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Scotland's 6N Build Up, Then Inevitable Fall: Dark Horses of the Year 10 years running

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 04 Jan 2023, 3:39 pm

First topic message reminder :

It's the hope that kills ya!

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Post by BigGee Sat 21 Jan 2023, 7:16 pm

RDW wrote:Well thanks to social media we can see VDM is on a nice holiday currently. Take from that what you will in terms of an indication on his current fitness levels.


A bit harsh RDW

He is apparently getting married!

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Post by BigGee Sat 21 Jan 2023, 7:22 pm

Well the results have gone Glasgow's way on the last day.

Cardiff messed up in France and lost to Brive

Newcastle, with nothing to play for beat Connacht.

By my calculations, we end up second in our group with a home tie in last 16 and a home quarter final if we win that.

Would not have predicted that last week!

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Post by bsando Sat 21 Jan 2023, 7:29 pm

Hard to call the Scotland back three at the moment, or even the backline as a whole.

Having Tuipilotu as an impact sub could be a canny move. Tuipilotu looks amazing for Glasgow, but despite his long absence, Jones has looked more effective on the international stage. Seeing as he is equally on form, I'd prefer Townsend to find a place for him in the starting XV.

But although Tuipilotu could start at 12 I would really like to see Redpath get a run at 12 similar to Johnson in 2019 (4/5 matches with his best for last vs England).

Wing options could be varied. Steyn looks good for Glasgow, Kinghorn is fast but not a strong defender while Harris certainly is and could play on the wing to make room for Jones at 13 and Smith at 15.

Bit of a headache for the coaches really.

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Post by RDW Sat 21 Jan 2023, 8:18 pm

bsando wrote:Hard to call the Scotland back three at the moment, or even the backline as a whole.

Having Tuipilotu as an impact sub could be a canny move. Tuipilotu looks amazing for Glasgow, but despite his long absence, Jones has looked more effective on the international stage. Seeing as he is equally on form, I'd prefer Townsend to find a place for him in the starting XV.

But although Tuipilotu could start at 12 I would really like to see Redpath get a run at 12 similar to Johnson in 2019 (4/5 matches with his best for last vs England).

Wing options could be varied. Steyn looks good for Glasgow, Kinghorn is fast but not a strong defender while Harris certainly is and could play on the wing to make room for Jones at 13 and Smith at 15.

Bit of a headache for the coaches really.

Jeez and we were worried our back 3 was slow enough already...!

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Post by bsando Sun 22 Jan 2023, 7:46 am

Is Harris slow? Compared to Graham and VDM he is I suppose. Of course speed is an important attribute for an international winger but in the six nations I would argue that it’s better to have a strong defence over a fast winger who may leak trys. Anyway I was more interested in who would start at centre than which of our slow wingers Toonie start Very Happy

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Post by Highland Shaun Sun 22 Jan 2023, 2:50 pm

Not sure if I should put this here as it's not really 6N related but tbh see from The Rugby paper that we have one name in contention for October time in Jim Mallinder :O.

It's under a blooming paywall so I only saw a little bit of the article.

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Post by NeilyBroon Sun 22 Jan 2023, 4:44 pm

I'd be very surprised considering he is currently our DoR! I expect someone has seen mallinder and SRU in the same sentence and made an article about it.

That said if he is going for head coach I guess we could do worse but could definitely do better!

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Post by BigGee Sun 22 Jan 2023, 4:56 pm

Just watching Toulouse v Munster

Ben Healy just got a YC for leading with his forearm. My heart was in mouth as it could have been a RC

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Post by BigGee Sun 22 Jan 2023, 8:56 pm

Toonie will be pretty pleased with what he has seen this weekend I reckon.

Both Scottish sides go through to knockouts and some players look bang on form.


Cherry, Gilchrist, Schoey, Crosbie and the venerable Nelly all showing up very well for Edinburgh.

Smith, Horne, Steyn and Huwipoltu have all been carving it up for Glasgow.

No obvious injuries today, so we should go into camp in a good place, as long as they just stick to 2 beers tonight!

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Post by RDW Mon 23 Jan 2023, 1:11 am

Crosbie has been one of the form flankers in Europe in the last month or so - he should be starting against England with Ritchie at 6 and Fagerson at 8.

To date he's not managed to make his mark at International level, but I feel like this is going to be a breakthrough tournament.

