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Scotland blew World Cup game they had won

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John Beattie | 16:01 UK time, Sunday, 25 September 2011

Scotland can still qualify for the knockout stages in the Rugby World Cup. Georgia can beat Argentina and Scotland can beat England. It's tough, but it's achievable.

But the Scots should have reached the quarter-finals after today's game. They blew a game they had won.

So the problem with blogs is that you have to say what you think about what you've just seen, so here's my honest opinion. The heart rate is back down again - these games aren't good for my health.

I thought Scotland had the game controlled and I saw three things that were the difference between winning and losing. Just three little things.

The first thing to say is that, if you watch that Argentine try again, you'll see a little lesson in rugby. Felipe Contepomi, a player many say is past it, got the ball in front of a Scottish defence with excess players and did something.

What did he do? He motioned to attack the defence himself - he actually ran straight and hard - and then he let the ball along the line. In those four or five steps, he changed the game, because the defence stopped advancing, believing he was the danger man - a Scotsman jumped in one in the defensive line and Argentina scored.

The truth is that Ruaridh Jackson and Dan Parks are great players and move the ball along the back division sharply, but often that's not after attacking the defensive line to stop it drifting. Scottish players were fitter than the Argentines but allowed the defence to drift.

So that's the first thing. Scotland's attack doesn't stop a drift defence, there are few dummy cuts, seldom does the 10 pretend to hit up and pull the ball back behind a supposed first receiver and, in the last few desperate minutes, we saw an attack that went side to side - with a less fit Argentina coping with things.

The second was a little contrast at ruck time. It's a tiny observation and perhaps an inaccurate one, but it was my view. Some players, like Sean Lamont, Graeme Morrison and Max Evans, are superb at viewing a tackler coming in as just a temporary problem.

You can see that, for them, it's a case of getting as far up the pitch as possible. Most players are the same. But it looks to me as though Scottish players are trying to bridge over the ball and that, therefore, forward momentum generated by the player in possession is allowed to slow down. At times, it's as if some ball-carrying players revert to training-ground movement, go to ground a fraction early, get caught presenting the ball, and players in support are trying to bridge instead of blowing the defender away.

Andy Robinson will be furious at what he saw at breakdown. There are only two possible explanations for an opposition player getting hands to a ball. Either the player in possession didn't stay up long enough, or the supporting player didn't get there quick enough.

The Argentine players could all throw their hands up the second before they went for ball at ruck time - just as Richie Dixon's Georgians do - and we don't have that skill going back.

There is work to be done at breakdown to go forward more dynamically and in snaffling the ball going back.

And the third observation is this: why take off your best players? Depending on which rugby analysis website you read, the ball is in play in international rugby union for between 35 and 40 minutes. The rest of the time is hanging around, walking to line-outs, injuries, penalty kicks, or resetting scrums. So, if you replace a player at 60 minutes, he has actually only played three quarters of the ball in play time, which is 30 minutes if you believe that the ball is in play for, say, 40.

I know the hits are huge and that causes exhaustion, but our best players are, well, our best players.

For me, the key men in that Scottish team include Alan Jacobsen, Richie Gray, Rory Lawson and Ross Ford. Jackson forced his way into the XV and, of the two stand-offs, he is the one who attacks the gain line more forcefully.

There were little cameo roles, Jacobsen and Jim Hamilton arguing with every opponent possible. Look, I like that. I really like Jacobsen and his attitude, why take him off?

I thought Ford was key in defence, Gray was probably struggling with a hamstring and that one might be explained away, but why remove the bulk of Ford from proceedings?

It was surprising that, with the game won, Scotland changed the blend of the players on the pitch. I reckon your best players should stay there for the duration.

In the end, if I am honest, it was horrible that Argentina, who hardly ever attacked ball in hand, beat Scotland in a game we were winning and then blew.

Right, Saturday, Scotland to beat England and Georgia to beat Argentina anyone? It can still be done.

Oh, and by the way, you don't drop your captain. Al Kellock should have started.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Agree with you John, though Scotland had the game won when they led by 6 points - were actually looking very comfortable. Robinson made a blunder by taking Jackson and Lawson off, it seems to be the case that swapping 9 and 10 around the 60 minute mark is becoming the trend regardless of how well / poorly they are playing. Don't share your optimism about qualifying, I think we all knew that today was the big one and you could tell by the players and coaches reaction after the game that we have blown it for this year.

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi John,

    I agree completely with what you say. Although another point I'd l;ike to make is the lack of leadership in key moments. Why did Parks go for that drop goal when we had a penalty advantage and pressing hard in the Argentine 5 meter line? Any good team would of pressed for a try, and the fact he didn't even give it a chance to go for the try. Also, why did Parks not hit the ball up instead of trying to kick a drop goal under immense pressure which he was never going to get, true Contepomi looked offside but why go onto your weaker side in that tight a game?

    Regards,

    Aaron

  • Comment number 3.

    "Georgia can beat Argentina and Scotland can beat England. "

    I'm all for an optimistic attitude to life but John - your comment above is delusional.

  • Comment number 4.

    We have an issue with leadership in this team. Kellock is the third (or fourth best lock) and so not a certain starter. We have three very good scrum halves and all can captain...we just need to decide which one is best and then get on with it. As for other leadership candidates, well, Barclay is under pressure from Rennie.
    Irrespective of all of this, it seemed we just slackened off when 6 points up. We are just too nice. Far too nice. Good teams don't take their foot off their opponents' throat when they are up.

    Whether Contepomi was offside or not at the end (and I think he certainly was and that Barnes was shocking to miss it) he should never have been allowed to get close. We should have controlled that position and set things for the simplest of drop goals. It should never have been close anyway....Paterson's missed drop goal, his missed penalty, his dropped high ball which ultimately resulted in the scrum penalty for 6-6.....

    Just not clinical enough. Glorious failure next weekend anyone ? Victory over England next weekend but not by enough ? I'm sick to death of glorious Scottish failure in sport.....

  • Comment number 5.

    If...
    Scotland beat England by 8, and Argentina beat georgia with a bonus point, do Scotland qualify as 2nd place?

    They would be level with England on 14 pointsd but then it would go down to head to head?

    Not saying its going to happen but can anyone confirm if that is the case?

  • Comment number 6.

    Totally agree. All coaches are playing this 60 min, you must get a front row off. Unless the are blowing out their backsides and signalling to come off this cannot be the right way forward. To send on Dickinson who is better in the loose and weaker in the scrum than Cross and couple it with Parks is who isn't going to play a loose game is crazy. Missed kicks and half chances cost us but Argentina should have been put away so that those didn't matter. 3 seeds in the pools next time awaits us, and then onto 4th like the soccer team, as the IRB supports and funds (corrrectly) "weaker" nations.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's a bit easier than that actually! Scotland by 8+ will get them through as long as the argies win with a bonus and England dont get a bonus. That would put the English out actually! Not going to happen but we can dream!

  • Comment number 8.

    Some very silly decisions all-round by AR, but I still think that there were a couple of key moments.

    1: When Dan Parks went for the Drop Goal with a penalty advantage. He should have kept with the ball, gone for the try, and if nothing came of it, then taken the three points.

    2: Thinking we'd won it with 10 minutes left, the defence got caught napping, revelling in their glory. Argentina scored a try.

    3: The offside from Contepomi that the referee should have seen but didn't. That should have saved the game for us.

    And finally, a 4th item:

    Why was the referee English? Surely it cannot be acceptable to have refereeing the game someone from another country in the same group just as much as if a Scot had been refereeing. I'm not questioning the ref's fidelity today, but if certain Englishmen were in that position, knowing if Argentina won England would almost certainly top the group, wouldn't you be tempted to turn a blind eye to certain moments? In much the same was as an Argentine would have wanted the result the way it went, so, too, would an Englishman.

    Otherwise, it was a great game to watch, with my heart pumping more than its done since that oh-so-famous win against Australia.

    My tip now? France to win with the easier QF and SF.

