Scotland player ratings

  • Phil Harlow - BBC Sport journalist
  • 24 Feb 07, 03:28 PM

p_harlow_6666.gifsco_badge.gifScotland self-destructed at Murrayfield on Saturday, gifting Italy three tries in the first seven minutes as the visitors gained their first ever away victory in the Six Nations.

See if you agree with my ratings.

Southwell - 5: Generally strong under the up-and-under, but kicking from hand was aimless. Got into the game with ball in hand during the second half.

Lamont - 7: Scotland's most effective player at Murrayfield, by a considerable distance. Always crossed the gain-line, and made several telling breaks right through the middle. One black mark was the silly penalty - and extra 10m - he gave away with 10 minutes to go.

Di Rollo - 5: Looked for work and made a couple of half breaks without quite finding the gaps he was looking for. Gave nothing away in defence.

Dewey - 6: His bulk and running ability gave Italy's midfield problems throughout, although he was lucky to grab his third Test try after stopping in his tracks before the whistle.

Paterson - 6: Took his try superbly, spotting the mismatch and bursting through without a finger being laid on him. But will he lay awake at night rueing his decision not to kick for goal on several occasions?

Godman - 5: Starts don't come much worse than the one he made, seeing Mauro Bergamasco charge down his kick to score within 20 seconds of kick-off. Was still willing to try things afterwards, but the damage was done.

Cusiter - 4: A nightmare for the scrum-half. Gifted 14 points to Italy with interceptions, with his long, telegraphed pass for Italy's third try particularly ill-advised. His service was solid and, admirably, he did not hide, but ended the game still in the red.

Kerr - 5: Did his fair share of work in the tight, but could not get on top of the Italian forwards. Largely anonymous in the loose.

Hall - 6: The line-out was one area of the Scotland performance which was difficult to find too much fault with, at least while he was on the field. Noticeably strong defence around the fringes too.

E Murray - 5: The scrum was generally solid, although the Italians got on top in the second half. Another Scot who was a stranger to the ball in the open.

Hines - 5: Won his fair share of line-out ball, and got through a lot of graft but part of an ultimately well-beaten pack.

S Murray - 6: Gave his usual excellent display in the line-out, but struggled to make any sort of impact in the loose. His record-equalling cap will not be one he looks back on especially fondly.

Taylor - 5: His first-half sin-binning did his side few favours as they tried to battle back into the match. A couple of glimpses of his class with ball in hand, but all too quiet overall.

Callam - 6: Highly impressive as a ball carrier before limping off after 50 minutes. An encouraging performance but Scotland could have done with him sticking around.

Brown - 5: Found himself largely restricted to defensive duties, as his pack went backwards. Not his best game for Scotland.


Ford - 5: Came on for Hall at hooker, but unable to make much of an impact.

Hogg - 5: One clever kick into space showed his rugby brain, but an unforgivable mistake from an Italian kick-off put his side under real pressure as time ran out.

Lawson - 5: Came on for Cuister and tried to provide some momentum, but the match was pretty much lost by then.

Walker - 4 Came on with 20 minutes to go with Scotland looking for something special, but an embarrassing knock-on from a tap penalty with his first touch was his most noteworthy contribution.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:08 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Stuart Martin wrote:

Cusiter, 0 As a scrum half he is slow at passing the ball on and doesn't have his finger on the pulse of the game. And the less said about his ball handling the better!!

  • 2.
  • At 05:29 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • GiusCo wrote:

Think it's time to concede Italy the full passport to this game and it's shameful again you BBC don't report their ratings, well above the 7 for almost all of players. Also suggest enrolling one of their rugby journalist for this blog, we need and like to know ALL of our contestants. Sorry for Scots but the game can't be played when all an institution seems collapsing (migration, coverage, audience).

  • 3.
  • At 05:57 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • andyw wrote:

I have been a scotland fan all of my 25 and odd years. I have never been as shocked at a scotland performance as I was today. We were not acting as a team; for once Paterson did not lead, Cusiter needs a rest, Godman was awful and the pack could not cope with a brilliant Italian front five. Credit to Italy, from a good 2nd half against England, they maintained pace to Murrayfield today and showed the rest of the six nations crowd just what they can do. Scotland need to re-group and seriously look at what it means to wear the shirt and think more before they act - come on guys, you can play better than that - please let me see some brilliance as we saw in the last six nations.

  • 4.
  • At 06:01 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Chrisski wrote:

all the team is rated 0! shocking performance! media didnt help by talking about Scotlands winning record at Murrayfield proir to the game! must ahve been an omen!!

  • 5.
  • At 06:18 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Allyff wrote:

Shocking!! Chris Cusiter had a nightmare - or is it that he's not up to playing at this level?

Having been at the game and watched the aimless wandering around the pitch of some of the players they need to take a long hard look at themselves!