After saying that I bet Toonie doesn't pick him!

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Post by bsando Mon 23 Jan 2023, 7:50 am

Saw from Saracens highlights yesterday that he dropped George with a ferocious handoff. Surely will be selected.

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Post by BigGee Mon 23 Jan 2023, 8:46 am

bsando wrote:Saw from Saracens highlights yesterday that he dropped George with a ferocious handoff. Surely will be selected.

It was head on head, George went really high into the tackle and got the full force of the impact as Crosbie was steaming forward.

Flattened and got a YC for his efforts as well, lucky not a red!

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Post by Hazel Sapling Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:37 am

Crosbie would be an effective carrier and does he jump for Edinburgh? Certainly got the height. His jackaling would be a level below Darge and Watson.

Would not be a bad option to start with Hamish on the bench. We saw what Watson could do with 20 minutes a season or two ago and asking him to come on around the 50 minute mark for Ritchie or Crosbie (whichever is more exhausted) would be a positive move.

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Post by BigGee Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:49 am

I really think we need to see HW fit and playing well before he comes back into the side.

He did not look on great form prior to his lay off, so the jury is very much out on how he is now. In the meantime Crosbie has been ripping up trees.

Surely Toonie has to pick on form.

I'd say a backrow of Ritchie, Fagerson and Crosbie with Dempsey on the bench.

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Post by RDW Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:52 am

Ok here we go - my team for England:

1 Schoeman
On red hot form

2 Cherry
His performance against Sarries gets him the spot

3 Nel
Just needs to hold up the scrum for 50 minutes - anything else is a bonus

4 Gilchrist
Another winner from the Sarries game

5 R Gray
We need his lineout prowess given how shakey ours is

6 Ritchie
Who else

7 Crosbie
The form man

8 Fagerson
Mr consistent

9 Price
Horne more on form but he's going to get picked

10 Russell
Who else

11 Kinghorn
In the absence of VDM and Graham. Offers a great kicking from hand alternative

12 Tuipolotu
The form man

13 Harris
Hard to leave Jones out but this is the 6N and we need consistency and experience, particular given the back 3

14 Steyn
Played like a sack of crap in his last Test match but on good form. A tough pick this one

15 Smith
Hogg isn't fit

Subs - Sutherland (been starting for Ulster), Turner, Berghan, Skinner (had had a strong run for Edinburgh), Christie, White, Jones, Hogg*

* On the basis that he plays this week'for Exeter. If not another back 3 player.

Kinghorn covering 10. It's a wasted spot having a specialist 10 on the bench given Russell ain't coming off. Plus we don't have one fit anyway!

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Post by BigGee Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:59 am

That's going to be pretty close and also assumes Fagerson and DVDM not fit.

I'd probably have Dempsey over Christie, but that is a marginal call.




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Post by RDW Mon 23 Jan 2023, 10:02 am

BigGee wrote:That's going to be pretty close and also assumes  Fagerson and DVDM not fit.

I'd probably have Dempsey over Christie, but that is a marginal call.




Another option given we have Kinghorn is have both and just two backs subs.

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Post by bsando Mon 23 Jan 2023, 6:27 pm

On form you would probably select a very odd looking starting XV. I'm expecting it to be a mixture of form/dependable at international level but the injuries makes it all the more confusing. Hodgson has just been called up as J Gray has an ongoing medical issue.

So if VDM finds some health after his SA wedding he should start which would simplify the back three options.

Fagerson I would expect to start.

Hogg I wouldn't.

Guess we'll have a better idea in a weeks time but it's good to have depth in most positions.

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Post by RDW Mon 23 Jan 2023, 8:07 pm

'Ongoing medical issue' is a concern. Given Gray has barely played for Exeter this season but isn't known to be injured you wonder if there's something more serious.

Hopefully not!

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Post by BigGee Mon 23 Jan 2023, 9:40 pm

RDW wrote:'Ongoing medical issue' is a concern. Given Gray has barely played for Exeter this season but isn't known to be injured you wonder if there's something more serious.

Hopefully not!


Yes, vague medical terminology is never reassuring. Hopefully it is nothing serious.


JG was probably not likely to be starting, or even benching on current form, but his absence does leave us a bit light should we pick up an injury to Skinner, Gray R or Gilchrist.

Henderson is very green, though promising and I am not entirely convinced that Hodgson is an international second row.