  • Comment number 9.

    Why don't Northern Hemisphere teams go for the try when they have the penalty advantage to fall back on? Yes Scotland got the drop goal but a bit of patience could have secured 7 points. NZ, SA and the Aussies would have gone for the try which would have killed the game off. Scotland, like Wales against SA, only have themselves to blame for this loss.

    Agree Contepomi was offside at the death mind!!!

  • Comment number 10.

    PT8475, The drop goal was the right option. It is always used by teams in that situation. The scots backed themselves not to concede a try. Which was fair enough considering their line hadn't been under much pressure during the whole game. They were undone by a moment of brilliance/ lack of concentration in defence. Simple point is they should have been good enough to beat an injury hit Argentina by the 60 minute mark they weren't and they paid the price!

    As for the english ref comment i disagree. These ref's are professionals and would never risk their career by even seeming biased in the slightest!

  • Comment number 11.

    For me a couple of points. We don't have anyone who can score from 50 metres out. To be a top team you need these guys. Thom Evans was one but since his injury no-one. At 10-6 a lack of concentration at the restart was terminal. No contest, free ball, try! However if it had been England, New Zealand, Australia or South Africa they would have got the penalty in the last minute in front of the posts! Where were the touch judges, assistants call them what you like. Anyone with a rugby brain knows the defending team are looking for an advantage at that moment. Disappointing, should have won, could have won, but that would have been it. My money is still on Australia

  • Comment number 12.

    Jeru that is the case

  • Comment number 13.

    I think all will agree that the blame has to lie with Andy Robinson for not only his bizarre substations but more notably his poor team selection. Whilst I have nothing against the players on the pitch I can not understand why several key players have been left out. Notably Kellock, Reny and Asbro who weren't even named on the bench!! After brilliant, match winning games against Romania, I simply cannot understand why Danielli and Asbro have not featured since. It almost appears like they have been punished for stand out performances.
    Furthermore, whilst I rate Paterson as a player, he simply cannot last anymore for 80 minutes. Robinson let his squad fall short with a lack of backs on the bench, with Danielli clearly expected to cover 5 positions. And yet still wasnt given a chance.
    Robinson seems to have a few of 'golden boy's. Notably De Luca, who was simply atrocious and yet Andy refuses to change. If the backs straightened up, hit the lines hard whilst committing the tackler before offloading we would have won that game.
    Rant over (sorry). But Mr Robinson simply has to own up to a dyer team selection and needs to reward stand out performers with repeat games and certainly not drop key players for the biggest competitive game in four years.

  • Comment number 14.

    8.

    Why was the referee English?

    You were making a huge amount of sense right up until that point... sorry but that's rediculous.
    Scotland are their own worst enemies and there really is nothing more can be said to be honest.
    John, Scotland have not thumped England since that glorious day at the old Murrayfield in 1986 - remember you were playing and I certainly cannot see them beating this England, but the required margin.
    Scotland really had the opportunity to put real pressure on England by beating Argentina and they failed... but hey that's Scottish sport for you.

  • Comment number 15.

    PT8475 totally agree with the referee comment. It just leaves a sour taste in the mouth, he was all over everything else and the biggest and incident in the game he's looking in the wrong direction. poor show

  • Comment number 16.

    Thats why Scotland lost-they thought they had the game won. I felt sorry for Scotland as they were clearly the better team. But for me Dan Parks is a liability.

  • Comment number 17.

    John, why so little hope, particularly when it is unrealistic. Argentina will not lose to Georgia. However, that isn't such a bad thing.

    Surely you want Argentina to get a bonus point victory over Georgia? Then, when Scotland beat England, with a bonus point, England are out totally.

    The first is very likely, so no point in not putting all your hopes non the second outcome. That way, Scotland have a clear plan - and an outcome that they alone can control.

    We can but hope.

  • Comment number 18.

    John,

    I'm not sure I agree with you Kellock should have started, Hamilton and Gray were very good today, I have often had a go about big Jim but I can't see Kellock adding anything today.

    I'd agree about the substitutions though, I have been complaining about Parks 1st drop goal to anyone that will listen!! 3 points are in the bag, I know I will kick for 3 points!! A try there, converted or not, and we are more than a score ahead. I was screaming at the tv at that point, that just shows the lack of ambition Parks has. Jackson shouldn't have been replaced, Chunk has gone the distance plenty of times and he came back on for Cross anyway, there was no need to sub him, as you say Grays substitution was fine but Ford is a player who has always flattered to deceive, he rarely brings his bulk into contact at full throttle and seems to collapse like a house of cards, I can only assume Lawson was unavailable today and that's why Hall was on the bench but Lawson is far more dynamic about the park. The only point in bringing on substitutes would be to provide a spark and I think we missed a trick in not having Ansbro on the bench, he like Evans is a player who seems capable of conjuring something from nothing and he can do the simple things right, fix a man and pass exactly as you're pointing out.

    We should have and easily could have won that game if we would back ourselves (and our teammates) and start doing the simple things well!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Even as an Englishman, I think PT8475 is entirely right to question why there was an English referee for this critical game in a pool in which England are the third team battling for qualification. Whether or not he is questioning Wayne Barnes' performance, which I've just heard Sean Fitzpatrick describe as "indifferent", it is surely unfair for the IRB to put any of their officials in a position where their performance can be looked at in such a way.

  • Comment number 20.

    I feel completely disgusted by that performance. Yet again they lose a game they should have won. When will someone stand up and say 'That performance was unacceptable'? At the end of the day it doesn't matter that the loss was down to small mistakes or big ones-we lost and now for the first time ever it looks like Scotland will not qualify for the knock out stages.

    Well done Scotland you let your country down...again but at least we will only have to watch one more embarrassing lacklustre performance in this world cup and I know I won’t be watching it.

  • Comment number 21.

    My allegiance is with Scotland, but/and here are some thoughts:

    1. It is good for the tournament that they are out (almost certainly) - a team which does not score tries is not good to watch;

    2. It could be good for the game in Scotland long term - we have had a problem since the early 90s (post Hastings (x2), Calder, Sole et al - and pre professionalism!) and need to do something about it;

    3. Our problem is not with working hard, being physical so going back on the hamster wheel (e.g. spinning faster - by that I mean more training, coaching etc.) won't work - our forwards are excellent and can mix it with the best of them;

    4. We need to reward and encourage players, particularly backs, who take risks and try something skillful;

    5. As a nation we do not like people who stand out and are confident - we think they should be taken down a peg or two - it is unfortunately in our psyche - somehow we have got to change that - I suggest that includes by speaking highly of/encouraging players with flair (e.g. M.Evans, S. Lamont, R.Lamont) - get them to 'try things' (and perhaps thus score tries!) more (perhaps also send young players with potential on a mandatory (within reason) trip to NZ/Oz from the age of 13 - 15 (two years) - and encourage them to be creative!);

    6. Since nobody else is doing it (that I am aware of - and to contradict the earlier hamster wheel comment!) why not get all the players (particularly the backs) working on their running technique with a sprinting coach (break down their style and re-build - make them run with optimal technique - there are many, many components to change - see any video sharing website for tips (exercises re dorsiflexion/plantar flexion, angle of limbs on contact with ground etc.etc) - at least if we have unimaginative backs they'll be the quickest;

    7.Very disappointing result (but not scoring tries we deserve to lose);

    8. Well done to all the players - they worked/trained hard and just fell short;

    9. Hopefully I am wrong (and Scotland somehow qualify for QF) but we now have 4 years to re-build. Let's forget short-termism, including success in the upcoming Six Nations and aim for victory in 2015. Why not?; and,

    10. Somebody more experienced/smarter will have a better vision than the above I am sure, so let's get somebody in place to implement one (say, a four/five-year plan). Perhaps AR can be that man?

    In fact, I am sure people on here have some good ideas rather than the pathetic sniping!

  • Comment number 22.