  • 6.
  • At 06:41 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

We miss Jason White, Paterson is too aloof to be captain. We needed someone to rally the guys after the first try but that didn't happen and everybody stood around shocked. Perhaps Scott Murray should captain?

Cusiter hasn't played well at all this Six Nations, why Rory Lawson isn't starting I don't know. Mike Blair surely is first choice when he comes back.

Godman had one good moment, but even then it was a forward pass. He doesn't look confident at this level. Paterson surely on this performance needs to be moved to fly-half?

Watching the Ireland game shows how lacking we are in midfield. If they had the same amount of posession and territory they would have scored 6 or 7 tries.

Fair play to Italy, they defended excellently, destroyed our scrum and fully deserved their win.

  • 7.
  • At 06:53 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Johnnie Balfour wrote:

Oh dear - what a disgrace! Beaten by 20 points at home by a country
that shouldn't have had a sniff but were gifted 3 easy tries by half
backs that didn't wake up until 10 minutes into the match and by a
captain not willing to kick at goal when he has the best record in world

  • 8.
  • At 07:30 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • DC wrote:

Kelly Brown deserved more than a 5 he was out on the wing waiting for a cross kick but no one had the vision to see it. Get patterson at 10 and Webster at 11 or at 13. Mikey blair is better than cusiter everytime.

  • 9.
  • At 07:33 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Martin Johnston wrote:

I wouldn't give Cusiter 4 - he is lucky to even get a zero in my opinion - probably played his worst game for Scotland.

Also Godman looks out of his depth - Paterson needs to play at fly-half and take a bit more responsibility for how we play the game.

Also I felt we missed James Hamilton in the front 5 - he may not be the fastest around but he takes a lot of stopping when he carries the ball.

  • 10.
  • At 07:46 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • James wrote:

A win well deserved by Italy. The Italians are far from a bad side, and they're bound to get better as their experience in the competition grows.

Maybe the Welsh will be a bit nervous?

  • 11.
  • At 08:00 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Roy Allen wrote:

Where are the Italy ratings? Italy are the rising force in international rugby, the only country threatening the closed shop of the elite. Its about time they got the respect they deserve.
Scotland learned that to their cost today.

  • 12.
  • At 08:03 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Robbie wrote:

I have to admit, I nearly walked out of the stadium after 10 minutes. I've never seen such a desperate start to a game in my life - watching all levels of rugby. Cusiter needs to re-find his spark he had in his first season at international level. Godman - simply doesn't have it. We've been booing off stand-offs when they've been substituted for to long now. Paterson MUST play 10 next game.

Lineout worked well but scrum was destroyed. Don't care how 'good' the italian front 5 is - you shouldn't get pushed off your own ball 2 or 3 times.

That's my rant - feel better now. Well done Ireland.

  • 13.
  • At 08:11 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Allan Coulter wrote:

In a strange way I'm actually pleased this has happened. The over reliance on the Edinburgh team (11 at one point) results in a poor team. There needs to be wholesale changes in the team. Godman doesn't know how to control a game, at times a headless chicken. If anybody can tell me Di Rollo has done for the past 3 years then please let me know. Glasgow have a flair team in the Magners league, and this should be rewarded at the international level.

In Lawson, Parks, Morrison, Rory Lamont
Out Cusiter, Godman, Di Rollo, Southwell.

  • 14.
  • At 08:31 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Bob Duncer wrote:

Scotland do not work hard enough to get good performances at this level. Until the players put in the effort and hours required in the gym we will be trashed by any team with a bit of weight.

WILL NOT WATCH SCOTLAND AGAIN, this was the worst ever and at 40 I've just had enough.

  • 15.
  • At 08:47 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Allan Coulter wrote:

In a strange way I'm actually pleased this has happened. The over reliance on the Edinburgh team (11 at one point) results in a poor team. There needs to be wholesale changes in the team. Godman doesn't know how to control a game, at times a headless chicken. If anybody can tell me Di Rollo has done for the past 3 years then please let me know. Glasgow have a flair team in the Magners league, and this should be rewarded at the international level.

In Lawson, Parks, Morrison, Rory Lamont
Out Cusiter, Godman, Di Rollo, Southwell.

  • 16.
  • At 09:03 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • alessandro troncon wrote:

Scotland were absolute

G A R B A G G I O!!!!!!

What a waste of 80 quid. Edinburgh lose Stroker, Dewey & Taylor, now Scotland lose against Italy. You won't be seeing me at Murrayfield in the near future.

Those guys need to have a good look at themselves - Hadden wasn't on the pitch - those 15 muppets were. They are the individuals that need to wake up and play the game they are being paid to play or else it's goodbye Scottish Rugby.

Paterson has to start at FH, Blair needs to fix his shoulder or Cusiter needs to eat some Ready Brek and speed up his game and Hadden needs to go back to teaching.

