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Mark Orlovac

Scotland ratings v Romania (65)

London - Scotland made it two wins out of two with a comfortable enough victory over Romania at Murrayfield.

Frank Hadden's men rarely looked troubled but were a little scrappy and will need to improve their execution, especially at the breakdown, for the tougher tests that lie ahead.

See what you think of my player ratings and let us know what you thought of the Scotland display.

Rory Lamont - The pick of the Scotland backs, the Sale full-back continued his fine start to the World Cup with two more tries. A constant threat. 8

Sean Lamont - Two spills early on but the Northampton man settled down to get into the game and made a few nice breaks. 7

Simon Webster - Moved into the midfield in place of Marcus Di Rollo and looked completely at home. An energetic and lively presence at outside centre and drew his man nicely to play in Hogg for his third try. 7

Rob Dewey - Quieter than his centre partner but a powerful charge in the first half led to Rory Lamont’s opener. Replaced by Hugo Southwell on 58 minutes. 5

Chris Paterson - Got Scotland on their way after chasing down his own perfectly-judged chip to score with just 70 seconds gone. Delivered another faultless kicking performance. 7

Dan Parks - The Glasgow stand-off produced an assured display and has done enough to remain Scotland’s first choice fly-half. Kicked well from hand and passing was direct and accurate. Came off on 68 minutes with his work done. 7

Mike Blair - Mixed bag for the Edinburgh number nine. Will have sleepless nights after spurning an overlap to try and go for the line himself but made amends by playing in Hogg in for his second try and also produced a lovely one-handed pick up from the floor. Replaced by Chris Cusiter on 58 minutes. 6

Gavin Kerr - Did not have the easiest of nights and had all sorts of bother trying to contain the Romanian scrum. Substituted 11 minutes into the second half. 5

Ross Ford - Found his jumpers consistently at line-out time but struggled to impose himself around the park. Replaced by Scott Lawson with 21 minutes to go. 6

Euan Murray - Failed to dominate his opposite number and was fairly anonymous elsewhere. Came off in the second half with an arm injury. 5

Nathan Hines - Some nice carries with ball in hand and worked tirelessly in defence but was not an imposing menace at the breakdown. Replaced on 52 minutes. 6

Jim Hamilton - Was Scotland’s go-to man in the line-out and was a complete nuisance on Romanian ball. One of the players that struggled to retain possession in contact. 6

Jason White - Tough as teak and was again an immense presence for his side. Tackled all night long and did plenty of the gritty stuff on the floor. 7

Allister Hogg - A superb performance from the Edinburgh open-side. He consistently got himself into the right positions and deservedly received the man-of-the-match award for his hat-trick of tries. 9

Simon Taylor - Not the most explosive of days but he showed his undoubted class with a charge down and fine offload for Hogg’s second try. 7


Replacements:

Scott Lawson - Came on for Ross Ford and made the most of his 21 minutes of action. He dived on the ball to end a period of Romanian pressure, joined the counter attack and produced a nice outside break and offload to release Rory Lamont for his second try. 7

Craig Smith - Came on for Kerr and made his presence felt. 6

Scott MacLeod - Replaced Hines and got involved from the off with a big hit. 6

Kelly Brown - Was brought on for Hogg with the game already won and did not see much of the ball. 5

Chris Cusiter - Staked his claim for the scrum-half jersey with a lively 22 minutes. Always harrying, he found a gap in the Romanian defence late on but a forward pass to Paterson ended the attack. 6

Hugo Southwell - Replaced Dewey and looked for work. Produced a nice clearing kick. 6

Nikki Walker - Took to the field with just 12 minutes left and had little chance to shine. 5


Mark Orlovac is a BBC Sport journalist based in London. He will be based in Paris for the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:49 PM on 18 Sep 2007,
  • Too Late in the Office wrote:

Disagree with the Blair vs. Cusiter comments above - Blair had some nice offloads, controlled the game well and made good choices (on the whole) and I'd have rated him higher. Cusiter played well but for the time being I'm backing Blair to make the scrum-half position his own with Cusiter a very useful understudy.

  • 2.
  • At 02:30 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Jesper wrote:

Almost totally agree there, nice to see an accurate and fairly positive rating of scotland. (Specially, after reading another amanzigly biased in other media).

Specially agree with the comment about the scotland inocence at the breakdown. Concentration and support play are major areas to improve their breakdown abilities.

As a personal appreciation, I dont agree with Blair's rating. Overrated player, Cusiter has more to offer than him. He chooses the wrong option many times, driving the forwards to isolated situations, resulting in turnover. The try that he didnt score with Kelly Brown just one metre behind him, illustrates my point.

Thanks for the post.

  • 3.
  • At 06:18 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • John Dubai wrote:

Can't complain about the final score line 6 tries, all converted, bonus point and none against.

Nathan Hines made a couple of fundamental errors in dropping the ball and knocking on therefore I would have given him 5.

Agree with Jesper re scrum half position. Mike is good but does not command position and made some wrong decisions, Cus talks to his players more and bosses/directs. Still don't think it was a forward pass to Paterson but hey ho.