    17.
    Love your thinking there. Bonus points wins for both Scotland and Argentina... can see Argentina going for that.
    Scotland will only score four tries if England leave the field... even playing unopposed Dan Parks would look to drop a goal;-)

  • Comment number 23.

    My allegiance is with Scotland, but/and here are some thoughts:

    1. It is good for the tournament that they are out (almost certainly) - a team which does not score tries is not good to watch;

    2. It could be good for the game in Scotland long term - we have had a problem since the early 90s (post Hastings (x2), Calder, Sole et al - and pre professionalism!) and need to do something about it;

    3. Our problem is not with working hard, being physical so going back on the hamster wheel (e.g. spinning faster - by that I mean more training, coaching etc.) won't work - our forwards are excellent and can mix it with the best of them;

    4. We need to reward and encourage players, particularly backs, who take risks and try something skillful;

    5. As a nation we do not like people who stand out and are confident - we think they should be taken down a peg or two - it is unfortunately in our psyche - somehow we have got to change that - I suggest that includes by speaking highly of/encouraging players with flair (e.g. M.Evans, S. Lamont, R.Lamont) - get them to 'try things' (and perhaps thus score tries!) more (perhaps also send young players with potential on a mandatory (within reason) trip to NZ/Oz from the age of 13 - 15 (two years) - and encourage them to be creative!);

    6. Since nobody else is doing it (that I am aware of - and to contradict the earlier hamster wheel comment!) why not get all the players (particularly the backs) working on their running technique with a sprinting coach (break down their style and re-build - make them run with optimal technique - there are many, many components to change - see any video sharing website for tips (exercises re dorsiflexion/plantar flexion, angle of limbs on contact with ground etc.etc) - at least if we have unimaginative backs they'll be the quickest!;

    7. Very disappointing result (but not scoring tries we deserve to lose).

    8. Well done to all the players. They worked/trained hard and just fell short.

    9. Hopefully I am wrong (and Scotland somehow qualify for QF) but we now have 4 years to re-build. Let's forget short-termism, including success in the upcoming Six Nations and aim for victory in 2015. Why not?; and,

    10. Somebody more experienced/smarter will have a better vision than the above I am sure, so let's get somebody in place to implement one (say, a four/five-year plan). Perhaps AR can be that man?

    In fact, I am sure people on here have some good ideas rather than the pathetic sn

  • Comment number 24.

    The same old, same old from Scotland... Not once did we look like scoring a try.
    Sure, we controlled most of the game but if the lead is so slender any kind of lapse can prove costly, as we saw.
    Poor old Paterson has been a great servant for Scotland but he had a match to forget. Missed drop-kick, missed tackle for the Argie try and he dropped a clanger of a high ball under no pressure that also cost us.
    Maybe his last appearance in the dark blue?
    We got a huge slice of luck with the fumble in the corner at the death and still couldn't deliver.
    What's the betting we grind out a narrow win over a weakened England side before getting on the plane home?
    A real sickener...

  • Comment number 25.

    There is 1 reason alone why we lost this: we did not win the the ball at the restart after going 6 points clear. In fact, we did not even contest it.

    Thought we were home and dry and switched-off.

    I also agree with Mr Beattie that your strongest 15 should remain on the field, especially in such a tight game.

  • Comment number 26.

    21.
    Points one through to ten make sense. Espeically your frist point... Scotland show no enterprise and therefore do not deserve to go forward.

  • Comment number 27.

    Okay we shouldn't have shipped that try but we should have been a converted try clear at least anyway. It comes down to our old failing of not taking our chances the way our opposition does.
    Scotland must have one of the worst records for the ratio of time spent in the oppositions 22 and line breaks to points scored. Be interesting to see stats, although painful, on that compared to other teams.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think Scotland deserved to lose because of the decision to go for a drop goal. They already had a penalty advatage, and arguably the most accurate goal kicker in world rugby. If a kick would have taken them beyond a converted try, then fair enough, but otherwise it makes no sense

    In that situation, just rumble the ball towards the try line with through the forwards . Even in the worst case - ref calls advantage over then they lose the ball, you are asking Argentina to score from 90 yards out instead of inviting them to fight for the restart within the Scottish Half.

    Also why did they play one extra phase before going for the last minute drop - all it did was give Argentina a chance to line themselves up to try to charge down the kick.

    As for the conspiracy theorists about the ref, I am sure England would have been happier with a Scottish victory, since that would have put ENgland through.

  • Comment number 29.

    "Georgia can beat Argentina and Scotland can beat England. "

    Almost as stupid as thinking that a lead by six points with 10 odd minutes to go wins you the game.

  • Comment number 30.

    Scotland played better than I expected and could have won. But not "should have" won. Hamilton was their best player, so saying that Kellock should have started is plain wrong. Scotland lack creativity and have done so for several years. It is no longer sufficient to rely on "spirit". Robinson seems to be making the best of what is available - but Scotland lack players of real class. Who would get into a Lions team at present?

    I would happily see Scotland beat England but that's as likely as George Osborne offering to pay income tax.

  • Comment number 31.

    29.
    Totally agree... Argentina and Scotland to win with 4 try bonus points is more likely;-)

  • Comment number 32.

    Scotland blew it today and have only their players to blame. Not because they threw away a slim lead in the last ten minutes, but because of the three or four basic errors Argentina committed in this period which a top team would have punished.

    The Scots will undoubtedly be fired up for the England match, but England will give them fewer opportunities than Argentina did, so if they miss them so consistently they will be unable to win, let alone get the convincing win they need.

  • Comment number 33.

    John

    The penalty advantage of try/drop goal is surely a "no-brainer" as you are guaranteed 3 points then the PROFESSIONAL DECISION is you should go for the at least 5 point option especially as it is a tight game. If you don't you're not thinking as a competent international player.

    Scotland lost because they forgot to defend the 10 yard line allowing Argentina a free take from the restart which ultimately led to the try (Paterson missed tackle included)-loss of concentration or lack of PROFESSIONALISM Rarely did they look like they would score a try and with more pressure on during the last 10 minutes it was too frantic against a defence willing to sacrifice all to stay ahead-including being offside whenever needed.

    The referee has been roundly critcised for his general performances, including by Phil Vickery about his knowledge of scrum offences-remember he was in charge when he penalised the Scottish scrum time after time in Paris this year, including a penalty try and yellow card when the French props were boring in and pulling down It is not correct for referees to adjudicate when their own nations interest could be affected. I'm not a fan to Wayne Barnes and I'm sure AR's heart must sink when he sees his name on the officials list.

    As for the future with Edinburgh and Glasgow struggling without their internationalists where are we going to get a more cohesive, powerful and PROFESSIONAL unit capable of seeing out games?

  • Comment number 34.

    Are people really suggesting that having an English ref was a bad thing for Scotland. A Scottish victory would have left Argentina with 2 defeats and guaranteed England's progress regardless of their result against Scotland. The only English person the Scots should be complaining about is Andy Robinson. To suggest that a 12-6 lead against a team as good as Argentina is 'being in control' is laughable. He is yet again trying to deflect any criticism of his own poor decision making. He flopped as England coach and has done nothing to improve Scottish rugby.

  • Comment number 35.

    should've, would've , could've are the words that seem to pop up time and time again, for me this is the bottom line, i haven't checked, but i would take a guess that of the worlds top 8 countries, we have scored the least tries, i would also guess that of the top 8 teams every other has at some point in this tournament scored more tries in a half than we have in our matches so far.....anybody know?? anyhow, my point being that unless somebody somewhere finds the way to crush our white line fever and incredibly poor decision making anywhere from the oposition 22 to the try line, we will continue to wallow in the sorrow of glorious defeat.


    p.s, when dan parks realised his opposite number had shot the line, why did he opt to try the worlds most incredible recovery drop goal, he should have set it up again.....easy to say from here mind you.

  • Comment number 36.

    John, bang on! Jackson was playing fantastically well before getting the hook. I cant believe that Blair gave that pass to Parks though, it was never on and there should have been at least another phase! Even so, why did park not hit up and recycle? he is soft!