  • 17.
  • At 09:08 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • je wrote:

Thought the commentary was totally one eyed its about time the BBC sorted this out it was Scotland this scotland that hello Italy were playing (and winning)too

  • 18.
  • At 09:11 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Muttley wrote:

I agree, why don't you give ratings to Italian players as well?

Troncon has been Man of the Match 2 times in a row. Not even worth mentioning?

  • 19.
  • At 09:14 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Rob wrote:

It was a pathetic display by Scotland. Gifting the Italians a 21-0 lead with basic errors was bad enough but the lack of character and leadership thereafter was most disappointing, where was the passion and will to win? Very poor decision making too, had they kicked the penalties rather than going for touch all the time they would have been right back in it.
Well done to the Italians on a well deserved and long overdue away win! I agree its unfair their players werent given ratings on this page too.

  • 20.
  • At 09:39 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Ali wrote:

Where are the Italy ratings?

Godman and Cusiter had shocking games. When your half backs are playing like that, it's no wonder about the result.

  • 21.
  • At 09:42 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • alessandro troncon wrote:

Alright Mutters?!!

Yes the EBC have done well again by not giving Italy ratings but it is no surprise.

I remember wasting money a couple of years ago to see Sco-Aus when Gordon Bulloch was skipper. Aus won the toss and the ball spiralled into the air towards the players gathered near the 22. (Like almost every start). No one from Scotland caught the ball and it bounced into touch. What a joke. It was an absolute disgrace and I had never seen any other team do it.

Today, Scotland did it again. This was in the 2nd half after Cusiter & Godman had already gifted Italy 21 points in the 1st half.

My point is, it was not some freak play in the 1st 10minutes of the this game, Scotland were genuinely awful throughout.

Bring on the Irish - that will be fun. Just as well I will be in the Stadio Flaminio beating Wales.

  • 22.
  • At 09:57 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • alessandro troncon wrote:

Alright Mutters?!!

Yes the EBC have done well again by not giving Italy ratings but it is no surprise.

I remember wasting money a couple of years ago to see Sco-Aus when Gordon Bulloch was skipper. Aus won the toss and the ball spiralled into the air towards the players gathered near the 22. (Like almost every start). No one from Scotland caught the ball and it bounced into touch. What a joke. It was an absolute disgrace and I had never seen any other team do it.

Today, Scotland did it again. This was in the 2nd half after Cusiter & Godman had already gifted Italy 21 points in the 1st half.

My point is, it was not some freak play in the 1st 10minutes of the this game, Scotland were genuinely awful throughout.

Bring on the Irish - that will be fun. Just as well I will be in the Stadio Flaminio beating Wales.

  • 23.
  • At 09:58 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

What an absolutely shocking performance and one that has finally got me saying that it is just about time for Hadden to go! What has this guy actually done to improve things after Matt Williams. In a word nothing! After having just watched the other two games this evening you realise just how bad we are. Utterly static and pedestrian with no imagination. Yes we were a little better against a totally inept Welsh side but were non-existent at Twickenham and completely uninspiring in the Autumn Tests. Hadden obviously can only work with the tools that he is given which are limited but has done nothing to convince in the slightest and after today is now beginning to take us backwards. Goodness knows what will happen at Murrayfield in two weeks time but there is obviously a serious danger of a complete mauling.
Sorry but we are going nowhere!

  • 24.
  • At 10:11 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Nic wrote:

What can you say? Italy played well and Cusiter and Godman had a shocker. The half-backs should control the game, as Troncon did, and when there's such a mis-match of performance there was only going to be one winner.
Even so, players of Scotland's experience shouldn't be losing the head even after such a dreadful start. When your team includes the world's most accurate kicker, and a set of backs who have struggled to score recently, surely it's a no-brainer what to do with the penalties? Scotland lost 10 points at the end because they were desperate, if Paterson had kicked 4 penalties earlier on they would have been leading despite Cusiter's nightmare and content to run the match out.
It's about time people realised Italy are at least as good as Scotland or Wales and treated them as such. They're no longer a safe 2 points, and I expect them to beat Wales next time out.

  • 25.
  • At 10:24 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • David wrote:

Played Italy
Those first 8 minutes were quality
I was laughing my head off
Scotland were rubbish
They need to re-group and have a good look at themselves before there next match.
Chris Paterson just hasn't got it in him to be the captain even though he is such a quality player.
Scott Murray should be captain

  • 26.
  • At 10:28 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • nicholas wrote:

Having conceded 3 tries in the first 7 minutes it was always going to be hard for Scotland and they got close at 24-17. However the Scottish attack lacked pace and the ball didn't go out wide enough mainly due to cocceding two early tries from interceptions. however, all credit to Italy for taking their early chances and holding on to their lead.

  • 27.
  • At 10:28 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Geebee wrote:

What a nightmare!! Hadden certainly has a blind spot in thinking these Edinburgh players are good enough to cut it at this level. If he is not preparred to play Patterson at fly half why not bring Gordon Ross back in. He at least knows how to control a game. Di Rollo needs to play with a far more creative fly half otherwise he will never have the space to show what he can do.

