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Whistlers not up to scratch

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John Beattie | 09:44 UK time, Monday, 18 January 2010

A couple of things this week have made me think that Scotland doesn't get respect as a rugby country.

Refereeing and Brian Moore, in no particular order.

I'll start with refereeing. Each weekend, I watch a Magners League game, usually from the stand and at least one Heineken Cup match or English Premiership game on TV.

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And do you know what? Especially in the Magners Leagues games, I am absolutely fed up watching referees from our neighbours who are very, very poor yet have been selected above Scottish referees.

I coach West of Scotland Rugby Club and there are referees in charge of our games, Scots, who are better than some of the men with whistles I watch regularly.

According to the Magners League website, there are 21 referees, five of whom are Scots, but I don't see them getting as many games as the others and I cannot believe that the Scottish referees are poor in comparison.

I suspect a carve-up in Dublin as the more powerful nations in our area get their men to the top. It is a fact, I think, that, on a global scale, the worst referees come from the most powerful countries. Scotland has no referees on the IRB international panel.

Who chooses referees?

But can I talk about what Brian Moore has said in his book? He was a fantastic player, he is a great pundit, he is probably a great bloke and he is plainly honest in what he says. I heard him on Radio 2 last week and he is a highly intelligent man who has had a very difficult life.

But, and here's the crux of what I am saying today, to suggest, as Brian did, that Scotland beat England in a rugby match in March 1990, thereby winning their second Grand Slam in six years completing a decade in which it also topped the (then) Five Nations table three times was down to the fact that Maggie Thatcher had trialled the poll tax north of the Border is to deny the truth.

It shows a lack of respect for a small rugby country that, shock horror, actually beats teams sometimes.

And it's a deliberate attempt to do down a Scottish Grand Slam.

I've always found this attitude strange. To their great credit, the New Zealanders, South Africans and Australian always talk about the efforts they will have to go to beat a team and praise a team that beats them.

I actually feel petty and guilty in even replying to silly comments from an out-of-date perspective.

But, sorry, Scotland had a better team than England that day and were better coached, as I suspect the names Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer might suggest.

Ignoring the fact that Scotland scored more points is to do down the exploits of a raft of Scottish players, including Findlay Calder, both Hastings boys, Gary Armstrong, David Sole, John Jeffrey, Tony Stanger and the others who won the game.

We have to respect each other and admit that, usually, the better team on any given day scores more points and wins a game.

Politicians have little impact and do Glasgow top the Magners League through luck?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    John, with regard to refereeing in the Magners League, perhaps you are correct about the poor standard, but to suggest that the men with the whistle in charge of West of Scotland matches are more capable is utter nonsense. I'm 100% sure that any Magners ref could take charge of those games and turn in a perfect performance every time. I hope that this is not the start of a football-esque culture of blaming and shaming referees, rather than what I have always been taught, to respect the ref and his decisions, even if only because none of us have the balls to do what is a very difficult and thankless job.

  • Comment number 2.

    John, I don't know if you've noticed but it seems in the magners league that neutral referees seem to ref cross border games. Thus you'll hardly ever get a scottish ref taking charge of a game in scotland unless edinburgh are playing glasgow.

    I being welsh tend to watch mostly welsh games in the magners league, and they very often have scottish referees. I don't think it's a case of your refs being overlooked.

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree and it isn't just because I am Scottish. The amount of games where refs have given more leniency for the bigger nations against us has been quite apparent in the professional era. Remember the Johnny Wilkinson 'non try'at Twickenham which every one barring the ref and video ref could see was miles in touch ? The red card for Muray at Millenium stadium 20 mins in for his leg brushing Owen ? Many a forward pass too.

    Part of the problem has been lack of complaining or criticism of ref on big decisions wrongly called. I know human error counts for some but the Scots get more than average. However, I think Andy Robinson is a completely different character from Hadden and will not be shy in voicing his opinions which will be good and he is a respected figure in Noerthern Hemisphere rugby.

    With regards to Moore...well what did you expect ? The guy has a massive chip on his shoulder and I feel sorry for him. Blaming poll tax for his teams defeat is really pathetic. I was to young to remember the Thatcher years but if ever an example illustrates John's point it is this, taxing only Scotland but not rest of home nations ! If that isn't a point in case then I don't know what is. Moore and Thatcher will be remembered in similar ways up here but the moderators won't allow me to use the words required :)

  • Comment number 4.