  • Comment number 37.

    34.
    No not really, just a disappointed fan comenting. Whether Barnes had a good, bad or indifferent match is irrelivant really. Scotland had the opportunity and they blew it.
    Personally I really don't think that Barnes being English made any difference.

  • Comment number 38.

    Been a disappointing weekend all round with Scotland, Glasgow and Edinburgh losing. They have tried hard.

    As a rugby nation we don't seem to adapt well psychologically. Today Scotland looked tense including Chris Paterson - he's a great player and will be disappointed in his performance. Glasgow should have won yet we don't seem to handle winning well after beating Leinster away. Duncan Weir who I would rate highly as a ten generally plays well but got frustrated which didn't help. I can't comment on the Edinburgh game as I've not seen it.

    Sadly the turning point was being 12 v 6 up and losing concentration - morrison came off the line and then there were poor tackles. I think it was right to take Jackson off as he seemed to be tiring. I don't think he or Parks are great at ten. Interestingly in commentary about the All Blacks they talked about 10s being born not made like Carter who controls games.

    I was also disappointed that there wasn't room for Kellock as he is a great leader.

    I think the World cup is over after the England game - however I hope they stop Ashton scoring - he is so arrogant. Scotland have nothing to lose but to give it everything.

    How can Scotland develop confidence and self believe and remain so throughout games? I believe they have the potential to be a great side - they can do it but when will they come of age?

    Andy Robinson is a good coach and has brought a lot to the game.

    Does the leadership and culture of SRU need a shake up to move the game on?

    The Scottish players have commented on the interest and support of the New Zealand public yet how many scots bother or know about rugby?

  • Comment number 39.

    @30 Nothing wrong with relying on spirit, so long as you then play like a spirited side. Worked for years up until the 90's. Scotland often only won by a few points, difference then was we could score tries as well as slotting goals and we played a style of game that suited the players.
    I also don't think Scotland lacks players of world class either, though I don't think many are making it through to the 'professional'/international game. The SRU has a lot to answer for, as well as the fact that many of the former feeder schools don't seem to play much rugby now, a lot of guys make better money doing their day jobs (i.e. you can't play international in the UK unless you're a pro, therefore there is a lot of quality that will never see the top flight - funny that a lot of the Argentines aren't pro) and Scotland still seems to be relying on nepatism for its selection.

  • Comment number 40.

    Can anyone tell me what G Townsend does to earn his money. Backs coach? Time for him to depart.

  • Comment number 41.

    Referees - they seem to referee the same aspects of the game differently or focus on different aspects of the game - scrums still a problem too - this pause engage varies greatly in length.

    Having watched rugby for 20 years I would sometimes see a different outcome to what I saw. Think it was a new ref at the Glasgow game - not heard of him before - read things quite differently from what I saw which I find frustrating - normally I know why a decision has been made.

  • Comment number 42.

    John has made a couple of good observations but why has it taken until now to see the frailties of the Scottish game when they have been evident since at least the last 6 Nations.

    The teams that AR sends out there appear to be a bunch of individuals hell bent on personal glory, particularly the back division. We see great runs from the likes of the Lamonts, Morrison, etc but on no occasion do we ever see them looking around for their team mates or where the opposition players are. Seldom do we see one of our backs running round one of their forwards. Seldom do we these great runs going into spaces or even calling for support and/or directing traffic.

    I watched us this morning play one dimensional rugby, from side to side. Even the rubbish commentator spotted that Rory Lawson could have mixed it up a bit by going right instead of left on at least 2 occasions. John has already pointed out our lack of attacking flair and this is why we don't score tries. We are far, far too predictable.

  • Comment number 43.

    The main issue for me is we have absolutely no dynamism, in our forwards or backs. we can bleat about the missed offside but realisticallym Scotland have no-one that has the go forward of a Sean O'Brien or a Toby Faletau. these boys go into challenges and knock people back or at least take 2-3 people to tackle the.

    It seems the Scotland forwards always slow down before the contact area, almost as if they are readying themselves to present the ball, rather than looking to get well over the gain line. Not once today did we get a series of pick and drives where the forwards were coming on to the ball at speed or where we actually had Argentina under the cosh.

    And don't get me started on the eclusions of Ansbro, R Lamont etc

    One further point, he was an unbelieveable player but what has Townsend being doing these last couple of years? We are no more dangerous looking in the backs than ever before. We seem to have no planned moves to use to unpick defences and it's almost as if we are relying on the 'open and expansive' agme the Scotland management tak abiout to break down defences

  • Comment number 44.

    #38..What has Aston done that is so arrogant? Scoring tries with a swan dive? Scoring tries? Rugby is meant to be entertaining also. I hope that Scotland get through and that we have 5 of the 6n teams in the 1/4 finals. I am sure that it will be a massive battle next weekend and that Scotland can win it just as easily as England.

  • Comment number 45.

    @42 Well said. Did Laidlaw and Armstrong not spend their entire careers just getting quick ball (from wherever was presented to them) to Rutherford and Chalmers. Then at some point in each half, just when the opposition are lining up to defend from the quick pass, make a lightning break. Rest of the half the opposition didn't know to cover the break or the back line hey presto, broken defensive lines and we scored good tries.
    Spot on about the individual players, Scotland has rarely had the best individuals but more often than not we've had the best combinations, especially backrow and half backs, who read each other and the game perfectly.

  • Comment number 46.

    Does the leadership and culture of SRU need a shake up to move the game on?

    Of course there needs to be a shake up, but nothing will happen. The SRU have from year dot perpetuated the the old school tie brigade within the Scottish game... because of this rugby is seen as a toffs game and it's little wonder there is no growth in the sport.
    In the few days that the SRU buffties have left in NZ they should get themselves around New Zealand and they will see that the main reason the AB's are so good is because its a game for all and not the chosen few.

  • Comment number 47.

    The only reason we lost was because we blew it! Yes the Argies were on the wrong side more often than not in the breakdown and played the off side line but then again that was no surprise!

    We should have had Rennie in there instead of Barclay though! Rennie is stronger and adept at ripping the ball off the opposition and this was exactly his sort of game! Barclay gives away too many penalties - and gave at least 3 points away today.

    I agree with posters about problems with SRU coaching. I know from age group level that the focus is on size and power and playing 'by numbers' - any individuality seems to be frowned upon! No wonder that by the time they get to international level they have forgot how to play! Just look at some of the best players in this RWC - Genia, Weepu, Quade Cooper, Carter etc not exactly big nor playing the system! What they do have are the skills and mindset to play whats in front of them!

  • Comment number 48.

    @44 Yes, swan diving is arrogant and disrespectful to the opposition. Rugby is not meant to be 'entertaining' for spectators, it is meant to be fun for the players, who then appreciate a good contest when they watch the internationals.

  • Comment number 49.

    Regarding the referee yes an english referee should not have been picked but we cannot lay blame on that one decision at the end of the game. This wasnt really a focus at the start of the match but should have been. We were poor, we didnt look like scoring tries and goodness knows why ansbro, lamont or danielli didnt get a start. I really think its time for AR to go. Southern hemisphere coach would be great and give us time to build.

  • Comment number 50.

    Ultimately the game was lost by a sharp Argentine run and a few lapses in concentration at the closing stages. My personal view is that Scotland played the better game and still can take a lot from the experience into the next bout. Harking to the comments I read on the referee skills, I can't help but feel that his tone throughout the game tipped the scales against Scotland. Most comments I am reading refer to the judgments at the end of the match. I feel that the ref was very quick to award penalties throughout the game. How many times did I see a scrum start to tip and a penalty awarded to the Puma's before the two packs had even hit the deck. I found the speed of those decisions alarming and indicated a bias. Thankfully the rain and winds helped to throw off many of the Argentine kicks. Although not immediately detrimental to the score line throughout, these decisions kept breaking up the flow for the Scots. It also led them to act with a more cautious nature, as the players were trying to not give away more risky penalties. Going back to other comments posted about the last drop kick attempt, the Argentine player was clearly off side. The pressure placed on the Scots kicker led him to attempt a hasty kick off his poorer leg. Had the Argentine player not been offside, I am confident the kick would have cleared. Had the ref acted accordingly to the offside player, I am also confident the Scots would have clawed back into the lead at the end. Aside from allowing the Pumas to time waste at every chance, it seems that the Argentine side had the ref as an extra man in some ways. When I heard Wayne Barnes was the ref, before the game, I had a horrible feeling that this sort of situation would arise. He has a history of poor conduct against a Scots team. Does anyone remember the Scottish game against New Zealand. Here is a link for you to jog your memory. This is not the first time this specific referee has been accused of bias against Scotland. I am surprised they have not chosen him for the next game against England.