What has Chris Paterson got to do to get an 8? His work rate was awesome, his kicking 100% and his support play excellent.

Big Jason put in some of the biggest hits I have seen from Scotland yet, must have felt good to do so and walk off against the team where he damaged his knee last year. No tries but tremendous work rate and did the Captains job of pulling a pack together that lost the plot a bit. My man of the match.

Southwell when he came on did some very good clearing up work when Lamont was up front trying to burst through maybe deserved a bit more than a 6

  • 4.
  • At 07:59 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Doon South wrote:

Good to see the big man White beginning to get back to his best. He was definitely much quicker the tackle and he is starting to rescue loose ball which in turn is giving Hogg more freedom to get into scoring positions

  • 5.
  • At 08:13 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Wise old owl wrote:

There is just something about the Scottish performance's in these two game's. It looks like they are just doing enough and saving themselves which on one hand you can understand but it is going to be very difficult to raise your game not just one notch but several notches will be required for the 2 games that are left. I am still worried about the centre position, you will get away with playing Webster there against Romania but any decent opposition he will be found out. Also wish I could second guess Frank's thoughts for the stand off position, if he thinks Chri P is the man I would have loked him to get as much game time there as possible. Best thing about last night was Franks interview after the game, a classic responce

  • 6.
  • At 08:41 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Tony, Milan wrote:

I really enjoyed a nice win and a more convincing display than opener against Portugal. I agree with ratings except perhaps Dewey that I thought was widely sufficient. Still to many handling errors from Scotland, I hope the team keeps focused and remembers that the tough is yet to come. I'm sure the last match with Italy will be the decider for which team gets to QF, considering that as far as strength and skill the two teams are on the same level, the win will go to the team that will make the least mistakes.
Ciao.

  • 7.
  • At 08:55 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • BartonAlan wrote:

Agree mostly, but Ally Hogg did lose possession a couple of times in the first half, Dan Parks is not the stand off we want despite his good positional kicking, Jason White had a fairly quiet game but made a couple of crucial tackles and won back ball well a couple of times. Prefer Cusiter's flair to Blair, Scott Murray must return, Paterson is either stand off or full back, not wing, and we must have Rory Lamont at full back so CP is stand off. Is Henderson available yet? He is needed. Forwards' ball retention must improve against ABs.

  • 8.
  • At 08:56 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Fancho Pantastic wrote:

Overall the ratings are good, can't understand the 7 for Sean Lamont however, he was pretty anonymous and largely ineffectual, his lack of pace showed when he was offered a few big gaps.

Rory, on the other hand, was excellent. Glad to see him retaining the ball in contact by not spinning into tackles. Great turn of pace.

I think your 7 for Webster is also harsh, he's the best player we've had at 13 for a good while; fast, tenacious, unselfish and a great eye for a gap. I'd say at least an 8, especially considering we now have at least 4 tries comig directly from his work.

Other stand out performnace was Parks, great with the boot (as always) but showed he can pass and run too, about time!

  • 9.
  • At 09:05 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • BlueinEngland wrote:

Some interesting comments here. Re Blair/Cusiter, I'm just grateful that we have such strength in depth in this position (not forgetting Lawson, who's coming on well). One gripe, though: when is Cusiter going to learn not to delay the put-in at the scrum?? He gets pinged so often for it. He always looks at the ref for help if the scrum gets a little messy. He just needs to get it in! Otherwise, a pretty good performance from both men...

  • 10.
  • At 09:39 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Robin wrote:

agree with most of the comments. I think the front fives scores are justifiably low as they lost possesion at two 5m lineout. They were also shunted back and lost the ball in a subsequent scrum 8-10m out. The rucking was also a bit limp.

Dan Parks had a good game (the pain writing that has caused me is huge)! I've spent two years on these blogs suggesting he and Di Rollo are related to FH. You are being a bit tight with CP and SW scores they were both better than Sean (legend in his own lunchtime) Lamont. Can someone point him towards the wing. His insistense on trying to be first receiver at every breakdown beggars belief.

Hope the 2nd XV enjoy their run out against the ABs!

  • 11.
  • At 09:53 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ninjaman wrote:

Er - Paterson did't score "after chasing down his own perfectly weighted kick". It was Dan Parks who kicked it.

I don't agree with the scores - if Rory Lamont was an eight then the other backs were no more than 4 or 5. He was head and shoulders above all the rest bar Ali Hogg.

  • 12.
  • At 10:09 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Gregor wrote:

Ninjaman - best you go and watch the opening couple of minutes again - Chris Paterson did make the chip himself - not Dan Parks as you think.

Otherwise, I think the Scotland performance was OK - too many silly handling errors - if they can cut them out I think they have an excellent chance to progress to QF.