    I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that was the game where Brian Moore came off the park to be interviewed by BBC sport and then proceeded to blame Scotland for ruining the game by slowing it down and killing it at every chance.

    Now this was the England team who's main tactic at the time was give it to the forwards, try ruck their way down the park, then ship it to Rob Andrew who'd kick a drop goal or resultant penalty when the opposition got pinged for bringing down the maul or sticking a hand in.

    From that day, I stopped having any respect for Brian as he just came across as a sore loser. The fact that he is still going on about it in his book just goes to show how bitter he actually is.

  • Comment number 5.

    So Brian Moore mentions an incident twice in god knows how many years and he's "bitter" with "a chip on his shoulder"?? Bit if an exagaration lads and lasses?

    And as for people with a chip on their shoulder:

    It's fair to say Scots supporters are somewhat unbalanced due to the very large chip they carry round and hence cling on to any little bit of glory (beside the point i know). SJ....do you seriously think referees sit their before a game thinking "i know...let's referee these scots out of everything". Really?? The JW truy was ridiculous but the video ref didn't give it because it was against Scotland, he made a mistake.

    As for Glasgow topping the Magners...it's like being top of the fair play league in football....nice...but no-one cares. Do you think Munster or Leinster would be anywhere but top of the pile if they bothered to put a full strength team out every week?


    As for the referees....the standard is poor full stop. The odd one makes for a good game but generaly they aren't great...at any level.

    Craig.....do you not think it's about time referees took some blame? People pay alot of money to watch rugby and there has to be some honesty from ref's as well. I'm not saying players scream at them like soft footballers but they should certainly be held accountable. Just a thought...


  • Comment number 6.

    4. At 1:12pm on 18 Jan 2010, cocovan wrote:

    I may be wrong but I'm pretty sure that was the game where Brian Moore came off the park to be interviewed by BBC sport and then proceeded to blame Scotland for ruining the game by slowing it down and killing it at every chance.

    Yes, cocovan, I'm afraid you are - that was the 1995 match (which England won). Pretty fair comment when you look at the stats - 24-12, all kicks.

    Without wishing to be offensive, is Scotland highly regarded as a sporting country for any sport? After all, it's a relatively small, low populated country.

  • Comment number 7.

    #6 - what a ridiculous thing to say. There was absolutely no point in that snide sign-off apart from wishing to have a cheap dig at the scots.

    And "EnglandScoreTries"? Another dig I assume! I won't deny it's appropriate.. but you have hardly scored a hatful yourselves in recent times!!

    Looking forward to the Calcutta Cup this year...

  • Comment number 8.

    Les1980 I agree with you.

    Englandscoretries there was no need for that. Silly comments are not appreciated. If you have something to say just say it.

    I think you should rewrite your message in clear terms so everyone fully understands your point....which is of course Scotland are cack and have zero chance of winning anything this year or in years to come

    ;)

  • Comment number 9.

    Very good David K!!

    Apart from the Calcutta Cup of course..!

  • Comment number 10.

    Baha :)

    I see the usual characters that have nothing better to do have turned up to try and get reactions by ludicrous comments lol

    Scotland punch above their weight for a small country in all aspects of life...prob more so than any other.

    Anyway, crazy to say that refs pre-empt the bias but in heat of moment they find it easier to give against Scotland. Although has become a habit beating Engerland at Murrayfield in recent years and I am confident we can beat them in WC group.

    Moore is a joke up here and we all laughed when he nearly cried during Italy game few seasons back when they kicked again and scraped a win. Sheer comedy. I'm glad he is English and not Scottish :)

  • Comment number 11.

    I would not worry about it John, the english were pretty dismal for most of the second half of the 2oth century.

    They never won in Cardiff between 1963 and 1991, were beaten at Twickenham by us ( Cymru ) during the same period.

    They have always had a chip on their shoulder, largest player base of the Home Unions and the highest funding of same. Yet apart from a few blips on the calender ( 2003 ), they are perenial under achievers.

    I actually quite like Brian Moore and his style of co-commentary. Brings some humour and honesty to the proceedings.

    We get a few scottish ref's for the games involving the irish and welsh regions and they are no better and no worse than the irish or welsh refs.

    As for david k`s comment about the Magners. At least it is not as soul destroying,turgid and boring as the english premiership.

    Mike.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good Scottish referees John? A chill used to go down my spine every time the Changleng brothers were involved in a rugby match...