    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/scotland/3413374/Wayne-Barnes-cannot-be-considered-a-world-class-referee-after-Saturdays-showing-at-Murrayfield-Rugby-Union.html

  • Comment number 51.

    The thing that has frustrated me most is the constant chopping and changing of the side from the tail end of the 6 Nations to the WC warm up games and then the first 3 games of the tournament itself.

    During the 6N we saw that Lamont and Ansbro were a good combination in the centres, they made countless line breaks in the game against Italy in the 6N and made plenty of breaks against Romania. Yet when it comes to a make or break game we revert to the plodder Morrison and De Luca who have played together many times in the dark blue and have been nothing better than mediocre.

    John Barclay didn't have a good 6N, was average in the warm up games and awful versus Romania, Ross Rennie was excellent in the first 2 games yet he is not selected?

    The decision to appoint Kellock as tour captain was baffling? he is clearly the weakest of the 4 2nd rowers we have and was always going to struggle to get into the side yet Robinson still appointed him?

    In general the game today was massively frustrating, lack of loose forwards getting round the park to secure possession, promising moves generally breaking down with Morrison running headlong into nearest Argentinian when there were numbers in space outside.

    The substitutions were bizarre. The front row were more than holding their own and with the game moving into a crucial phase then why replace the stronger scrummaging forces of Ford and Jacobsen with Hall and Dickinson? Dickinson has never scrummed well at International level.

    We've gone backwards from the days of Hadden. I didn't think that was possible.

  • Comment number 52.

    Think most can agree that the failure to call Contepomi offside was a poor decision. Personally thought there was a clear knock on at the ruck that lead to Argentina try. Granted this was while under advantage so would have resulted in Argentina penalty but this seems to have gone unnoticed?

    That said, I prefer to look inward rather than excuses. School boy error to not only fail to collect the kick off after going 12-6, we never even competed! The tackling on the try scorer was also quite pathetic.

    Some poor decision making at key times let us down. Parks drop goal, while having advantage, could have pressed for a try.

    Parks could have ignored the drop goal option and recycled rather than go on his left.

    Also as ever, a lack of killer instinct cost us, as think we were the better team and game was there to be won.

    Shame and my fear now is glorious failure of beating England but losing out due to lack of bonus points etc!

  • Comment number 53.

    48.
    Sorry Calum, but I think your in danger of looking jealous. Of course rugby is meant to be enternainment for spectators. The thing with Ashton is that when against a better player or tighter oppositon he no longer gets away with that.

  • Comment number 54.

    Calum, Rugby is meant to entertaining for spectators and thats why people watch it. Is it arroagnat when Shane williams dives for a try, when the french player scored against NZ the other day or when Ben youngs punches the ball into the crowd? Its about celebrating scoring for your country not arrogant. And i do think that Ashton like Quade cooper is a bit of a flat track bully. He doesnt score so well when marked out of the game, but i do enjoy watching him and hope he scores just to see MJ face...esp if he finally drops one.

  • Comment number 55.

    Absolutely spot-on John, great analysis - best blog of the RWC so far...apart from your penultimate paragraph. Sorry to say it, but Scotland are out.

  • Comment number 56.

    PT8475, I totally agree with your three points about Scotlands mistakes but.....
    Do you really think that about nationality of the ref? I suggest that if I suggested a Scot would be less likeley to be 100% impartial reffing a match in which England played you might be a little miffed.
    Having said that the more neutral the ref the better in every situation.

  • Comment number 57.

    Oh dear oh dear....

    It was in many ways one of Scotland's better performances with handling in the wet conditions much better than we often achieve when it is dry.

    However I do think that this is a damaging blow for the sport in our country. As a supporter of 40 years I continue to be dismayed by the lacklustre performance of a team that often flatters to deceive. Go to Murrayfield these days for a 6N game and if the stadium is full it's often because the travelling support outnumbers the home fans. I hate to simply list problems without solutions but I think we have gone backwards in international, district and club rugby:

    1. A national team that is built up to be ultra tough by the marketing men, but which has shown frailty year after year by stuttering about and often being unable to hold onto the ball in simple, straightforward moves.
    2. We are boring and not only score few tries but rarely look like doing so. I suspect Shane Williams has scored about double the amount that the entire Scottish team has managed in the 6N over the period he has been playing for Wales!
    3. Our district sides used to compete in an annual contest that was fun to watch
    and provided a greater number of players with the prospect of regular matches at a level just below internationals.
    4. Our club sides were better supported and the rivalry in Border and Capital clubs especially was a pot boiler that helped to act as a beacon to attracting young players.

    We have squandered all this through professionalism and I doubt we will ever get it back. At the same time, England and France whom we used to compete with as equals , have long since grown to a place where we can rarely expect wins and have got used to some horrible defeats. Even more galling has been the success of Wales and Ireland who we had outshone in the period immediately prior to the loss of the amateur game.

    Perhaps we need to take a really long term view and concentrate on regaining buoyancy in the grass roots of the game. This will not be achieved by forming new and faceless teams (at whatever level) that nobody feels allegience to - so I'd start by reforming the districts - and too bad if that means less professional contracts. Supporters will turn up if they have a connection with the team playing and if that team has a chance of winning an even contest.

  • Comment number 58.

    We need to be honest in something. I haven't seen a team to play with such passion and heart like Argentina. That is the most valuable aspect in rugby. Against England they deserved to win. Today, it was 50/50 but that extra heart they showed made the difference though. In a couple years from now, with full super pro players and the 4 nations tournament experience, Argentina may get a world cup. Paterson just can not miss that tackle.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hi John

    I like many others watched this mornings match,it kept me on the edge of my seat, unfortunately I was again to witness Scotland fall apart. The players & management need to sort out this problem & quickly. Some questionable refereeing at times especially on the Argentinian ruck what ever happen to? "USE IT OR LOOSE IT", the problems with players slipping in the scrum, did the ref take into consideration the underfoot conditions caused by the heavy rain? Then the offside when Parks was attempting drop goal? We need a miracle next weekend & if we pull it of we will only be papering over the cracks again. Maybe its time to change the management team.

  • Comment number 60.

    57.
    Wholeheatedly agree with you. Think we might just have to accept that the game in Scotland is well and truly poked.

  • Comment number 61.

    A few things have to be said...and it has been alluded to by John and some posters...where was our leader, who was our leader, who was our captain when Lawson and Brown went off? I would like to know...because it looks as if it was Parks...we need go to guys...and today the go to guy was Argentinian...if you give directly or indirectly that role to Parks you will get the same results...2007...2011...look at his two kicks for touch...had a second bite at the cherry and floundered magnificently...

    Second, and linked to the first, Mossy did not have the best of games, one missed penalty, costly missed tackled and costly knock on, he could have well been our go to guy...standing alongside parks for the last drop goal attempt to have one more option...

    Third, we had a lapse when leading 12-6 starting with the restart where we did not even try to get the ball and ending by not trying to make the conversion of the try harder,

    And last but not least, an English ref for this game was always asking for troubles, especially as there was a clear offside, not by Contepomi but by the number 5 standing at the side of the ruck and not retreating sufficiently before charging down ...A Scotland win would have set up a decider between England and Scotland that could have sent England against the All Blacks and the diificult route to the final...now in all likelihood England will top the group and face a far easier road to the final...this would involve other nations there would surely more comments made about it...but we are gallant losers...and first and foremost we have to put ourselves in situations where this kind of non decision would not affect the outcome...