  • 13.
  • At 10:11 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

Agree with you in general though it would be nice ot see Rob Dewey impose himself a bit more in midfield as besides one good break he was largely anonymous. Can't wait to go to Murrayfield on Sunday, but fear that the Scots will be thumped by the ABs unless they can retain possession around the tackle area far better and make fewer mistakes at the breakdown. On the plus side they are the pick of the Home Nations so far and I never thought I'd be saying that at this or any other stage of the tournament!!

  • 14.
  • At 10:13 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Paul Ballantyne wrote:

Did anyone else find the tv commentary last night on itv3 a little off. stating that the italy game is the crunch game and a must win. Am I right saying we have a 100% record so far and there is little game against New Zealand first. I know its a long shot but with the right focus and a bit of luck you never know!!!!!!!
Do not write the scots off yet we fought well last time round in the quarters against an unknown team called Australia!

  • 15.
  • At 10:14 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Colin wrote:

#11 Not panto season yet, but "Oh yes he did". Parks kicked the up&under initially, Romanian defence knocked on, Paterson recovered the ball, chipped, chased and scored.

Not the most clinical display at times, but good enough. Hopefully the team can raise their game for the ABs, and hopefully there aren't too many aches and pains to overcome before then.

I wonder if Sean Lamont is getting a game on reputation at the moment? He really didn't do much from what I saw of the game (highlights program on STV.)

  • 16.
  • At 10:16 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • thistleman wrote:

Overall I was very happy with the performance Regarding the markings though I think you are being a bit generous to the front five . We lost 4 scrums against the head which if it happens versus the AB's we will get absolutely pulverised . Also lost far too much turnover ball in the rucks . As Sean Fitzpatick said on the TV we just werent clearing out the ruck and making the ball ours . Normally thats one of our strengths so hopefully it was just a blip. On the plus nice to see the ball being moved quickly and the backs penetrating the gain line . 6 excellent tries so cant all be bad . Actually I'm getting quite optimistic that we can win a quarter final against opponents from France's group.

  • 17.
  • At 10:16 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

Not sure what game you were watching Ninjaman, but it was Paterson who chipped ahead for himself to score!

  • 18.
  • At 10:27 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alasdair wrote:

Good performance by Scotland!

Thought parks had a good game, whenever we seemed to be loosing our flow he would deliver an out of hand kick that 9 times out of 10 found touch. Calmed the forwards down and gave us another option.

Also thought lawson had a brilliant 20mins!

Hines was dodgy though, a few to many dropped balls and knock ons.

It's good to see an evaluation that I can recognise as being representative of the game I saw last night. Whilst none of the home nations are performing at their best, it is disappointing to read elsewhere reports which seem to seek to shed a better light on one country's performances by denigrating those of its peers.

However, as regards Scotland, I too would like to see Chris Cusiter at Scrum Half as he does create a buzz that the other Scrum Halfs don't. I am less concerned about the Fly Half position than the Outside Centre. Simon Webster is undoubtedly talented and has worked hard to develop his game but I'm afraid he doesn't appear to be able to convert this into a cutting edge that can create scoring opportunities. In this respect I believe that Hugo Southwell is a better option both in respect of defence and attack and, on past performance, deserves to be given the chance to show exactly what he is capable of delivering.

The forwards are capable of delivering a solid platform and the backs are capable of using the ball to good effect. All that is needed now (!)is to reduce the errors and recover the appetite for recovering and retaining the ball and, who knows, we might all be in for a surprise.

  • 20.
  • At 10:31 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • ContinentalOp wrote:

I think the 5 for E Murray is a bit harsh. The Romanians have forward power that was enought to seriously trouble Italy and I thought our front 5 eclipsed them quite comfortably. Sean Fitz's analysis that Murray lost his focus in the scrum and concentrated on destroying the Romanian loose head seemed pretty spot on. Scotland have not had a really strong 3 for decades and Murray is the cornerstone of a hefty pack.

  • 21.
  • At 10:37 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alastair wrote:

Er - Paterson did score "after chasing down his own perfectly weighted kick". It was Dan Parks who kicked the up and under before CP gathered, chipped ahead and then scored.
Good performance in patches - I agree it's the breakdown that must be concentrated on for the ABs - hopefully the quality of Sunday's opposition will inspire them to do a lot better. They often raise their game for the big ones...

  • 22.
  • At 10:44 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Mark Orlovac wrote:

Hi all, thanks very much for your comments.
Interesting debate about the scrum-half jersey. If you are a Scotland fan, it must be nice to have such strength in depth. Especially when you throw Gloucester's Rory Lawson into the mix. I just thought Cusiter offered more when he came on than Blair did and gave real bite and direction.

Fancho Pantastic, I take your point about Webster. He really was a handful and seemed to make something happen everytime he got the ball - I promise not to be so hard on him in the future!

Re: The Ninjaman, I thought at the time Paterson kicked through for his own try and after a bit of digging around this morning, am certain he did. The official World Cup website backs me up and there is also a picture on http://worldcup.planet-rugby.com/Story/0,21043,13175_2739040,00.html which shows him doing so. I am more than happy to hold my hands up if I'm mistaken though.