  • Comment number 13.

    John, sorry to have to break this to you, but Scottish refs are by far and away the worst refs in the Magners, if not the world.
    Every week, a Welsh team has to put up with one of them and it's very hard to watch, whether they win, lose or draw.
    There are a few notable 'standouts' that need to be mentioned in dispatches (for all the wrong reasons) notably Messrs Changleng (either one will do), Peter Allan (please god, no) and probably the worst of the lot, the fantastically well-named Andy Ireland, who never gave a Welsh team an inch let alone a benign penalty count. The latter's finest hour came, of course in the Ulster V Cardiff game in 2006, when he yellow-carded 3 Cardiff players. The Ulster team were actually laughing on the pitch as some of his more normal (read bizarre) decisions went their way, again and again.
    It has to be said the Welsh also have a couple of howlers (come on down James Jones and Tim Hayes!) but neither plum the depths of those affiliated to the SRU.

  • Comment number 14.

    This has to be one of the most pointless blogs I've read on rugby on this site for a while, from an otherwise fairly interesting writer. Some fairly unsubstantiated meanderings on referees and a reference to a Brian Moore comment so bizarre that its laughable. In fact its so bizarre I might actually now buy the book..... are there many more gems in there?

  • Comment number 15.

    Brave move John. You've gifted an opportunity to get stuck into Scottish rugby here, but I see where you are coming from.

    I have seen very little Scottish referees in professional rugby, whether that's because they are truly rubbish, or the IRB are wrongfully taking a negative approach to them I don't know. I'm more concerned with what the players do. SJ, I remember that Wilkinson try well, but let’s be honest and say the England were always going to win that game any way. As a refereeing decision it was an absolute disgrace, as was the apparent foot in touch against France in Paris, and Murray's harsh sending off which effectively ruined Scotland's chances of beating Wales. Had those decisions been against England, Wales or Ireland there would have been countless whining complaints. Scotland have had it harsher than anyone else on the Six Nations refereeing front and I think the refs should try to eradicate these slip ups. Notice that all these nasty decisions have come when Scotland are away from home too! But hey, let’s not kid ourselves. These have not been tournament winning decisions and let's admire the way in which the SRU and its supporters have taken it on the chin and got on with avoiding the wooden spoon. We are a plucky wee historic rugby nation who are always capable of causing an upset, no matter how much the likes of 'david k' or 'EnglandScoreTries' like to make fun of our limited options. Enjoy your unrealistic claims of 'closing the gap' on the southern hemisphere, and constant disappointment when you wrongfully go in to matches as favorites due to excess media hype since Wilkinson kicked you to a World Cup title.

    I feel sorry for Brian Moore. He can't help but make a fool out of his self. He burst in to tears after Scotland's Grand Slam of 1990 as Gavin Hastings pulled him off the pitch, then had the cheek to make fun of Gavin as he cried in front of the camera as Scotland lost at the hands of England's title deciding win in 1995. Does anyone remember watching the pre match build up to the 2006 Six Nations? It had Brian Moore and Eddie Butler discussing each side. Butler posed the idea of Scotland being a surprise team that year, so much so that they could beat France at Murrayfield in their opening game. Moore laughed it off as ridiculous, with the typically pompous and dismissive persona that has fuelled Scottish delight in beating the auld enemy. The BBC has put up with his embarrassing outbursts, lack of professionalism and bias lisp. I had to put his autobiography down as it was so boring, despite his sad attempt to win over the British public amidst claims of child abuse. Yes, it's a terrible thing to go through as a child but please Brian, there are counseling charities for getting talking about that. This may sound harsh but we don't want to know about the ways in which your family friend or school teacher took advantage of you as a little boy.

    I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow to Ian McGeechan's interview on BBC news following his knighthood. He was asked what his greatest experience was throughout his career, and he mentioned coaching the Lions and his first Scotland cap. The BBC presenter then asked him how he fancied England's chances in the lead up to the Six Nations! Wouldn't you ask a Scot, who has just said one of his greatest experiences was being capped for Scotland, how he thinks Scotland might get on? Common guys, I know the majority of viewers are probably English, but give us a chance! Sky Sports promotion of Scotland internationals... forget it, O2 showing 3D matches for anyone but England...forget it, hearing any kind of hype over Glasgow leading the Magners league....forget it. The UK's Rugby Media is geared toward the RFU way too much, because the big decision makers are English and as long as that happens, Scottish rugby will struggle to bring potentially great players and financially embrace the professional era.