  • Comment number 62.

    12 hours on from kick-off and I'm still furious at that pathetic effort. We can't keep the ball in the loose, we can't hit touch or our line-out jumpers when it's absolutely crucial that we do, we didn't bother to contest the restart when we had to protect our lead with minutes to go, we took off fit and able players and replaced them with those who have proven themselves less capable and we can't tackle when we really have to stop them getting back into the game. It was a collective failure and it is very difficult to think of anything positive to take from it.

    Kellock couldn't play because we need bulk in the second row for a prop who can't compete without it. We have one in the squad who was available, but he wasn't even on the bench, begging the question why is Low in the squad? Kellock also hasn't provided the leadership his captaincy suggests should earn him a place in every team.

    We have one good scrum half, one returning from a long lay off and Mike Blair. Blair shouldn't have been on the pitch at the end, as Lawson was fit to continue. Nor should Dan Parks, who is obviously never going to learn how to use a penalty advantage properly.

    Are we so lacking in analytical skills and knowledge of how others play the game that we just can't understand why we keep losing possession in rucks? One of the benefits of being in a world cup is you get to see how the best in the world play at close hand, but I see no sign of our ability to learn from that. That is not just a failing of the players, that is a basic failing of the coaching staff.

    I was out in Australia in 03, when we really weren't very good and were lucky to beat Fiji. I'm delighted I'm not in New Zealand for this shameful display. No doubt we will try to do the noble failure thing, just as we do in other sports, only finding the necessary desire to play when we have no real chance of getting through, but that simply isn't good enough. This team has let us down and only a performance comparable with Ireland's against Australia can earn them some redemption. I don't expect that for a second.

  • Comment number 63.

    What can I say. I am sorry for Scotland. I can't imagine how painful and how not to have an heart attach for a scottish to watch that match.

    On the other hand, Argentina has shown the world it's skill in rugby 4 years ago and this world cup. I personally think the forthcoming Rugby World Cup should be hosted in Argentina to show recognition and also attract more publicity in South America.

  • Comment number 64.

    1- poor decision to take the easy drop goal when you have an easy penalty goal to drop back on, had to go for the try
    2- fair enough Barnes could have missed Contepomi being off-side but how could the touch judge have missed it, he has nothing else to look for
    3- why didn't Blair get the ball to Parks the phase before, cleaner, faster ball would have given parks alot more time to nail the winning drop goal
    4- pretty silly taking of Ford, awesome in defence one our best players and we need him on the pitch
    5- Robinson should never have made Kellock his captain, your captain has to be guaranteed his starting place - Barclay, Ford,perhaps even Morrison.
    6- i feel the referee's are having far to much influence on the outcome of games at the worldcup with their interpretation of rulings at scrum time.

  • Comment number 65.

    61.

    I don't not believe for one minute that there was bias in the official... mistakes made yes, but not bias based on nationality.
    Using the ref is merely an excuse in my opinion. Scotland had ample opportunity to close that game out and they never did. The only ones to blame are themselves.
    Scotland basically have to some how overcome an England side that are now eyeing up a winable fixture with France... which they will not want to give away that's for sure.
    Before heading into the match Scotland were in a strong position in that if they beat Argentina they were heading up to Auckland to face England next week having qualified for the QF. The loser of the Eden Park test heading on to meet New Zealand... personally I think the pressure on England then would have been too much and Scotland could have prevailed... but thanks to their propensity to crumble they are not.
    Any victory against England next week that does not contain a four try bounus point win... is hollow at best.

  • Comment number 66.

    62.
    My sentiments exactly. They were crap and got what they deserved.

  • Comment number 67.

    People commenting we have nobody with dynamism like Foletau or O'Brien.

    We DO - his name is JOHNNIE BEATTIE, and he's off from, both on the field and in terms of what's been coming out of his mouth!! He'll come back though.

    Personally, given the state of the game in Scotland, I think it is staggering that we produce players of the quality we do.

    That's the reality - everyone will moan, but we have only two professional teams who are run at a loss, schools rugby is dominated by maybe 10 private schools with only one strong state school and we have fewer players than any other 6N, including Italy.

    Despite this we've got a Players who would get in other top squads, including England's - Richie Gray, Euan Murray, Ross Ford, the whole back row and some of the reserves, the scrum halves, maybe Rory & Sean Lamont, maybe Max Evans, probably Chris Paterson, perhaps even big Jim Hamilton, and there are others in the squad like Ansbro or Danielli who are starters in top Aviva or European sides.

    To have all that is quite an achievement given the state we've been in now for the best part of 2 decades.

    We have some weaknesses - at fly half, but Jackson will mature and Duncan Weir is talented.

    So there's stuff to build on, but to go from a team of nearly men to one which wins is a huge psychological hurdle.

    It won't be helped by the whining, moaning fans who stay away from games and are just incredibly negative about the players - the most negative of any fans I know of.

    GET BEHIND THE TEAM, whatever happens at this RWC - and we probably will go out - don't forget that Ireland and Wales both went home early in 2007 - and both went from that to winning Grand Slams in 2008 and 2009.

  • Comment number 68.

    Oh, and by the way - IT IS A SCANDAL THAT A MATCH OF THIS IMPORTANCE WAS REFFED BY AN ENGLISHMAN.

    And he was poor.

    End of - there's no debate about that.

  • Comment number 69.

    @goodpanamahat

    Yes, I would be miffed if it in no way affected Scotland. I'd be saying the same thing if a Scottish referee had been presiding over Argentina vs. England earlier this group stage.

  • Comment number 70.

    And a final word...

    I'd rather see us lose to England than win without the bonus point. It would just be so agonising (Particularly over the now infamous offside call) to think that stupid errors and costly mistakes and (Particularly) Dan Parks' seeming fixation with getting himself on the scoreboard ahead of getting his team through.

    Frankly it would be too much to bear.

  • Comment number 71.

    Andy Robinson is an example of great players not cutting the mustard as a coach. I remember being at Twickenham in '88 for the game against Australia and he was brilliant. ( £4.00 to stand behind the South Stand Goal) The kind of openside of which the mould has long since been thrown away. That said, changing him for a southern hemi coach is akin to putting a plaster on a cut carotid. The problem with scottish rugby goes way back in the pecking order. Have a look at Georgia. Money thrown at it, 6 pro clubs all getting good att's and a reputation that will have plenty of teams not wanting to meet them in 4 years time. How many of their players are 'old school tie?'
    Loving the optimism of beating England next time out. 10 out of 10 for that

  • Comment number 72.

    Scotland lost it today. I recall Francois Pienaar talking about negative type rugby in a previous game. The turning point was Scotland 9 - 6 up, awarded the penalty on the Argentine 22. Instead of running the ball to the wing, they took a drop goal, which was successful. Scotland needed the 5 points (or 7 points ) at that time to bury the game. Instead, some weak play, an awful Patterson attempt at a tackle, and Argentina scored.
    Wayne Barnes missing the Argentinians being offside in the last few minutes did rob Scotland of a deserved victory.
    England will beat Scotland by at least 15 points, and Argentina will win by at least 30 (even with their injury list).

  • Comment number 73.

    When will Wayne Barnes be banned from reffing international games?

    He missed a forward pass by France that knocked NZ out of the last world cup.
    He didn't happen to see Hooks perfect penalty kick against SA this year which cost them the game...and now for some bizarre reason he had his back to the Argentinians during the dying minutes and failed to see Contemponi way off side which in turn knocked Scotland out of this world cup.

    This man is the worst ref of all time and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near international rugby.

  • Comment number 74.

    Wayne Barnes wont enjoy the match review, but there was a fundamnetal error at a critical time today. James (73) puts this well with his other examples.
    Barnes was expected to top the referees list, but perhaps it is time to concentrate on the Premiership and leave international alone for a while.
    Any chance he could hook up with Sonia at the BBC?