Just as an aside, what are your views as to what Frank Hadden should do with the starting line-up for the New Zealand game? The Scots face a quick turnaround while the All Blacks have had a nice break, but would you like to see a full-strength side give the World Cup favourites a real go on home turf? Or is it more important to keep the powder dry for the vital game with Italy on 29 September?

  • 23.
  • At 10:59 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I think the assesment of Scotland is fair enough.

Webster at 13 offered us more - but he is still a bit light weight and does lose the ball in contact - maybe too risky v NZ.

I'd be happy with Henderson and Webster though.

Would still like to see what Sean Lamont or Hugo Southwell can offer at 13 though.

Parks had a good game, his confidence is up which is a relief. Still unsure of Hadden's thinking for #10. Paterson needs more time at 10.

Our play at the break down and in the loose was a concern. Too many knock-ons & turnovers. But there is time to work on this. Scotland have stepped up a level which at least shows we are heading in the right direction.

Very important that we fully compete with the All Blacks. They may well get a 20-30 point victory but if we demonstrate that we've got the ability to hurt them and make life difficult our confidence will grow and Italy will be concerned.
We need to make them worried about us - if Italy try to force things against us, are anxious we'll capitalise.

  • 24.
  • At 11:00 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • BartonAlan wrote:

Full strength side please! We need to know how good (or bad) we are, that will be a good barometer.

  • 25.
  • At 11:01 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alastair wrote:

I'd say play your strongest side for NZ and then beat Italy with a 2nd XV! Give it a go...

  • 26.
  • At 11:03 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Audrey wrote:

I was at the game last night, and was dissapointed with the sometimes scrappy display, especially passing, and some set pieces. however, was pleased to see them improve over the course of the game.

I have been impressed with Dan Parks these last few games, something I never thought I would say, and to be honest, I liked him at ten and Paterson at 11. It worked for me. Nice to see White tackling like his normal self. I think we have to gain confidence from our good defence, but Italy and the All Blacks will grab any opportunity we give them - our possession of the ball needs to be tighter.

I would happily put out a second team against the All Blacks if it meant getting into the quarter finals. In fact I'll be disappointed if it meant some key players got injured and we lost the Italy game.

  • 27.
  • At 11:05 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alastair wrote:

I'd say play your strongest side for NZ and then beat Italy with a 2nd XV! Give it a go...

  • 28.
  • At 11:06 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Sandy Martin wrote:

I agree with the ratings and with most points raised.

With regard to the "who should start at scrum half" question, I personally believe both players have certain qualities and deserve to start games. But as stated above Cusiter does tend to delay the put in sometimes....lets just get on with it.

I am disapointed at the lack of support that Scotland have recieved from the media. I know stats dont count for much but Scotland have the 4th highest points tally and have the 2nd best defensive record after South Africa. Lets get behind the team.

My critical points would be that we need to be more aggressive at the break down and start throwing our weight around a bit more. Add that to the display our backs gave last night, we could be on to a winner!

Definatley the best performance by a Northern Hemishpere side yet and getting more confident that we could easily challenge for a semi final spot.

First team all the way against the All Blacks, they've had it too easy so far and could lack in concentration.

  • 29.
  • At 11:09 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • rick wrote:

a good performance last night but lots to work on at ruck time. I thought Parks played well and Webster offered more of a cutting edge that those who came before him.

Anyone with a slightest of niggles should be unavailable for the New Zealand match, even if that means Rory Lamont declaring a cracked nail.

  • 30.
  • At 11:13 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

I'd far rather see Scotland send out a full strength side and really have a go at the ABs on Sunday as Hadden is really going to learn nothing by putting out a side to simply make up the numbers. You never know if the weather in Edinburgh is horrid on the day and Scotland get some early momentum they could even cause a few problems. That said my surname is a give away so I'd love to see Hugo Southwell picked...

  • 31.
  • At 11:13 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

- Scotland team v NZ

My concern for Scotland is not about keeping the powder dry but more about keeping our squad as fresh as possible.
The sequence of fixtures is not helpful for Scotland. Ideally I'd have us play Portugal, NZ, Romania then Italy. That way we could have happily played our strongest team against both NZ and Italy.

we don't have long inbetween now and NZ and then only until Italy. They will have 9 days.

We can be optimistic about playing NZ but we can't expect to go anywhere in the world cup if we aren't realistic at the same time.

I think we have to rest a few key players - Taylor, White - maybe Sean Lamont. Although it looks like Hogg got a knock v Romania.

  • 32.
  • At 11:20 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • dxd wrote:

Concerning New Zealand, my opinion is that we should play our strongest 15. Which for me, would be the backline that started against Romania. Webster/Dewey is the best centre pairing. And much as I've yearned for Patterson at 10 in the past, I think Parks has put in some great performances and deserves to start.

Love R Lamont's spin out of tackles move, everyone should do it!