  • Comment number 16.

    interesting john. what do you think of england's chances this 6n?

  • Comment number 17.

    what are your thoughts on Ben Foden John. And what do you think of http://lukesblog88.com/2010/01/18/foden-makes-case-for-england-as-northampton-provide-great-odds/ ?

    all the best.

  • Comment number 18.

    Sorry John, but as a Scot exiled in Ireland, who regularly attends Magners League matches, I have to say that my blood runs cold any time my team (Connacht) plays a match with Scottish officials. My blood usually reaches boiling point again before the match ends, but that seems to be par for the course. I'm as patriotic as they come, travel from Ireland each February and March to Edinburgh for the 6 Nations, and generally do my best to keep the good name of Scottish Rugby respected whenever I'm socialising and watching a match on foreign shores, but the standard of referees from Scotland is appalling. I genuinely believe that each country in the 6 Nations and tri-nations has a slightly different "take" on the rules, but I often find myself scratching my head at some of the decisions made by Scottish refs in Magners league matches. Maybe I've just been listening to the Irish interpretation too long!

    On a brighter note, I reckon we're in with a shout this year. I was at Murrayfield in 2006 when we totally out-played France, I was also there in 2008 when we got our behinds well and truly kicked. I fancy Scotland, under a fantastic and extremely under-rated English coach, to give France a run for their money. If we can convert possession and territory into points, we have a chance. We then play a transitional Wales team, Italy, and an England team in complete disarray, at home. What chance of a grand slam decider in Dublin on the last weekend? I live within a short walk of Croke Park, what are the odds..............

  • Comment number 19.

    Two words. "Inferiority complex". Referees in Scotland are pretty poor. Brian Moore was probably being tongue in cheek. Quite a poor column to be honest. Below the usual standard.

  • Comment number 20.

    #15 Nicholas Ruthven mentioned Scott Murray's unfortunate sending off against Wales in 2006. An extremely harsh decision, but indeed, the correct decision.

    Rugby is one of the few sports where dangerous play, even when accidental, is punished in the extreme. Murray's kick to the Welsh player's head (Martyn Williams?) was clearly accidental, but was dangerous. After getting his marching orders, Murray apologised to the ref, apologised to the player he kicked ( I think it was Williams), and walked off without any protest. Can you imagine a professional footballer in that situation? Only good thing to come of it was the absolute sportsmanship displayed by Murray.

    BTW, another wee bug-bear of mine, it's all ifs and buts, BUT, if Scotland had won that game with 15 on the pitch, what else might have happened? They beat France, Italy and England, and if they'd beaten Wales, could their momentum have carried them past Ireland for a slam? All ifs and buts, but to this day, I've a (slightly biased) view that that particular decision may have robbed Scotland of a Grand Slam..................

  • Comment number 21.

    The thing is I think the Scots really respect the English now, and probably always did, and admire their rugby set up - they did win a world cup in 2003. But I was just making the point that it was unfair of Brian Moore - who is selling a book - to claim that an infamous English loss was to do with politics rather than just admit straight up that the team who scored the more points won the game.

    I don't think Brian Moore made a fool of himself - he is a driven man who says what he believes - I am just saying I don't agree with him.

    Toadhole, buy the book I am sure it's a good read, as I said he heard him on Radio 2 with Fern.

    Being Scottish we are a little embarrassed to look back at successes and only a fellow Scot might understand that sentiment.

    The refereeing angle came about when I watched a game recently and thought - surely there must be a Scottish referee who can do better than this. The response is interesting in that fans in Wales and Ireland are saying that the Scottish referees are poor.

    HughB I wonder if the Changlengs are that bad.

    SJ I wasn't talking about not getting decisions and you have to trust video refs, though.......

    Luke James I watched the Northampton game and Ben Foden is a star, so fast, and although I am a Scot I always think that England, with their resources and power, are favourites to win the championship and this year is no exception. When England click the rest are in trouble. I will log out and see what his blog says

    JB

  • Comment number 22.

    John, I know it's hard for you to comment given you've got a column on a BBC website, but don't you think the British media are too heavy on England, and the Guinness Premiership? Admittedly, Scottish rugby hasn't been the most exciting stuff to watch, but when we stuck it out and tackled our way to victory over Australia, all the BBC could talk about was how rubbish Australia were rather than Scotland's brilliant defensive organisation and heart. I think that we'd see a lot less than the likes of Brian Moore if the BBC were to take a completely neutral perspective on Rugby Union.