  • Comment number 75.

    @49 "I really think its time for AR to go. Southern hemisphere coach would be great and give us time to build."

    Really? We've been there, don't forget, Matt Williams. What a disaster! I think AR made a bad selection. I groaned when I saw the combi of De Luca, Morrison and S Lamont. It just doesn't work and simply doesn't score tries.Jackson's presence showed the intent but not with that backline combi!! Why wasn't Ansbro there?? R Lamont? And the bench was terrible and used disastrously. I can't believe the top teams have scored more tries in 30 minutes than Scotland in the whole of the World Cup (and a good chunk of the 6 Nations!). I can't wait till next year when finally we get a flying Dutchman. And Townsend has to go not AR.

    But generally, the one question I would ask is why oh why doesn't this team ever LEARN??? There's no sense of progress, they lurch from one game to the next. Why haven't they learnt from previous disasters to close the game down?? Why hasn't Parks LEARNT to use the advantage properly?? Why haven't they LEARNT to offload the ball in or just before the tackle?? Why hasn't Morrison LEARNT to look for spaces instead of opponents?? Why oh...the list just goes on!!

  • Comment number 76.

    In recent times Scotland have invented more ways to engineer their own downfall than an octopus could shake 8 sticks at. It's frustrating beyond belief.

    It was a brave decision and the right decision to drop Kellock. The team selection was spot on, other than De Disaster Area getting the nod over Ansboro. That one had me flummoxed.

    Robinson's tactics were shrewd and effective. Until the willy nilly substitutions farce. What a load of nonsense.

    As has been mentioned already, I just can't see how Townsend is earning his wages. Our backs are just as ultimately blunt now as they were at the start of his appointment. We can't score tries to save ourselves and nothing has improved in the slightest to address that. It's unacceptable, so why do the powers that be keep accepting it?

    I can see us beating England, but it is a fairytale to think that we'd score 4 or more tries and win by 8 or more points. It ain't gonna happen.

    It's just wrong that the game was reffed by someone who shares the same nationality as one of our group competitiors. Dress it up however you want, blah-blah-blah: it's just wrong.

    Och, Scotland. You've broken my heart. Again. You lead me right up the garden path and kicked me in the family jewels (again) when I was just about to give you a peck on the cheek.

    Ten days since we last played a game, wasn't it? It seemed like too long. I'd almost fallen asleep and forgotten there was a RWC going on after a wait like that.

  • Comment number 77.

    John - Have to agree with you, always keep your best players on the park if they are fit, and never ever drop your Captain unless he's injured.

    @ 73 James Mathew - why is it whenever I read a rugby blog you are always on there with Anti-English comments. You are obviously a xenophobe, attacking the England team on Ben Dirs blog and an English ref on here. I'm actually surprised that you aren't yet suggesting Barnes did it deliberately to make sure Scotland lost and went out.

    Fact is the Wayne Barnes is one of the best ref's in the world, but he is human and will not get everything right. Yes barnes made mistakes, but the fact is that if the players on the losing Scotland side today had made as few mistakes as he did as ref then they would have won by 20 points.

    And remember - Without a referee we wouldn't have a game!

  • Comment number 78.

    Is it just me or is Barnes actually less than ordinary?

  • Comment number 79.

    Actually, the way I read the pool (as it stands) and the rules that govern teams tied in points in a pool, all Scotland have to do is beat England and prevent them from scoring a losing bonus point. If that happens, they will both have 14 points, and the first tie-break rule is that the winner of the match between the two tied teams is placed higher. Assuming Argentina win with a bonus point against Georgia, they will top the group with 15 points, and Scotland would go through as the second placed team to meet NZ (and England would be out)

  • Comment number 80.

    Hookers do it best.....I normally agree with your sensibile comments but we are in 2011 not 1970, refs earn big money and need to be accountable. Wayne Barnes cost the All Blacks in 2007 and cost Scotland today. I don't think his nationality has anything to do with it he just gets caught up in the game and it passes him by................International sport is decided by tiny margins and he decided this one for us

  • Comment number 81.

    Interesting to see the fall out to this game. When England beat ARgentina the world and its mother was queing up to stick the boot in, now people are finally seeming to realise the Argies are a tricky World cup team. Also dont see many people chastising the sweaty's in much the same way people did England. Little bit of schadenfreude, so many of the comments post Eng Romania game were really keen to emphasise how it was only Romania and Scotland were going to surprise them.........well I'd like to point out it was only Argentina and you blew it!

    With regards to Wayne Barnes not being impartial, ridiculous statement, with all due respect even if he was the kind of guy willing to risk his career and livelihood to give his home country the advantage, would he do it over Scotland? England are comfortable favourites to beat them so cant understand why he would?

    Not sure where this pro france bandwagon is coming from, they are hopeless. Could be great but not with their coach. They'll lose to England in the quarter, comfortable Eng win. SAF will beat England in Final, I am almost certain of this outcome.

  • Comment number 82.

    To all the Jocks on here moaning about the result - you lost, now get over it.

    Complaining because the referee was English? Bigoted nonsense.

    Sure, Barnes is a rubbish referee but he's not biased. Contepomi was marginally offside and it was missed. However the set up for the drop goal was poor, so was the pass and Park's positioning. His decision to go for it instead of setting it up again was wrong.

    Scotland lost because they were rubbish. Not all game long, just the parts when it really mattered.

  • Comment number 83.

    Why make these substitutions at 9 and 10....why, I simply cant understand it!

    All Scottish supporters are now thinking - same old story, could have been and maybe will the next time, but will Mr. Robinson be thinking the same, will he hang around for the next time?

  • Comment number 84.

    Swing Low - you're going home!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Hooker...don't be so sensitive. The fact that wayne barnes is hands down the worst ref out there has nothing to do with his nationality. I never mentioned his nationality, I just mentioned how his errors have already cost NZ, Wales and now Scotland greatly in world cup games. I don't think for a second he does these on purpose I just think he is useless and needs to be banned from ever reffing an international game again. This is the professional era and stupid mistakes like he is consistently doing must stop as they are costing teams millions. He must have connections somewhere or be the spoiled nephew of some one in power because its a mystery how he is still allowed to mess up the sport with his amateur mistakes.
    I think after this his days are numbered on the world stage...hopefully.

  • Comment number 86.

    I hope Scotland don't go home. But to rely on Argentina losing is precarious. To rely on Scotland beating England is just as precarious.

    As for the game today, it was nail biting stuff with a terrible twist in the tail. But there was no chance that Scotland were going to cross the whitewash. Their forwards are average and do okay against most good opponents, but no more. Their backs do seem to have no direction, the individual players aren't bad, but there aren't any matchwinners amongst them now and with that, they need to rely on teamwork. The backs don't seem to have that either though. No moves to speak of and poor passing. Compare Scotland's passing in the backs which inevitably seems to check the receiver before he needs to go from a standing start, to the type of pass the likes of Ma'a Nonu gets. He is having to accelerate quickly to get the pass!

    In the long run, as other posters have said, Scotland's pool of players is small. There will be times when a small handful of world class players emerge to make Scotland punch above their weight. It's happened in the past. This isn't such a time.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ #80 parlane

    I'm sorry, but the rugby refs don't earn that much, especially not when compared with what their football counterparts and professional rugby players earn.

    I have learnt how to play a ref after years of experience. Yes they make mistakes and get it wrong, but at least Barnes gets it right most of the time. As a player who is also a qualified ref I am amazed that so many refs get even basic rules wrong. But in terms of fairness and making mistakes they tend to be consistent and you learn to deal with it.

    Scotland still had a chance at the end to win, but just went sideways, not forwards. Argentina missed 3 kicks at goal which would of made that drop goal attempt insignificant. Blame the ref all you like but the fact is the Scottish players cost themselves that game, not the ref.