Maybe Cummings will be back sometime in the tournament, though he is going to be pretty short of game time as well.

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Post by bsando Tue 24 Jan 2023, 7:21 am

https://www.theoffsideline.com/gregor-townsend-finn-russell/

From pretending he didn’t exist to possibly the highest endorsement of his game and form ever. Whatever. I’m glad he’s back playing for Scotland again.

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Post by bsando Tue 24 Jan 2023, 7:25 am

https://www.rte.ie/sport/rugby/2023/0123/1350331-townsend-considering-john-cooney-for-scotland-call-up/

Cooney not available until later in the tournament (which I was not aware of). So he could still feature if injuries become a problem.

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Post by Highland Shaun Tue 24 Jan 2023, 2:15 pm

I really don't get why though as we have capable younger 9s than him plus he'd only get one world cup with us! Anyway I see Stephen Ferris of Viaplay has had his say on rte.ie and isn't happy either.

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Post by BigGee Tue 24 Jan 2023, 2:44 pm

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/64382163

Really good Tom English interview with Sione Tuipolotu, giving a bit of his back story as well.

Good to hear him taking some ownership of boozegate as well, perhaps something some of the others could learn from as well.

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Post by George Carlin Tue 24 Jan 2023, 5:17 pm

Highland Shaun wrote:I really don't get why though as we have capable younger 9s than him plus he'd only get one world cup with us! Anyway I see Stephen Ferris of Viaplay has had his say on rte.ie and isn't happy either.
No Irish rugby commentators are ever happy. It's unbearable to listen to Irish rugby podcasts (and I've tried).

There was one two weeks ago when someone made the point that they still think Ireland was under-represented on the last Lions tour.

JC on a Segway, that's so desperately sad. Like Richard Branson complaining that he doesn't get a lot of airtime for a billionaire...
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Post by bsando Tue 24 Jan 2023, 10:36 pm

Thé Tuipilotu interview was great. Nice backstory on his rugby journey and I like the way he describes his Scotland motivation being the love for his Granny rather than a whole nation. That’s a great way to go about it if you ask me. I hope he does well this six nations.

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Post by Highland Shaun Wed 25 Jan 2023, 7:06 am

Very surprised nobody has mentioned this but I was reading The Offside Line and noticed that we have added to our coaching staff.

Pete Horne is in for the first 2 games but it doesn't say in what capacity and Brad Mooar is in as assistant and/or attack coach for the full 6N campaign.

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Post by RDW Wed 25 Jan 2023, 10:12 am

Duhan and Hamish Watson at fit and training again apparently. Hopefully they're relesed to play for Edinburgh this weekend.

If Duhan plays 80 for Edinburgh I'd start him against England, but Watson needs more games before coming straight back in.

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Post by BigGee Wed 25 Jan 2023, 10:23 am

RDW wrote:Duhan and Hamish Watson at fit and training again apparently. Hopefully they're relesed to play for Edinburgh this weekend.

If Duhan plays 80 for Edinburgh I'd start him against England, but Watson needs more games before coming straight back in.

With the form Ctosbie is in, absolutely no reason to rush him back

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 25 Jan 2023, 11:33 am

Highland Shaun wrote:Very surprised nobody has mentioned this but I was reading The Offside Line and noticed that we have added to our coaching staff.

Pete Horne is in for the first 2 games but it doesn't say in what capacity and Brad Mooar is in as assistant and/or attack coach for the full 6N campaign.

Good spot Shaun, seems like a potential long term appointment too so could this be our new head coach coming in, given it'd be daft to keep him on as support coach if a new team is coming in?

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 25 Jan 2023, 11:58 am

Also noticed Healy wearing shorts during training with 22 written on them. Has Toonie already picked his squad for England?

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Post by Highland Shaun Wed 25 Jan 2023, 12:02 pm

NeilyBroon wrote:
Highland Shaun wrote:Very surprised nobody has mentioned this but I was reading The Offside Line and noticed that we have added to our coaching staff.

Pete Horne is in for the first 2 games but it doesn't say in what capacity and Brad Mooar is in as assistant and/or attack coach for the full 6N campaign.

Good spot Shaun, seems like a potential long term appointment too so could this be our new head coach coming in, given it'd be daft to keep him on as support coach if a new team is coming in?