Need a re-think, give Lawson a chance from the start and some of the Glasgow players but definately not Parks!

  • 28.
  • At 10:29 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • David wrote:

Played Italy
Those first 8 minutes were quality
I was laughing my head off
Scotland were rubbish
They need to re-group and have a good look at themselves before there next match.
Chris Paterson just hasn't got it in him to be the captain even though he is such a quality player.
Scott Murray should be captain

  • 29.
  • At 10:32 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • iain wrote:

Ridiculous sentiment there Alan calling for Haddens resignation, how can you possibly claim he has done nothing?! In case you missed it we've won 7 matches at home since his appointment, something Williams would only have seen in his wildest dreams! Granted todays performance was dire, but the problem rests mainly with the standard of the players at his disposal and above all the horrendous lack of leadership on the pitch at the moment! So please lets avoid a welsh-like reaction of having one or two bad games and immediately getting the knives out for the coach

  • 30.
  • At 10:38 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Guy Carpenter wrote:

I'm an English fan to my very soul but my much loved grandfather was scottish so i cheered for the boys today . It cost me a fortune ! why was the BBC so dismissive this evening , on late night telly , of Italy's 1st away win ? The reason i've spent 30 yrs loving rugby is because it is not elitist . I had no idea that , given the BBc's apppallingly coverage of Rugby Union it was only interested in covering the BIG BOYS - whho lets face it have been less than impressive ,

  • 31.
  • At 10:42 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Guy Carpenter wrote:

I'm an English fan to my very soul but my much loved grandfather was scottish so i cheered for the boys today . It cost me a fortune ! why was the BBC so dismissive this evening , on late night telly , of Italy's 1st away win ? The reason i've spent 30 yrs loving rugby is because it is not elitist . I had no idea that , given the BBc's apppallingly coverage of Rugby Union it was only interested in covering the BIG BOYS - who lets face it have been less than impressive ,

  • 32.
  • At 10:43 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • NP wrote:

I only got to the TV at 2o mins in - glad I didn't have to watch that bit! (well except at half-time, full-time, end of BBC coverage etc.)
Calling for Hadden to go is knee-jerk crazy. Scotland has a tiny player base and he's done a decent job with what he's got.
Why o why did Patterson keep deciding to go for the corner? Its a fair decision if your pack is rampant, or you need seven points to win and there are two minutes on the clock, or its an iffy kick. But when its right in front of the post and you have the world's best kicker on stats, just pop it over, and get the scoreboard moving.

  • 33.
  • At 10:55 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Sandy Italia! wrote:

I wish! At least our women won today against the Italian women (26-0 final score I think). Well done girls!

Cusiter was worse than useless - harsh but fair. It's quite scary when you end up thinking - if it wasn't for Paterson (who physique-wise looks like he would struggle getting into to the 4ths in school rugby) it could have been a lot worse.

I feel fortunate that I have some Italian blood in me (with a Iti as a dad) to soften the blow. Bravo Italia!

  • 34.
  • At 10:56 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • David Lockhart wrote:

I'm gutted for the team, especially the forwards who (as usual) put everything into a contest against a physically stronger pack and actually allowed the team to dominate possession. Our half-backs let us down badly but we shouldn't be overly critical, we didn't execute our gameplan at all well but the truth is we made mistakes when we were trying to put some width on the ball so some credit has to be given for that. I'm also massively frustrated for Patterson, yes he should have kicked at goal more but it's hugely unfair to only let him play 10 when we need a miracle... Not even Dan Carter could have changed the game from the position it was handed to Chris in and this will (wrongly) only give more ammo to the dullards who think he can't play fly-half!

  • 35.
  • At 11:13 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Goose wrote:

Custiter was unluckly 1st Try, Godman Fluffed pass to C before C passed for the intercept. Cusiter not as bad as people think. Godman was never in the correct position, Sean Lamont and Murray received more ball at 10 that Godman.
Game plan disaster from start, never play from your own 22 in first 10 minutes, get settles in first. Italy were fantastic, deserved their win, their fans are great and livened up Mfield.

  • 36.
  • At 11:34 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • Martin wrote:

Well played Italy, the two Italians who work with me will undoubtedly hand it out on Monday, deservedly!
Two points - first, to agree with 27, Paterson is a good player but gave up at least 12 points with decisions to kick for touch rather than for goal. Really says he shoudn't be captain....
Second, after 6 minutes it should have been pretty clear the coaches' plan wasn't going to work; so who can tell me who took responsibility onthe pitch for fixing that? I just couldn't see.... I just would have though it was obvious to a leader.

  • 37.
  • At 11:51 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • ORRIN wrote:

Ihave never been so embarrassed in my life at being a scotsman. I think the SRU shoulde refund everybody their money for thta after their audacity of sending an e-mail about buaying tickets for this farce.