  • 33.
  • At 11:22 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • strongo wrote:

i'm a scotland fan, but i'm realistic. the ABs seem faster, stronger and sharper than anyone (though RSA are impressing). Lets be honest to BEAT a team like that we don't simply need to have a great game, the ABs need to have a bad one, which is even more unlikely considering their deapth! National pride aside, the best we can hope for is a bonus point, which would be an achievment. lets not risk injuries at this stage. if (when?) we beat italy, we get either Argentina or France and i'd fancy us going all out then rather that now!

  • 34.
  • At 11:24 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Smutley wrote:

I don't agree with putting out a 2nd XV against NZ: a negative mindset which might carry over to the Italy game.

Problem areas are still 1, 10 and 13; thankfully Hogg is coming back into form at 7.

IMO think CP's kicking from hand is too slow to play at 10 on Sunday. England showed against the Boks what can happen against top class opposition if you can't clear quickly and effectively.

15 R Lamont
14 Paterson (main source of points)
13 Southwell (good hands, good defence, monster left hoof)
12 Henderson
11 Webster
10 Parks
9 Cusiter
8 Taylor
7 Hogg
6 White
5 Hines
4 Hamilton
3 E Murray
2 Ford
1 Kerr

Reps: Smith, S Lawson, S Murray, Brown, Dewey, Walker

  • 35.
  • At 11:37 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Ieuan Johns wrote:

On the plus side they are the pick of the Home Nations so far and I never thought I'd be saying that at this or any other stage of the tournament!!


-----------


How exactly? They have played two teams who would struggle to live with any pro side in the UK.

Wales were equally as adept against a Canada side who are much better than Romania and even in defeat looked like they had enough to seriously worry a team like Australia were it not for two lapses late in the first half.

Let's see how well Scotland's performances add up aftr a stuffing against NZ and a seriously could swing either way game agaisnt Italy.

  • 36.
  • At 11:44 AM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

Not a lot to add to whats already been said apart from some more praise for Webster.

He is a very effective player and rarely makes mistakes. He always seems to make ground, is deceptively quick, capable of slicing through a defence and has safe hands.

  • 37.
  • At 12:00 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

On the NZ game I'd start with the 1st 15, give em a fright (hopefully) and then make subs early.

Nice to see a bit of buzz about Scotland again. Hopefully we can beat Italy and then stand an excellent chance of making the semis, which is more than any of the other home nations.

  • 38.
  • At 12:04 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Mal wrote:

Well the improvement graph is definitely pointing upwards. Nice to see the debate raging about the backs. The short injury list and having such talent on the bench is great for competition. I was so excited when FH announced this team I nearly wet myself. He finally has options and is absolutely right to pick the best team to expose the opponent's weaknesses rather than the best 15 positionally - this will be ever more important against the better teams.

For all the moaning and groaning I myself directed at the tv last night, I never once felt the opposition were capable of scoring. Let's not forget the zero in the scoreline against a team that should have triumphed against Italy. Job done.

Come on boys. Turn it up another notch and march on.

  • 39.
  • At 12:13 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • moohoo wrote:

can't beleive this talk about sean not being good enough - with smutley (#34)dropping him from his choice squad - he's been scotland's most dangerous back for the last two or three years. he is quality and will find form

  • 40.
  • At 12:14 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alastair wrote:

Let's see how well Scotland's performances add up aftr a stuffing against NZ and a seriously could swing either way game agaisnt Italy.


-------------------------

Is this a hope? How strange. Ieuan must be nervous about Wales' meeting with Fiji to guarantee their place.

  • 41.
  • At 12:24 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Mal wrote:

Oh, and just to add, 1st choice team on Sunday please. The IRB stung me £300 for a pair of tickets so I want to see a proper match. For all the discussion, I don't think FH is going to let down 50k+ paying fans with long memories.

I'd be happy with taking a rain check on the scoreline at half time and making subs if past the point of no return.

At a guess I'd say CC & CP will play 9 & 10 because I believe (1) they're a better choice for this game and (2) MB & DP will be rested for Italy.

  • 42.
  • At 12:26 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Ruaraidh Ferguson wrote:

The Italy game is always going to be the crunch game, we need to give ourselves the best chance of winning. We have never yet beaten the All Blacks do you really think it is going to happen this time?
Even if we do win it probably makes no difference as it is impossible to guess who will have the top two positions between France/Argentina and Ireland.
Rest the top players, lets not take the chance of having the Lamonts, Patterson or Jason White injured, we don't have cover for these type of players.

  • 43.
  • At 12:36 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Mal wrote:

Oh, and just to add, 1st choice team on Sunday please. The IRB stung me £300 for a pair of tickets so I want to see a proper match. For all the discussion, I don't think FH is going to let down 50k+ paying fans with long memories.

I'd be happy with taking a rain check on the scoreline at half time and making subs if past the point of no return.

At a guess I'd say CC & CP will play 9 & 10 because I believe (1) they're a better choice for this game and (2) MB & DP will be rested for Italy.

  • 44.
  • At 12:44 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

I think I agree with most of the comment's posted about the player rankings, though I do not rate Paterson as a 10 keep him at 11/14 because of his kicking ability to try and keep our score board ticking over, if you look at the way the back line were functioning in defense when Parks was on at 10 we were reasonably solid, then when Parks went off and Paterson went to 10 the defence seemed to fall apart.