What like a head coach is he, I see he was in charge of Scarlets but that must have been before I became a rugby fan keen to watch more club matches?

Would we all be happy with Brad Mooar as GT's replacement.

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Post by NeilyBroon Wed 25 Jan 2023, 12:10 pm

Unfortunately he coached them during COVID so the jury is out there. I guess we can only judge him as assistant for the ABs and by their standards they've been pretty poor. We'll wait and see though, maybe he's a hidden gem. This could be a trial run or I could be talking out of my erse!

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Post by BigGee Fri 27 Jan 2023, 1:42 pm

Some interesting returns to the club sides from the Scotland camp.

1. Ali Price - starting for Glasgow, which strongly suggests that he won't be starting for Scotland. Perhaps Toonie has been watching him play recently. He needs a big game.

2. Dempsey - also starting for Glasgow, may still have a bench shout for Scotland, but looking less likely.

3. McDowell - Never likely to be in the centre mix, despite playing well this season, he captains Glasgow.

4. Bhatti - Always likely to be the 3rd choice LH, so unsurprising he returns

5. Berghan - Starting for Glasgow, which gives me more hope that Zander is fit to at least bench for Scotland.

6. Brown - starting for Glasgow, which should mean hooker is between Turner/Cherry/Ashman

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Post by BigGee Fri 27 Jan 2023, 3:10 pm

No Hoggy for Exeter this weekend - surely he is not fit for next weekend.

Ben White and Chris Harris start for LI and Gloucester though, as does Christie for Sarries.

Sutherland, Redpath are on their respective benches.

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Post by Hazel Sapling Fri 27 Jan 2023, 5:11 pm

Edinburgh held back Schoeman, Nel, Skinner, Gilchrist, Crosbie, Ritchie, Kinghorn and VDM for being in the international camp

I would assume the hooker position is between Ashman and Turner with Cherry and Brown involved on the weekend. Watson vs Dempsey to prove who should be the bench option?

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Post by RDW Fri 27 Jan 2023, 8:08 pm

Shame VDM isn't playing as it's a bit of a risk dumping him straight into a 6N game.

Hogg definitely shouldn't be involved next week

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Post by takethelongroad Sat 28 Jan 2023, 2:16 pm

Thanks Jimbo for raising awareness of twickers tickets being out there. I snagged a pair this morning. Will be the first trip to “HQ” and i am slowly becoming quite enamoured with the whole plan. After my wife’s illness last year we have a much more JFDI attitude to the treat yourself well side of life. Anyone have any tips for how and when to set off relative to kick-off. We are west london based so not too far a trek but what should the arrival station / tube be if we wanted to minimise shoulder to shoulder crowds on the way there? Anyone else from here going? Should be a hell of a win!

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Post by BigGee Sat 28 Jan 2023, 2:33 pm

takethelongroad wrote:Thanks Jimbo for raising awareness of twickers tickets being out there. I snagged a pair this morning. Will be the first trip to “HQ” and i am slowly becoming quite enamoured with the whole plan. After my wife’s illness last year we have a much more JFDI attitude to the treat yourself well side of life. Anyone have any tips for how and when to set off relative to kick-off. We are west london based so not too far a trek but what should the arrival station / tube be if we wanted to minimise shoulder to shoulder crowds on the way there? Anyone else from here going? Should be a hell of a win!


Twickenham is not the easiest of places to get to and the stations do get crowded.

Twickenham station is the nearest and getting to the match is not usually to bad as people stagger their journeys. A lot of people will go early and will then watch the first match on the big screens.

Getting out after the match is a pain if you are keen to make a quick exit, the station does not cope well with the big crowds. To alleviate that you can stay behind and have a few more drinks while the queue is dying down or some people walk down to Richmond where you can get the district line, that is a bit of a walk, but often quicker than standing the queue at Twickenham station.

Hope you enjoy the match, the stadium is pretty good, with decent sight lines and the beer queues put Murrayfield to shame. There are usually a lot of England fans who are there for the occasion and not necessarily the match though, see what you think!

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Post by BigGee Sat 28 Jan 2023, 7:48 pm

Well of the Scottish possibles who played today, you would probably have to say Hamish Watson was the pick of the bunch. He played the whole 80 mins, in an extremely physical game and did not look out of place at all. Hopefully he will recover well from it, maybe he will bench next week.