Chris Custard should never play for scotland again. he does not have the ability. I look forward to his column on the BBC telling us how bad he feels blah blah blah. The guy is not even good enough to play club rugby.

Chris patterson gave up more points than Custard by trying to produce driving mauls against one of the best packs in the 6 nations. Take away the captaincy and tell him to kick to reduce the gap. This guy has no brains to play at fly-half. he kicks well. Keep him on the wing where he cannot do any harm.

Frank Hadden. What was he saying into his microphone? he is a club rugby not an international manager. cannot ever turn a game around.

I hope these guys at least try against ireland

  • 38.
  • At 11:55 PM on 24 Feb 2007,
  • ORRIN wrote:

Ihave never been so embarrassed in my life at being a scotsman. I think the SRU shoulde refund everybody their money for thta after their audacity of sending an e-mail about buaying tickets for this farce.

Chris Custard should never play for scotland again. he does not have the ability. I look forward to his column on the BBC telling us how bad he feels blah blah blah. The guy is not even good enough to play club rugby.

Chris patterson gave up more points than Custard by trying to produce driving mauls against one of the best packs in the 6 nations. Take away the captaincy and tell him to kick to reduce the gap. This guy has no brains to play at fly-half. he kicks well. Keep him on the wing where he cannot do any harm.

Frank Hadden. What was he saying into his microphone? he is a club rugby not an international manager. cannot ever turn a game around.

I hope these guys at least try against ireland

  • 39.
  • At 12:20 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Kevan wrote:

I am absolutely gutted.

Scotland went out and had a go and unfortunately the rub of the green went against them.

The players have to take it on the chin but thats how it goes in rugby. The only 'true' mistake made today was by Patterson when he kicked for the corner instead of taking 3 points every time we were in the Italy half.

The forwards did their best against a bigger and better pack and Scotland got caught out playing the rugby people want to see but can't actually play.

Same performance less the first 7 minutes against Ireland and Chris just kick your goals...its not how we win but winning that matters!

  • 40.
  • At 12:29 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Graeme wrote:

Lets not get carried away - Scotland dug a huge hole for themselves today and nearly managed to get out. Unfortunately so much effort was expended getting to 17-24 after 70mins that they ran out of steam. Give credit to the Italians they defended well but on balance Scotland were not outplayed by Italy. Scotland need to learn from this and I agree that they missed White today, I think Paterson should have kicked for goal more often (though not always). Scotland clearly have a lot of work to do but they are not as bad as the score line suggests and perhaps its a wake up call for the WC later in the year. Luckily we are in a group we should qualify from.

  • 41.
  • At 12:40 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • CATB wrote:

Fearful for the Scotland if they play like that against the Irish, Could be a Cricket score !!!!!!!!!

  • 42.
  • At 01:03 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Hammy Mac wrote:

Must have been watching a different game to me mate. How you can sit through 80 minutes of error compounded by error and still give some of those players pass marks (that is what 5/10 is) is beyond me. In one sense, I feel sorry for the Italians as they will probably not get the credit for the result and playing to their, albeit, limited strengths which they did today.

Firstly, Godman,like Parks before him, is not an international class 10. He does not have the presence, skill or boot to enable him to make the split-second decisions that you must make in international rugby eg from the kick-off, let's make a little dink kick just out of our own 22. He struggled to settle against Wales but thankfully our forwards gave him a chance that time. Matt Williams was slammed for playing Parks but the criticism for Hadden doing the same has been a long time coming. Godman also lost the head after the early strikes against the team and together with Cusiter, both not the strongest of passers, we gave a rampant Italian back-row and midfield ample chance to defend.

Cusiter was a great disappointment again. Too slow with the pass, an extra step needed every time (plus 1/2 with Godman) they were too slow in moving the back-line. Cus also looks like he is still protecting his shoulder, visiting the rucks in whatever way he can shield his shoulder from a potential tackle. His pass is not long and quick enough and if you limit his sniping runs (which he is doing as he doesn't want to commit himself) then why is he playing. We need a fit Mike Blair - Cus, a rating of 4 is being very kind to you today as you have been outplayed by Ellis, out-hassled by a poor Peel and Troncon irritated the biz out of you today.

Di Rollo is limited in what he can do and telegraphs with Lamont far tool easily (although Lamont sometimes breaks the gain line). Dewey looked like the only back who could break the line with pace and power but didn't see the ball often enough and quick enough and then was subby'd - obviously not one of Frank's boys. Paterson is not a winger... and probably not got enough acceleration to be a world-class 10 now... but he is the best of a very bad bunch (get fit David Blair), but we need to play specialist wingers in their positions. Southwell obviously rates himself higher than I do (but then you do too) as he rarely beats the first man and never knows what t do with the ball - kicking from hand hit/miss and free-running is very limited with no awareness of who is around him.