I would keep the team at full strength team for the NZ game, though bring in a fit Henderson to 12 and keep Webster at 13 and have Dewey on the bench incase of injury to either Henderson or Webster, keep the front 8 the same they seem to be functioning well as a unit, though the whole team need to work on the ball retention especially in the the tackle there were far to many turnovers last night and to many spilled balls in the tackle. We need to up our game agains NZ and maintain it for the Italy game and then we can think about a possible QF agains France, Argentina or Ireland. But hey who am i to comment.

  • 45.
  • At 12:59 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Stuartey wrote:

#35 - Ieuan - Canada 14th in the rankings, romania 15th - get a grip. Getting a bit repetitive the old 'could have won' mantra. Wales ceased to be a major player in world rugby in the early 80's - get over it.

  • 46.
  • At 01:01 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • NRVD wrote:

Blair - slow at the breakdown.
Team - too many schoolboy errors, but good to see plenty of effort and heart.

  • 47.
  • At 01:06 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Jonathan Recaldin wrote:

#44 - I agree Paterson's got to be in the team somewhere, but he's not fast enough to be an International Test playing Winger. Either Full - Back or Wing for Paterson.

Stick Southwell as a Utility Sub as he can cover centre or Full - Back.

Rory Lamont is a great Full - Back too, but if we need Paterson in the team and Parks too, given his recent improvement in form, then he could move to wing to let Paterson play 15, as we all know Paterson is an accomplished Full - Back too.

#30 - Ieuan Evans - Stop being such a WUM. Wales - fufilling expectations? Please! You struggled to beat Canada before they tired and you lost to Australia. At least we know our limitations. Italy have been having a schocker so far, so I pray to God, cross my fingers and touch wood that their dire form continues.

  • 48.
  • At 01:27 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

#46 Well fair point on Paterson stick him at 15 move R Lamont to wing and Southwell on the bench as cover. Just feel Paterson is very weak in defence and could end up being a liability to the national team but we need him for the boot! Bring it on!!!!

  • 49.
  • At 02:27 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • glennjimin wrote:

Is it just me or is everyone giving Simon Taylor an easy ride. He hasn't been at his best for a while now. Kelly Brown really worked well on the floor when he came on, maybe start him at 7 and move Hogg to 8.

PS has to be 1st XV against NZ, an 80 point thrashing wont do us any good at all

  • 50.
  • At 02:32 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

#44 - You only have to look at the current England side to see how dangerous it is keep players in the side based on previous reputation rather than current form. If Lamont is not on top of his game now (and he clearly isn't) then Hadden should not give him time in the World Cup to rediscover it (perhaps it helps their being related?!)

  • 51.
  • At 02:57 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Nick Southwell wrote:

Sorry that should have been #39 (see comment #50)

  • 52.
  • At 03:05 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

#50 Nick I dont think you understood my comments i was meaning that i didn't rate Paterson, the only reason he was there was for his kicking, i do however rate the Lamont brothers yeah Sean didn't have he best game last night but he is far more of an asset than Paterson is in an attacking and defence situation. As the for the related thing i didn't know about that until last night, but you cant blame Hadden for picking them as the are both great plaers and have the ability to get the team going with a single break of the line!

#49 Simon Taylor again didnt have his greatest game last night but is still a class player and the type of player that has the ability to turn a game round, Kelly Brown had a good run when coming on last night but still has a bit of work to do to force his way into the starting xv.

  • 53.
  • At 03:13 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

#50 Nick I dont think you understood my comments i was meaning that i didn't rate Paterson, the only reason he was there was for his kicking, i do however rate the Lamont brothers yeah Sean didn't have he best game last night but he is far more of an asset than Paterson is in an attacking and defence situation. As the for the related thing i didn't know about that until last night, but you cant blame Hadden for picking them as the are both great plaers and have the ability to get the team going with a single break of the line.

Totaly agree with you in relation to England they have been dismal this time they are going to be lucky to qualify for the QF at this rate with them being 4 points behind Tonga and 5 behind SA then i think that Tonga will take second spot in that group and i think that England need to cut alot of their dead wood out of their squad and start building their way towards RWC 2011.

#49 Simon Taylor again didnt have his greatest game last night but is still a class player and the type of player that has the ability to turn a game round, Kelly Brown had a good run when coming on last night but still has a bit of work to do to force his way into the starting xv.

  • 54.
  • At 03:20 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

Sorry Nick i got stuck into you in a reply to post #50

I have also done the same with a comment i posted #48 refers to #46 when it should have been #47

Sorry to anyone who may have been offended.

  • 55.
  • At 03:23 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • The Ponto wrote:

#51 appologies my comment was refering to Nicks comments to that i though was my post appologies Nick.