  • Comment number 23.


    Jay, there's tongue and cheek and then there's idiotic biasty. I'd expect more from a Six Nations commentator. No inferiority complex, I just don't like Brian Moore or any other bias commentator. Jonathan Davies often wonders in to that territory too. Rugby should be about good honest sportsmanship, and Moore is very far from that.

    Yes, England should get the majority of media attention as it is mostly supported in England, but common guys, enough of England this and England that. Let's try and rotate media attention more evenly.

  • Comment number 24.

    Englandscoretries - I think, like Wales, we punch above our weight at some things through the like Chris Hoy, Andy Murray, Shirley Robertson, Colin Montgomerie, David Coulthard, Alex Ferguson, Davy Moyes, Ian McGeechan, David Sole, Finlay Calder, Jim Telfer etc but, yes, Scotland is a small country and we will never have the resoures of our bigger neighbours. But it all has to be carried out in an atmosphere of respect. I called Rory Underwood recently, we don't know each other yet we both come from Malaysia, and I don't have a reason to dislike him because he's English! I was born in Malaysia - paradise by the way - and always thought of Great Britain as a little bit more than the sum of its parts, and those parts lived together in peace.

    Jay - no problem, you are the kind of bloke I'd like to have an argument with over a beer.

    07015678 - All commentators and so called "pundits", like me and including me, fight against thinking that your own team is good and unlucky and all others are poor, spoil a game, hang on by the skin of the teeth and only win because the other team is poor. The hardest bit is to remain completely neutral but that is the aim. I know many Scots who do like Brian Moore as a pundit, as I work on most Six Nations days I never get to hear him though. As for media attention Sky have the English Premiership so, rightly, they go wall to wall on that, and they have European games as far as I can see, and the Beeb does not have the Magners league

    Luke James - it's your blog! I am not qualified to comment on all of it, but it's excellent and Foden is a star.

    Off to the Beeb now

    JB

  • Comment number 25.

    John you might want to mention the match you're actually talking about - the Glasgow V Dragons game from last friday?

    Hearing yourself and various others on the radio howling with laughter at the incompetance of the ref (couldn't make it to the game), I can only imagine just how poor he was. Even Linean's 'guarded' comments spoke volumes about just how bad he must have been.

    But what you seem to have failed to get across to a lot of the posters here is that it wasn't that he was anti-Scottish or bias, just that he was a dreadful ref. Actually an utter shambles going by what my friend at the match said, but most importantly, he seemed to be against Rugby and not one particular side!

    Awful decisions are nothing new and while the Scottish ref's have not set the world alight in the Magners, their under representation at Heinekin Cup and Internationl level is noticable and perhaps unfair.

    This sport suffers from horrid elitism in both its organisation and, it seem going by the BBC boards, the opinions of lots of its fans.

    I think a better question is 'Where are the Italian, Romanian, Georgian, Russian, Tongan refs?' Or do the top 9 have a monopoly on fair play?



    oh and btw, one of the previous posters might want to actually think or perhaps check the Olympic and Commenwealth medal tables before mentioning Scottish sporting sucess - We are the most successful nation per head in both team GB and on our own in case you were wondering.

  • Comment number 26.

    Intersting blog JB.

    I am not sure if I agree with your comments about Scottish refs - an earlier post mentioned that you see them consistently in Welsh v Irish games which is true. I am a regular fan of Scrum V (my wife is an Ospreys fan) and see the likes of Peter Allan and Neil Paterson fairly regularly.

    I am a Scot myself and I can honestly say that their standard is no better than the Welsh or Irish refs in the league and indeed I have found on a lot of occasions (esp when the Changelangs were the main refs) a lot worse. I have however been impressed with Neil Paterson in the recent matches I have seen him involved in and do think he maybe deserves some slightly bigger games. I don't know what other people think but I feel Nigel Owens and Chris White are probably the 2 best NH refs at the moment and you still see them have some shockers (Owens in Leinster v Quins and NZ v France in summer spring to mind.)


    On the whole, standards of ref I feel are very inconsistent but I feel this is more down to how they interpret and apply the rules of the game more than anything. Therefore is it the refs or the laws that are to blame?