As for the forwards, we have bee struggling in the front row for years - why have we not groomed some specialist props? If I was 6 stone heavier, I might have got a place in my international team. Wagga and Murray showed some go-forward today but the back-row (plus Hogg as sub) were ineffectual and switched off after Paterson's try brought it back to 7. I long forthe power and leadership of Jason White in our team. If you're on the bench, you must be fit... Ally Hogg, are you there?

Frank Hadden, we have limited resources re our rugby team. We want to see our team compete. I, with my family, travel to every 5/6 nations game home and away. I do not need to be 'excited' in the crowd by seeing your team throw the ball around in our own 22 and concede 21 points in a world -record time (7s anyone). Get the basics sorted out - passing, kicking from hand, running at speed, breaking the gain line, clearing rucks... maybe even watch some schools rugby where this is all done to an excellent degree... and then maybe, just maybe, our international team will be able to score scintillating tries 'from the end of the earth'. Until then, in our own 22, boot the hell out of the ball; pass, run and support the ball carrier (instead of standing still) and develop leaders on the pitch who can make decisions if plan A is blatantly not going right (ie after 1 charge-down, 1 interception, don't try an even more audacious pass 'just becasue that is the plan'.

Frank, Matty W got pelters because he said our basics were not good enough and he led us to our 1st wooden spoon in years. You were praised for 3 wins out of 5 last year but it betrayed the same old story - another 5 minutes against France and we would've lost by 10; ngland were rank awful and lost to almost everyone; Italy were limied but honest and we scraped a win. Matt W only ever lost to Aus by 13-17 points, even away - real progress should be gauged by how we capitulated against a poor Aus in November. I'm not here to praise that era as Matt W was well off the plot but I'd like you to be more honest in your assessment of our team Frank and look at their faults, address them and stop pickingplayers that are obviously not international standard because you 'know what they can do'. Moving Mossy to 10 half-way through a match is tantamount to saying I made a mistake, so say it and don't make the same things again.

  • 43.
  • At 01:35 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Jamie McEwan wrote:

Woeful! That is without doubt the worst performance from a Scotland side I've ever watched. How the SRU can justify charging the prices they do to watch that drivel is beyond me. I was at the Wales game and in all honesty were it not for a dreaful performance from them we would be staring down the barrel of an embarrassing whitewash.

It was men against boys today, the Italians played like they wanted to be there. The Scots like they were collecting a paycheque.

Dreadful decision-making, dreadful skills, dreadful application. If we'd kicked our first half penalties it would have been 24-19 at half time, instead we played like a team of panicing schoolboys.

We've been flattering to deceive for the last couple of season, it's time the SRU took a good long look at itself.

  • 44.
  • At 01:48 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

My goodness, there's a lot of whining going on here! Truth is Scotland are a poor team and it was always going to be tough against an ever improving Italy side. True, they were gifted three tries but I don't think it would have made much difference in the end.

Cusiter was awful and has been off the pace for the last few games. Given that Lawson has been keeping Peter Richards out of Gloucester, why isn't he starting? He plays week in and week out at a higher standard than Cusiter.

Godman simply isn't international class and that was shown again today. Patterson's break for his try shows why he should play at stand off instead of him.

Not looking forward to the Ireland match at all.

  • 45.
  • At 02:28 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Andy wrote:

The scots went on to the field with some crazy idea of how they could play like the harlem globe trotters. Why? There is only one reason, which is that Frank Hadden told them they could. He bragged about great training prior to the game. He obviously instilled belief beyond ability and had Scotland playing moves that were risky and not strategicaly viable. The plan was to open up the Italian wing and play wide and loose. Fine on a white board. The result was a farce that did not consider the opposition or its abilities. Hadden is to blame for the first 6 minutes. He has been naive and should resign. Scotland then suffered the stupidity of not kicking goal to restore some stability and continued playing a high risk, go for broke strategy. With 73 minutes to go, there was spleny of time to kick and stabilise. Wrong again. Eventually the result showed this. I pray that the Scots will respect the Irish as much as they failed to consider the Italians. Well done Italy, goodbye Hadden.

  • 46.
  • At 02:47 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Jeff wrote:

There is no excuse for the way the backs let in 3 Italian tries in the first 10 minutes.
Heads need to roll, time at the gym is needed. Hard work & commitment is needed.
Stupid we all should have seen it coming..... Don't kid yourselves for those on this site saying Italy are now a world force....bollocks. They will finish at the bottom of their world cup pool, possibly just above Scotland!

  • 47.
  • At 02:49 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • ian coleman wrote:

It is very easy to blame the Scottish players for mistakes they made against Italy on Saturdays game. Remember that it could have been a memorable pass to a brilliant try!If you want the players to play rugby that is worthy of the ticket price, then you must accept that they play open rugby that excites the fans,"win or lose".These players want to win!(A bit of positive criticism.)I was at the Scotland v Wales match last Saturday and I was impressed when the Scotland team came out early to warm up in the mud!That gave them an advantage! Why they never repeateted it this week I remain puzzled! Frank I believe gets paid a decent sum of money! Start making decisions on how to win the game!You have the players to win any game. Start Believing!I was brought up close to the Bannockburn monument.That has always given me inspiration in my life. Take the team there and let them feel "it".Well done to the team for their efforts.Good luck against Ireland. Ian Coleman.