  • 56.
  • At 04:22 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Scott S wrote:

I never thought you'd here me say "Nice Kick Dan"

  • 57.
  • At 04:55 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Wee man wrote:

Nice to see so many scottish supporters opting for a full strength side against NZ. Anything else would be cowardice on FH's part. If he were to select a second string side to face the World's No1 team, he would be letting the scottish public down so bad that Gareth Jenkins would be up in the ratings. It would be like saying "we're Scotland, we'll take on any team, except NZ cos they're too good, and we're not good enough" , disgraceful!

Paterson is rubbish in open play. He's weak in the tackle, a great boot, but no pace. Even old man Denis Hickie caught him with a 10 metre head start in the 6Ns. Train up a kicker that can run too.

Scotland's biggest threat is Rory Lamont.

When the ABs come to town, then it doesn't matter what team take the field. It's going to be a big points difference, so that will cancel out Scotland's wins over the minnows, Italy will thrash Portugal, then beat Scotland to go through and the Scotland forwards can get back home early doors to get back on the pies.

  • 58.
  • At 05:42 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • anysparechange wrote:

well, it's a much more pleasant situation to be in these days isn't it? we actually have some useful players.

we have a dilemma at centre and scrum half. Dewey is very powerful and can penetrate the line but so can Webster with pace and guile, Henderson scored a hat trick against the irish and is a great tackler and Southwell is an accomplished all rounder in my opinion. after watching last night, I'd go with Henderson and Webster, we'll need a solid defensive presence at 12 from Henderson and some invention when passing it out to 13, although I am concerned that we're still not hitting the ball at pace from depth. we must do this against NZ. Dewey could be brought on if we struggle and we can use his size in attack but he has not performed to the potential he showed last season.

Scrum half - er, Blair seems to be favoured by Hadden but for me, he can be a little greedy. he is immensely talented but sometimes tries to be too fancy. although, he did make a great tackle last night and was tenacious throughout. Cusiter, I am a fan of. he gets the ball moving well and is always prompt to the break down.

the break down is my biggest concern for sunday. we simply cannot give NZ an inch as they will turn us over everytime if we do not stand up to them and be a little dirty, sorry, abrasive. I can see NZ conceding a few penalties here though which is why Paterson has to start... but not at 10. Parks deserves to start at 10. his positional kicking is nothing short of exceptional and he seems to have gained some confidence and more importantly, Hadden and his team mates believe in him. he did not make one handling error last night and moved the ball nicely into the centres.

I find the question regarding a weakened side absolutely ludicrous. of course we should field our strongest side. if we do make it to the QF, we need all the game experience we can get and who better than against NZ? if we can give NZ a decent contest and show we are no longer the whipping boys, then we can ask questions of whoever we encounter thereafter. we have been very quiet while all the other home nations sides have been sounding off to the media over broken fingernails and twinging shoulders every three hours. we have played two games against admittedly weak opposition and performed admirably, not perfectly but admirably. however, you can only play against who is in front of you. yes, we face an enormous test but talk of damage limitation is inherently defeatist and in my mind, rugby suicide, against the likes of the All Blacks.

I really think we can give Henry's boys one a hell of a shock.

  • 59.
  • At 09:54 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Jon wrote:

Someone early on said Webster would be found out against decent opposition at centre... the last time he played centre was when he cam on againstthe grand slam winning All Blacks in November 2005 and scored a try.

Sean Lamont - had a 5h1te game last night - tries hard but it wasn't happening. Someone said best player over last 2 years???? Had a stormer against France in 2006 then did nothing to the point of being dropped for Webster who was man in charge of the jersey until injury.

Rory Lamont - doing veru well, made the jersey his own, good work fella.

In the forwards - Hines had a bad game... for him, but would still play him against NZ & Italy.

White, Hogg, Taylor, Webster, Paterson, R. Lamont, Hines and Ford would all be shu-ins for me. I feel that these may be the "8" rested for New Zealand.

Blair / Cusiter / Lawson - 3 of the top 4 scrum halves in the UK (Peel being the other), and .... gotta be a good selection headache

Dewey unfortunately is looking like a 1 trick pony - batter down the middle and hope I get through.

All Blacks invincible - try tellin that to the Aussies who beat them a few weeks ago, or the Boks who pushed them close. A rainy night in Edinburgh and eradication of silly handling errors who knows??

Should play our strongest team in every game, players are as likely to get injured against weaker opposition or in training as in games - the mentak scars could be deeper is a weekened side is put out.

  • 60.
  • At 10:26 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Alan Melville wrote:

Have to agree. Full strength side or don't bother turning up. Cut out the silly mistakes, get stuck in and remind the ABs that they're human same as everyone else. Who knows, the rain may come down, the ball may bounce our way, McCaw might get struck by lightning. I don't think we're going to win the whole thing, but I got 66-1 against us making the final and frankly I'd rather we meet Australia than SA in the semis, and so would my wallet.

  • 61.
  • At 11:20 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Martin Johnston wrote:

We have to play our strongest team against the ABs. To do otherwise would be folly - morale would go down if we got a hiding. In any case - and this may be sacrelege to some - it's about time that some of the NH teams stopped giving them so much respect - it's fine respecting them but it should not be to the extent that we are writing off the match before we play it.

