 he will become????

Ben white has done nothing to deserve being dropped but he too is binned.

Our midfield is as blunt as blunt can be. Even the replacement is blunt. Bennett another who has been dropped despite being one of the few players to make a positive impact.

If a winger gets injured we’re in trouble. If Hogg gets injured at least Hastings has filled in at 15 before.

Dancer and price very lucky to still be involved.

Most odd
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Post by funnyExiledScot Thu 10 Mar 2022, 1:05 pm

Well I'm pleased he's gone with Russell and Hastings on the bench; clearly our best 10s. Steyn on the wing was also a no brainer for me. I'm disappointed for Bennett missing out completely, and Ben White can consider himself unlucky (albeit I'm excited to see Vellacott off the bench).

Despite the lanky trundler at 13, we ought to win this with something to spare.

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Post by jimbopip Thu 10 Mar 2022, 1:19 pm

It is a double Tombola with triple salko thrown in.
As I said earlier Shona hasn't shown anything at 12 to put him ahead of Johnson, or behind him either.
It'll be interesting to see who Shona comes on for.
What are the chances of seeing Hogg come in at first receiver? No, we'll see lots of kicking.
Hopefully a couple of early penalties kicked to the corner and mauled over the line will allow us to relax and play some rugby.

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Post by Anglobraveheart Thu 10 Mar 2022, 1:19 pm

I agree Tattie.
Mad as cheese.
To answer your question about wingers, we could put Harris on the wing, I believe he's played there before, and Tuipulotu to centre.
I agree regarding bluntness. But maybe the plan is to  pummell the narrow channels, and then quickly spread the ball to wider faster runners?
Toonie's strategy in attack and defence does seem to focus on narrow channels. Which I feel is not  nearly enough variety IMO.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Thu 10 Mar 2022, 1:35 pm

Bit of a nothing burger of a selection. No Ashman, Christie/Bayliss, Hutchinson. Russell kept in after two poor performances on the trot. Bennett dropped after looking comfortable and Tuipulotu retained after struggling to make an impact.

On the plus side, I am happy to see what Vellacott and Steyn can do. On paper, we should win at a canter. In reality, I am expecting us to have some hairy moments.

A note on Johnson. He has been a favourite player to pair with Russell going back to Glasgow days. I wonder how much him being dropped after the England game hurt us against Wales and France. If he gets the next two games and Russell looks more assured, it really might be a case of them being considered as a tandem...at least until Redpath can stay fit.

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