    I agree that Scotland haven't had the rub of the green decision wise in previous years (foot in touch in Paris 2005, Donal Courtney not giving a try because he was in the way, Wilko foot in touch etc) but there have been far worse and more crucial decisions not involving Scotland. What about Neil Back's gamesmanship vs Peter Stringer/Munster in a Heineken Cup semi a few years back, or Wayne Barnes not calling France for a forward pass in a World Cup QF in 2007? I think as Scots we always feel that we get a rough deal but I believe you make your own luck and we shouldn't blame the refs just because we are lackign quality - we need to look at our system right down to grass roots.

    re Brian Moore - I think he is a terrible pundit, he picks on one thing in the first minute of a match and just harps on for the whole game about that. Jonathan Davies and Keith Wood give far more complete analysis. Maybe Mr Moore should go back to his day job as a nail technician!

  • Comment number 27.

    Rob Reid. These are interesting comments, and as someone said above it was started because I saw what I considered to have been another poor referee at Firhill and thought that the Scots must be at least as good.

    Again, as for Brian, I have talked to him and met him but I don't think I have heard him much as a pundit as I am usually working. He's a clever man and entitled to his opinion and we are ok to argue with it.

    JB

  • Comment number 28.

    I agree with the comments. Just to inform all there is a new training and development site for rugby referees of all levels called www.theteamof3.com that provides monthly conditioning, decision making, peformance assessments, nutrition and law development programmes. Wayne Banrnes writes a weekly blog and has over 100 RFU referees using it. It's like a personal monthly coach and helps with referee development - something well needed in IK

  • Comment number 29.

    John - no talk of Scottish sporting success should overlook Dario Franchitti, the Indycar champion from Bathgate. He's far more famous in the States than his home country. Also, only five world snooker finals in the past twenty years haven't featured a Scot (yes, I know "sport" and "world" are disputed words when discussing snooker! It's still an impressive stat).

    I hope Scottish rugby fans won't be blaming the ref after this year's Six Nations - whether we've had good refs or bad refs, we haven't been good enough in recent years. Let's hope the promise finally translates into a decent Six Nations (which would be 3 wins) this time.

  • Comment number 30.

    David K:
    "As for Glasgow topping the Magners...it's like being top of the fair play league in football....nice...but no-one cares. Do you think Munster or Leinster would be anywhere but top of the pile if they bothered to put a full strength team out every week?"

    An incisive and intelligent post. Surely David is right. Surely as professional clubs, Leinster and Munster are lulling their opposition into a false sense of security and in no way wish the weight of expectation which comes from maintaining a commanding league position in the best domestic league in Europe.

    Oh no. Wait. That's cobblers.

  • Comment number 31.

    posts 11 - Owain, 15 - 07015678 and 15 - Luke james.

    Spot on. Owain and 07011578 particularly.

    John, I do believe Luke was joking when he asked you about England's chances this year. The previous post was all about how the media re England obsessed.

    On Brian Moore, he has become a caricature of himself and is certainly not to be taken seriously. John, you have covered your back by mentioning that Brian Moore is a clever man. I venture that he is not. In all honesty I think he is a clown of the highest order, a talented wind up merchant and no more. He is also a cry baby. The most infantile of sore losers although I find his honest approach to punditry refreshing, it is far from insightful. As someone else mentioned, Keith Wood and Jon Davies provide far more insightful analysis.

    I was initially surprised a publishing house would go near it, as the drive to read about this man's early life and thoughts has never gripped me particularly. In fact I can think of the type who would be keen to read this and they are the type of person I generally avoid. Then when I saw the stuff in the news about him, I understood. The weird and warped british public love to read about this stuff. Now I'm very sad that this sort of thing has happened to anybody but I'm sick of hearing about it. I certainly won't spend my spare time reading it.

    Now I doubt you will have failed to notice, I'm not Brian Moore's biggest fan but I don't want to be nasty. It's hard though. Really hard.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi John

    Re Brian Moore. I've actually read his book and I have to say that he didn't exactly say that Scotland's Grand Slam was down to anti-Thatcher sentiment and the poll tax. I know that what was written in yesterday's Herald by Neil Drysdale but Drysdale has misinterpreted what Moore said. Fair's fair. We should get our facts right before we slaughter the guy. What Moore said was that Scotland as a country was galvanised by an anti-English/anti-Thatcher sentiment in 1990 and that the crowd were incredibly powerful as a result. He doesn't say that the players were spurred on by their hate of Thatcher. Unless I missed something, he does not say that at all.

  • Comment number 33.