Take a leaf out of the national football team's book - they had belief when everyone doubted them - it's about time our rugby team did the same.

  • 62.
  • At 06:46 AM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Steve D wrote:

I'm surprised (pleasantly) to see so few negative comments about the game last night. Whilst the scoreline seems to show a comfortable win, it belies what really unfolded on the field.
I was, personally, very disheartened by Scotland. True, they conceded no tries. But their opposition had almost no ambition (and certainly little ability) in the backs. And whilst the Romanian forwards were stuffy and tough, with reasonably well-organised set pieces, they struggled to really string more than two or three phases together. That means scores will always be hard to come by.
Unfortunately, the shortcomings of the opposition merely serve to highlight how much Scotland laboured to get what they did.
Knock-ons and turnovers (turnovers against Romania! The ABs are coming for goodness sake!) were far too frequent. Scotland looked like a team that had just met, trying to force offloads to reach a rhythm which never came. Worryingly, they also struggled several times to retain their own lineout (though admittedly nicked a few Romanian throws) and even lost the ball twice in the scrums, one a clear tighthead, the other a wheel and steal.
Parks' kicking was pretty good, Blair and Cusiter were both OK overall...but my biggest concern in the backs was their limited ability to break through the Romanian line from set play or broken play. Yes, Rory Lamont made some busts, and Dewey had a good break or two. But these guys are both over 100kgs, and pros, so if they werent making a couple of breaks at their size then Scotland might as well give up. Where was the guile? Where was the ambition? Several times after the ball was turned over (well done), Scottish players opted to boot the ball aimlessly downfield. I could have cried! How about linking with the other backs, keeping things in hand, retaining possession. Clearly they had been instructed to play in the Romanian half, but when it became apparent that nobody could be arsed chasing the kicks (except perhaps Hogg), Jason White should have had a word to change the tactics (sorry Jason - fellow Aberdonian and all. Maybe it was Hadden's fault).
Scotland now need to play their full-strength side against NZ, because otherwise they will be humiliated. This is the World Cup, not some friendly tour to blood youngsters. If they dont front up against the ABs, then play the same (injuries permitting) team against Italy, they will be asking for trouble. A scrappy performance against Italy will lead to defeat. This team needs to get some game time together, or England will not be the only team returning home sooner than they had hoped.
Knowing Scotland they will probably up their performance against NZ. But good teams play well whoever their opposition is. NZ looked ominously good against Portugal with double the score that Scotland put on Romania. Lets all pray the Scots steel themselves and find another level.

  • 63.
  • At 08:44 AM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • John L wrote:

For all those who are putting in a case for the introduction of Cusiter back into the scrum half position i feel you need to recognise what he too is prone to...

Remember Italy...who was it who threw 2 intercept passes...Cusiter

He delays at the scrum...and or puts the ball in clearly favouring us...both of these result in the ref taking action against us. Blair's pass may currenltly seem slow and certainly is by his standards, but it is faster than Cusiters.

Whilst Blair may choose the wrong option...at least he doesn't lose complete concentration and throw forward passes in a 2v1 situation (under no pressure) and throwing wildly looping passes possibly resulting in interception tries.

Also Blair has a much better covering tackle than Cusiter, and this has been shown over the past few games...Blair doesn't want to make a mistake as he'll get hammered for it, yet if he had scored the try, which was about 5cm away no one would even mention the missed overlap (yes, it happened, but maybe he's just been unlucky)

Oh and he did make a few breakaways last game, excellent pick ups from the floor and helped set up a couple of tries.

On the overall team performace...we really don't create enoough...Patterson seems to always run into trouble, but always gets us the 3 points...people slating off S.Lamont...he is the sort of player we will need against Italy, a stong buising player, yes he was rubbish at the weekend, but that means he hopefully will only get better.

Only problem is full team on Sunday?

If we do and some get injured that could be the end of the W.Cup by losing to Italy...they don't look good at the moment, points difference will not count for anything and perhaps resting some key, injury prone players could help us beat italy...

  • 64.
  • At 12:22 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Chris T wrote:

Somehow I just can't imagine a debate over whether McGeechan and Telfer in the early 90's should hide their top boys on the bench so the all blacks didn't hurt them! We should be able to take on the might of italy even if deprived of say Jason W, Mossie or Simon 'Sicknote' Taylor. Plus if we beat the AB's we won't NEED to beat italy ;-)
A 90 point drubbing will do morale no good at all - full strength side please frank.

  • 65.
  • At 04:32 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • M M-S wrote:

Cuister Verses Blair

Cuister is a good player but a confidence player who seems to go in to his shell and make bad decissions after a few hard hits (think Italy this year). Oppsition teams know this and shake him up early with a few big, hard hits. Mike Blair takes the hits and gives them out.Blair also seems at time to vary his game more and keeps the opposition teams guessing, this allows Cuister to come on after an hour with the opposition hopefuly both mentally and physically finished.

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