  • 48.
  • At 02:51 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Sean M wrote:

I don't think enough people are giving Italy enough credit. They were lucky/oppotunistic in the first 10 mins and after that they matched Scotland. Italy are not that shoddy a side. It was fairly even after the first 10.
I am saying that as a meek Englishman after our barely adequate-poor performance today.
I think peoples opinions is reflective of how high Hadden has raised expectation in Scotland. Scotland have some very good players, but there is still a lack of depth and breadth which will always show.
My biggest disappointment today was the level of booing when the Italians kicked. To lose to Italy was not shameful. The booing was.

  • 49.
  • At 03:05 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • TheBigFool wrote:

21-0 down. The guys tried to rouse the crowd by kicking for touch. But than but failed to score, repeat ad nausiem.

The only people cheering and singing at Murrayfield today were the Azuri. The Scots crowd never had anything to cheer on.

Hats off to the Italians, having been gifted twenty one points, there was no way they were going to let the Scots back into the game. Even without the three tries I think the light blues would have been of the sides. They played solid efective rugby and took their chances. A thouroughly deserved win by the supposedly poorest side in the competition.

Scotland must start to get the basics right and Wales need to do their homework.

  • 50.
  • At 07:18 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • CHarris wrote:

Being beat by the Irish (a great team) was upseting but more than off set by the delight in the skirt wearer's getting stuffed by the Italians! oh such joy .... remember though you still have the tennis chap and ... oh yes ... is it elephant polo? those two should form a good discussion in the bars! Just off now to get my new Italian rugby shirt (to add to my collection of shirts of teams who have beaten Scotland even though I cant pay my bills) so I can parade down the high st telling anyone who will listen how much I hate them! Or maybe I wont but just allow myself a wry smile!

  • 51.
  • At 07:21 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Sickened ex-Scotland Fan wrote:

Firstly, well done Italy. Good performance, thoroughly deserved the win.

#29 Iain - Are you MAD? We haven't had 1 or 2 bad games - we've had 7 or 8 TERRIBLE games! The performances (& results)against Australia, England & Italy speak for themselves. Pathetic. We sneaked a win against England last year, but that was against the worst England side for 25 years. Add in another narrow win against the worst Wales side for 30 years and suddenly foolish Frank's record doesn't look so hot, does it? And then there's yesterday's embarrassment - Hadden has taken responsibility for the game plan, so he should go - simple. If you make such basic errors of judgement at this level is proves beyond all doubt that you are well out of your depth. Hadden's taken the worst Scotland side EVER and failed to improve them one jot. We may not have the most talented player pool, but he's guaranteeing failure with his foolish, naive tactics. SRU, SACK HADDEN NOW!

  • 52.
  • At 07:27 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Matt MacLeod wrote:

Calling for Frank Hadden to resign is only going to cause more disruption. Who is there to replace him? Let's remember that Scotland's record under him has improved immensely. As frustrating (and downright astounding) as yesterday's performance was, Scotland did get back into it and if they hadn't run out of steam after Paterson's try it might have been on.

You can also criticise Paterson for not kicking at goal, but Scotland were 21 points behind! You don't often see a kicker get seven penality opportunities at goal in a game. Paterson most likely thought "We're going to have to score tries at some point - we'll have a better chance doing that from 5 yards out".

I think selection is what needs to be looked at. Cusiter had a shocker, but it's probably safe to say that he will never, ever play that badly again. With that out of his system perhaps he can get back to the form and fitness that got him noticed in the first place. He may be going through a dodgy patch but with Blair injured he is our only world-class 9.

Paterson at 10? Yes, I think so, but Hadden needs the co-operation of Edinburgh rugby and have Paterson playing at 10 every week. He cannot be expected to just play there in internationals.

Dewey gives me something to be excited about everytime I see him play, but he needs to get involved much more.

Di Rollo has not taken his opportunites to show what he can do, although I don't rate him as lowly as many others. Nevertheless, perhaps it's time for a fit Webster to come in at 13, or do we bring back Henderson to partner Dewey in the centres?

I was excited to see Nikki Walker come on to see what he can do, but he kind of fluffed his chance. Still it's nice to know that Scotland is capable of fielding a pair of very big and very quick wingers in Walker and Lamont.

At fullback, I am happy with Southwell in the shirt. He could be a bit quicker, but he proved himself to be a powerful runner yesterday, not cleanly breaking the tackle, but certainly crossing the gainline. Plus he has a cannon of a left boot which provides a kicking option.