    Re Brian Moore. I kinda like him. Even though he sometimes deliberately winds us Scots up. He has a real passion for rugby and that's fine by me. We could do with a few more with his passion up here.

    Re Refs. I'm reluctant to critisise refs. No Refs = no game! It's a tough job and I for one wouldn't do it. Would you? I listened to the commentary on Friday night and it was obvious that the crowd, and you guys, were not impressed by the refs display. Surely it is time that touch judges take more responsibility. With regards to offside at rucks and line outs, surely the touch judges are in a better position to determine whether the throw is straight or the defensive line is behind the back foot? Are they supposed to be doing this already? Almost every game I watch has the defending line coming up to soon.

  • Comment number 34.

    #24 Point taken but Ian McGeechan is from Yorkshire.

  • Comment number 35.

    Hi John, Brian Moore's comments were: "Scotland's tactics were simple. They would use the crowd to pressure us through the game. Allied to these tactics, the easily-generated anti-English fervour was reinforced by the genuine political antipathy felt by the country towards the Thatcher government, particularly as it had been trialling its new system of local rates, known as the poll tax, north of the Border....for every second of that experience, and I exaggerate not, the back of my mind repeated the phrase: "I would rather die than allow the Scots to do this to me again." Nobody else raised Thatcher or the poll tax but Moore and the Scots players I've spoken to have rightly rubbished his argument.
    The bottom line is that, on the day, Scotland were the better team, took nothing for granted, worked their backsides off and seized their chances. England, in comparison, chose to run kickable penalties, lost their discipline, and couldn't understand why the Scots wouldn't stop tackling them! Yes, it was a moment to savour, but when you think that the two sides met another 10 times in the 1990s and England won every match, it seems strange, not to say petty, that Moore should still be banging on about this game. As Craig Chalmers said: "Get over it!"


  • Comment number 36.

    Just head the sad news about Bill McLaren. A little piece of everything that was good about Scottish rugby has just died today. The man loved the game, it was in his blood, and he was one of the true greats in the pantheon of sports commentators. Winter afternoons at Hawick will never be quite the same. It actually feels a bit like a family bereavement - I grew up with him as the voice of the game and he was always there, infectiously spreading the gospel across the world, as keen as mustard wherever he travelled, revelling in teaching thousands of youngsters, many of whom caught the rugby bug, through the sheer joy of Bill's encouragement at the grassroots. He will be missed. RIP.

  • Comment number 37.

    Brian Moore's comments have been misconstrued - I remember the atmosphere that day and it wasn't all rugby related. Also while on the subject of referees I seem to remember a certain Kiwi ref played his part that day too with his interpretations or rather lack of and just waving play on.

    Despite the onset of professionalism the 6N remains a tough tournament to win away from home - generally because of the passions aroused, no-one pretends it is all rugby related when it comes to playing England, do they ?

    I too have just heard the news about Bill Maclaren, a sad day and condolences to his family.

  • Comment number 38.

    Very sad news indeed about Bill McLaren. May you rest in peace Bill.

    Now there WAS a neutral commentator, Messrs Moore, Davies and Butler please learn from him.It would save me using the mute button and listening to radio commentary.

    Brian Moore is quite childish in all of this, but great to see that that one result really got under his skin. Displays a total lack of undestanding of how a team would be motivated and should gripe about his coach's lack of vision and his captain's lack of ability to change the game plan on the day. Learn some respect Brian.

    John, I think Glasgow have had their fair share of poor refs this season and I agree wth you. However, the team need to stay focussed for 80 minutes and learn to boss games a bit more. Lack of bonus points is going to be critical when the play offs are decided.

  • Comment number 39.

    Brian Moore is a clown. It’s not his fault he is sinfully ugly, but what he says is. John, I can assure you the vast majority of Scots would concur. He does a good job at ruining the gentlemanly image of international rugby, and that’s about it.

    Ironic that as I write this, I see that Bill McLaren has passed away. He is a perfect example of what international rugby commentary is all about. Good, unbiased yet entertaining commentary. I think the BBC are opening the floodgates for poor sportsmanship by having commentators like Moore on board. Have him in the analyst studio where you’ll only have to listen to him for a couple of minutes, but for heaven’s sake don’t let him choose the man of the match for obvious reasons. I know this is going to sound very pro Scotland, but I think Andrew Cotter is a great example of commentary professionalism. I remember how well he did to hold his tongue and choose his words carefully as Jonathan Davies started laying in to Geoff Cross for tackling the Welshman in the air (2009 Six Nations, Scotland Vs Wales). As it so happened Cross lost his bearings on the charge, and received the Welsh full back’s knee to the temple at high impact, worryingly falling to the ground completely unconscious.