    As I said before if the players made as few mistakes s the refs then they would win by 20 points. You wouldn't even of had your drop goal chance if the Argentine winger hadn't made a mistake. So stop calling for Barnes head and start calling for better from your players.

  • Comment number 88.

    Hooker "And remember - Without a referee we wouldn't have a game!"

    LOL...what the hell does this mean :) Ya refs are the reason Rugby is so popular...they definitely made rugby what it is today with all their hard work and talent! :) ha ha

    Lord....that's the dumbest quote i've seen in a while. Thanks for the chuckle Hooks

  • Comment number 89.

    @ James Matthew,

    If Barnes is so bad why don't you become a ref? And rather than criticising him you could replace him at an international standard?

    The fact is that refs get a rough deal, they have a split second to make a decision and that they will occasionally get it wrong. Saying Barnes is the worst international ref is ridiculous. Yes he has made a few mistakes, but to actually claim that cost any of the teams involved in those matches the game is ridiculous.

    Players loose games for teams, not refs!

  • Comment number 90.

    @ James Matthew,

    Without a ref you can't have a competative match. You need somebody to control the match and enforce the rules.

    So without referees you wouldn't have a game. To laugh at that fact just shows how ignorant you really are.

  • Comment number 91.

    And I thought us English were hard on our team! Scotland played well for 79 of the 80 mins. Argentina played well for 78 of 80 but the problem for Scotland is the two off times didn't coincide. I thought the try was a good one, the weather certainly was in Scotlands favour they must be used to that kind of rain. The ref did the job he was meant to do, English or not he was fair and consistent. More than can be said about some refs in this wc. You have to admit Conteponi pushed Parks onto his wrong foot, very smart play, what did he have to loose they were playing advantage anyway. Credit where credit is due. As for next week Scotland make me nervous they always do, but with a bit of luck, smart play, and discipline from the English we should beat Scotland, but, ah but.

  • Comment number 92.

    Having followed the Scottish rugby team for 40 odd years, I have come to the conclusion that the honest truth is .....we're really not very good and I'm not sure we ever have been. A few good games here and there but really we're not at the races and it might be better if we just accept we're a tier 2 team and get on with our lives.

  • Comment number 93.

    Great analysis John. I was wondering why you don't give such a detailed critical analysis of the Scotland team more often, and then I remembered ...

    I am not going to blame the Scotland team at all. Yes aspects of their play were diabolical, but they held on like grim death and they were good enough to take the win in the last few minutes.

    One simple decision cost us the game and it was Wayne Barnes failing to penalise the Argentines for being massively offside while charging down Park’s drop goal attempt.

    It wasn’t just the failure to penalise the Argentines, it was the enormous scale of the infringement. They were METRES over the offside line.

    Parks should have gotten a fair kick at goal, and didn’t. So Scotland should have gotten a penalty in front of the posts with minutes left, but thanks to Wayne Barnes they didn’t.

    We should have had that kick. We did not deserve to lose.

  • Comment number 94.

    With all the losses that you experience as a Scotland fan this one hit me the most. My poor neighbours will still hear my swear words ringing in their ears. I was left speechless with anger as on 71 minutes the tide was turning for Scottish rugby and on 72 minutes it was business as usual.

    Scotland's main weakness over the last 12 years is not having players who know how to win the big games. We start a match with a hope that we will win rather than a steadfast belief we won't lose.

    We have one man - Nathan Hines - in the team that has won anything of note in his career.

    Paterson - nothing
    Evans - nothing
    DeLuca - nothing
    Morrison - nothing
    Lamont - nothing
    Jackson - nothing
    Lawson - nohing
    Brown - 1 Guiness Premiership
    Barclay - Nothing
    Strockosh - Part of a team that choked in Finals
    Hamilton - fringes of a Leicester side in a few finals
    Cross - Nothing
    Ford - Nothing
    Jacobsen - Nothing

    They haven't won a 6 nations, a Heineken Cup, a Magners league anything.

    How do we get the winning mentality -by playing in winning sides who close out games when they need to. If the players hadn't thought 6 point gap we're home and dry 'woops was that the kick-off', we'd finally have players with the experience of winning and the confidence to take that forward.

    However, that has been thrown away in favour of 'morale victories' and 'heroic' defeats. Players can now go back to their clubs and throw games away against Treviso and Aironi and allow the perpetual cycle to continue.

    Scotland players need to show the drive and ambition to surpass themselves at the Scottish clubs and go away and learn how to win.

    Ireland have O Driscoll, O Gara, O Connell who all know how to win.

    Wales - Hook, Williams

    England - Wilkinson, Shaw, Moody, Tindall

    France had no one really against the All Blacks, blitzed them for ten then lost.

    Until we have players who know how to win, we are stuck where we are - Top 10 maybe Top 12.

    I was disgusted at how it was thrown away.

    Back to lie down in my darkened room!

  • Comment number 95.

    Hookers......yes we need refs and I am the first to protect them but at the highest level we need good refs and wayne barnes is clearly not up to the task..........Scotland were on top and AR made some crazy changes but this was a 1 point game so the ref had a massive input a clear offside at the death and a penalty would have given us the game......he seems to get caught up in the game and it pasesw him by

  • Comment number 96.

    Hookers....I agree refs are human and make errors...but once on a major stage is bad enough but understandable...but 2 so far in this WC costing both Wales & Scotland greatly is unacceptable. And he cost the all blacks in the last WC...that's 3 major cock-ups in prob the space of 4 WC games he has ref'd. That's beyond acceptable...no one has a record as bad as his and he should not get another chance to wreck someone elses WC.

  • Comment number 97.

    James Mat and the others

    This complete rubbish about Barnes has to stop. He did not cost the ABs the game in 2007...their inability to change the game plan did?

    Now before you get on your high horse this is not an out and out support post for barnes but for referees. How many of you crying foul have ever done the job. How many of you have even done the job at club level county/provincial level international level????

    Sitting in the arm chair with a beer or two with all the replays in the world it's the easiest job in the world. Well in real life it is not.

    Yes these guys are professional refs and get paid but that is not why they do this job. And as an aside Barnes in fact had a very very good career as a criminal barrister which he put on hold because he loves and wants to be involved with the game of rugby.

    I believe most if not all refs have exactly the same credo

    Lastly the rules state that the defending player can move forward as soon as the scrum half places his hands on the ball. If you slow down the action Contiponi being off side is very very marginal at best. And frankly without all of the replays I defy anyone, other than the 3 guys who were there on the pitch, could have been sure he was or was not. Barnes was given to believe he was not, the assistant refs were given to believed he was not....therefore he was not........

    The same is true of the AB/France game 07....people have made a lot of Banes not awarding penalties for the ABs for a large period of the 2nd half. Again nor did the TWO on the sidelines.....but it is the Ref getting the crap...... or are we now suggesting this was a conspiracy also???

  • Comment number 98.

    Try scoring bonus points are very unfair.

    If you're playing in a deluge [as Scotland have twice] you're not going to have a tryfest.

    If Team A play Team C in sunshine, then Team A have an unfair advantage over Team B playing the same Team C in a monsoon.

    Surely the fairest thing is simply to gauge the outcome [win, lose or draw] and then on an equal tally go to the points difference? Points difference is still dependent on weather conditions but at least you're not being robbed of group points.

    What was wrong with the old system?

  • Comment number 99.

  • Comment number 100.

    @ James Matthew,

    For starters, he did not disallow the Wales penalty, his assistant refs said it was outside the line of the posts. He went with their decision and is the one being made into the villain for it.

    2nd - The decision at the last world cup against the AB's should not be included in this arguement. And to be fair the amount of decisions that the AB's get in their favour, it amazes me that people complain when one goes against them.

    Finally, if you watch the whole match, that is the only mistake Barnes made. And at the end of the day Felipe Contepomi just showed what a whiley old pro he really is by taking advantage of the ref having his back to him.

    Not disagreeing that it was offside or that it should have been a penalty, but the ref can only give what he sees. You really ought to be asking why didn't one of his assistants flag it up!

 

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