Price was solid, if less spectacular in what was a much less demanding performance. I have a feeling, based on the fact that Ben White is starting for LI tomorrow and will may even struggle to get out to Spain immediately with the rest of the squad, that George Horne is going to start next week and the bench spot will be between Price/White. Let's see how Ben White plays tomorrow.

Fraser Brown had a good game as well, as did Cherry when he came on. Hooker is a hard one to call, all four of them have a shout at the match squad and Turner, who I would have said was the least likely starter, ws the only one to be rested this weekend.

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Post by RDW Sun 29 Jan 2023, 5:57 am

I can't imagine this weekends games will have shaped the 23 for next week much but a few players definitely put their hands up. Brown stood out but but wasn't the toughest of tests. If Price was meant to show he was fighting for his place he was ok enough without anything special.

Watson made it through the 80 with 17 carries and 12 tackles so which is about average for him! He still looks hesitant in taking the ball in though - not quite full pinball mode. For me he should bench if we have a 6-2 split. His turnovers could be useful late in a game.

I actually thought Haining put in a good reminder on what he can bring. He's probably the most physical 6/8 we have and shouldn't be forgotten about given who we have in the WC. For all the athleticism of Crosbie, Christie and Bayliss there is a time and a place for a horrible physical barsteward and he gives you that. Main question mark is on his fitness as he can't pull a run of games together without getting injured.

Meanwhile Finn had 9 successful kicks for Racing, including a last minute winning penalty!

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Post by NeilyBroon Sun 29 Jan 2023, 11:14 am

If Toonie starts Horne that's a big positive selection step, hopefully he's bold with the other positions. Namely the centres and FB!

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Post by BigGee Sun 29 Jan 2023, 3:11 pm

A bit of a love in going on between Finn and Toonie at the moment, which makes a pleasant change.

Toonie full of praise for FR in his 6N build up interviews and Finn has returned the compliment by saying their relationship 'is the best it has ever been' in a weekend interview in Daily Mail.

He also alludes to fatherhood having brought a more serious side to his life and got him away from the PlayStation, Fast Food and alcohol lifestyle he was living before.

Interestingly he talks about putting on weight and using alcohol for support, which is what a lot of people, Toonie included, suspected.

let's hope this new found maturity and bromance with the coach continues and Scotland reap the benefit!

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Post by Hazel Sapling Sun 29 Jan 2023, 5:32 pm

Ben White got mentioned as having a strong game for LI today in the victory over Quins. Quins were down to 14 for much of the contest but wonder if that is enough to push him onto the bench ahead of Price.

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Post by bsando Sun 29 Jan 2023, 6:02 pm

Could be a difficult decision for Toonie. Price = Safe, Horne = Form while White has been very good thus far for Scotland without being incredible. I'd expect it to be Price/Russell personally but perhaps he'll want to change it up?

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Post by BigGee Tue 31 Jan 2023, 1:52 pm

https://www.rugbypass.com/news/gregor-townsend-revisits-the-dropping-of-finn-russell/



Toonie on Finngate!

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Post by RDW Tue 31 Jan 2023, 8:26 pm

Jeez the current love in is getting a bit much.

Just wait until Finn gets smashed after game 3 and gets pictured spewing up in a kebab shop and we'll really see how the relationship is!

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Post by NeilyBroon Tue 31 Jan 2023, 10:23 pm

It's clearly furra linees coaching influence, making everyone around him look and link up better.

I'm actually more confident than I normally am that Toonie will make some decent selections. At this stage what has he got to lose? They're going to let him see his contract through then on to a cushy assistant number. Therefore I think we may actually see him putting in form club combinations, which, given the turnaround time to England, is what he should be doing.

Shug at inside, Shona on the outside. Nomaits will be back in as an excellent defensive wing and to steady the ship. Horne will start at scrum half, even Toonie can't pick price over him, especially if he cited Russell's form before, I'm hoping furra is whispering in his ear to pick his brother. The only one I can't see him changing is Hogg, which is unfortunate as I think Smith's time truly has come, and we don't want him to become blarehorn mk ii being overlooked when he's on form only to be used as a utility sub in his less strong positions. We need to look at succession as much as combos and Smith is a fine player, at club and international (so far).

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Post by BigGee Wed 01 Feb 2023, 8:06 am

Well according to the coaching staff, both Hoggy and Zander are fully fit and ready for selection!

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