    It’s frustrating and sad to hear these idiots shouting down the microphone for millions of BBC viewers to hear when trying to enjoy a great sporting spectacle. Let’s get the ill mannered loud mouths (like Moore and Davies) in to the analyst studio where they at least have a chance to compose themselves and come across semi intelligent. Leave the commentary to the professionals.

    Agreed?

  • Comment number 40.

    John I think this is Brian Moore trying to absolve himself of the blame he feels for the loss that famous day. Does no-one remember that it was the said Brian Moore who kept calling for scrum after scrum on our line, it was he who wanted to headbang his way over, instead of using anyone of England's kickers!
    I think Brian should really have a look at HIS role in HIS country's defeat and hang his head in shame.

    Sad news today for all rugby fans.

  • Comment number 41.

    The death of Bill McLaren brings to mind the differences between what we must call the golden age of his commentaries and those now.

    With Bill we had 'He’s away like a trout up a burn….he’s galloping on like a mad giraffe…they’ll be dancing in the streets of Tumschilloch tonight’.

    With Mr Moore we have 'That’s a piece of nonsense, I don’t know why he’s done that, to be honest, he’s lost the plot, that’s just brainless...oh, now I see the replay, he’s spot on’, what one might call bluster and back-tracking.

    I can't figure why he's become a fixture? Is there a good explanation for this? BBC? Is there?

  • Comment number 42.

    Gary, 07015678, and Johnny - terrible news about Bill McLaren and true that nobody nowadays, including me, is fit to lace his boots.

    JB

  • Comment number 43.

    jazzhats: Great examples there.

    I suspect that the BBC have decided to bring on a commentator who sounds more like your typical lager lout, who sits in front of the tv barking away from their armchair. Perhaps it’s to potentially spark up some controversy, or make the loutish viewers feel more content with their ill behavior. Personally I don’t care, just get him off the commentary team for crying out loud!

  • Comment number 44.

    haha you Scots are excellent! I'll give you one thing....you're stubborn!

    George Carlin....

    Georgey, Georgey, Georgey....please....

    Munster/Leinster put a second string team out more often than not. Glasgow play a full team more often than not. FACT. If Munster/Leinster played a full team as reguar as Glasgow they would not be anywhere but top.

    I mean....no one cares about the magners! the crowd figures show that!

    If Munster finsished bottom of the Magners Ronan O'Gara would not lose a wink of sleep.

    Scottish players need it. They need it because they have ZERO chance of winning anything else. But that's ok. Small fish in a small pond...better than small fish big pond i.e Heiniken Cup.

    Anyway enough of Scot bashing. Easy target.

    Those "blips" England have had will help me sleep at night as well as my finely balanced shoulders.

    Why don't you scot rugby fans lay back and dream of Jonny Wilko with a scotland shirt on, in a world cup final, kicking the winning goal. Nice thought. And also the closest you'll get.

    RIP Bill.

  • Comment number 45.

    ooooh and dare I say.....bias English commentator selection from the BBC?

  • Comment number 46.

    07015678 your comments above on Brian Moore are offensive mate. To be stereotypical about a nation (like me) is one thing, to criticise an individual for past horrors is horrendous craic.

    "This may sound harsh but we don't want to know about the ways in which your family friend or school teacher took advantage of you as a little boy."

    Gutless mate. No chance you'd say that to any victim's face.

    And before you pipe up with "you wouldn't say that about Scotland to a scottish person" i often have this row with Alan Tomes (former scot second row) most weekends.

  • Comment number 47.

    david k, you've never met me in person. I presume your not a professional psychologist, and will therefor dismiss your claim that I wouldn't say that to a victim's face as petty speculation. It wouldn't surprise me that you have face to face digs with your Scottish sports fans. I only hope they are able to shut you up as well as I would.

    I'm sure Brian's experiences were horrific, but does that mean that he should sharing it with every one who might be interested in the career of an international sportman? I think not. Some things are best kept between those already involved, or those that are qualified to offer support. He blatently knew that by putting it in his autobiography, he would increase his public profile. A harsh opinion yes, gutless? No, but realistic and probably true.

 

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