At scrum-time we creaked, but we always knew we would against the Italians. For the most part the lineout was excellent, but again, we knew it would be. My disappointment lies with the distinct lack of leadership up front. The pack were trying to offload 50/50 passes that were being knocked on. Someone needed to stand-up and calm things down. In Murray and Taylor, with 130-something caps between them, I'm surprised and disappointed that this didn't come. We're obviously missing Jason White more than I thought. Nice to see Ali Hogg getting back into it, and nice to see that we have a healthy bench and competition for places up front.

Let's take one positive from all of this: Scotland go into two very tough games against Ireland and France with absolutely nothing to lose. I hope Hadden takes the opportunity to try a couple of new selections. I also hope however that he goes into those games with an achievable gameplan that utilises the players' stengths. This would not include basketball-style one-handed passes around the breakdown, or flashing 30 yard passes flat across the face of an advancing defensive line.

Now that I've got that out of my system, it's time for breakfast.

  • 53.
  • At 08:18 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • wrote:

I have never been so embarassed to be Scottish as I was yesterday, when you compare the speed with which the Irish layed compared to us, our players seemed to be standing still in comparison. If they had been playing with any real pace I could maybe have forgiven them for passing the ball to the Italians twice. For gods sake Scotland sort your rugby out before it dies forever.

  • 54.
  • At 08:25 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Romeo wrote:

Hallo everybody.
The match was just wonderful. Apparently, your guys were defeated by a "ghost" team.
I'm proud to support that ghost Team. Thanks to all the italian team.
See you next year at the Flaminio ... And bring the spoon (the wood one)with you

  • 55.
  • At 08:25 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Balkan Jock wrote:

Well played Italy, they fully deserved their win. As for Scotland- that was the most embarassing 80 minutes I have watched for as long as I can remember (almost as bad as the Scotland v Iran football match in the '78 World Cup). I don't know what the alternatives are, but Di Rollo simply is not up to Test standard, or Godman for that matter. Our attack has been slow and predictable for a number of years now and poses no threat to the minnows of world rugby let alone the Irish backline that must be licking their lips at the thought of coming to Murrayfield. I would agree with moving Patterson to stand-off with Ross on the bench. After yesterday Godman's confidence will be somewhere deep in the Forth and he would be buried by the Irish. Outside him you have to find some players who can pass in front of a player so that they take the ball at speed rather than standing still. How about Webster at 13 or even Lamont with Danielli on the wing?

  • 56.
  • At 08:55 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Norman wrote:

Doesn't the decision not to kick the penalties smack of underestimating the Italians ; against the any of the other 6 nations we take every point available witness the previous game against Wales. either that or we panicked - don't know which is worse. Agree with an earlier post that we probably wouldn't have conceded the later points had we not had to play so much catch up. Despite saying otherwise before the match, Scotland kept things tight against Wales - here we tried to play wide from the start - we're not good enough - think it would have been a different game otherwise. Well done Italy - hope this helps bring the game further forward there - can we have some of your spare props please?

  • 57.
  • At 09:04 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Russell wrote:

It has to be said those first 8 minutes were a throw back to the good ol days of Matt Williams...absolutely shocking, I must agree. However, having said that, the people on this blog calling for Hadden to quit are clueless. He has done so much for Scottish Rugby since replacing Matt Williams. Someone mentioned, and I quote "What has this guy actually done to improve things after Matt Williams? In a word nothing!". What an absolute load of rubbish. I musy ask if this person actually watches the Scotland team on a regular basis? I am sorry, but Scotland would never have got the results they did in last year's Six Nations had it not been for Hadden getting the team to play as a team!

It goes to show how Hadden has raised the expectations of everyone in Scotland - I remember a few years ago when one win in the Six Nations was standard affair...and we would cheer about having avoided the wooden spoon!! That is not the case anymore, we expect to win and I thank Hadden for giving us this expectation.

Now to the players...Cusiter had a shocker yes, but when you are playing behind a pack that is consistently going backwards (Italian forwards are amongst the best in the Six Nations in my opinion..) it is no wonder he has not been able to deliver the form that he has showed in the past. We must also bear in mind he has just returned from an injury and is short on match practice. I agree that he is playing conservatively, like he is protecting his shoulder. I hope in the next game he gets smashed in the tackle, gets up realising he hasn't been hurt, and then plays the way we know he can play. I expect him to come good by the end of the tournament, providing our forwards, especially the front row which in my opinion are poor, decide to pull their finger out and get some go forward! I agree Paterson needs to be playing at 10 - but he needs to be playing there for Edinburgh too. Godman has the making of a good player but needs more experience, it is fair to say the occasion got the better of him. Parks...I would happily never see him in a Scotland shirt again. Granted, he has great place kicking ability but when have you ever seen him break through the opposition defence? And as for defence...dont't get me started. Dewey has been brilliant in this tournament - we need players like him and Lamont who are capable of breaking the line at speed. As for Di Rollo, I am not a fan. He rarely breaks the line, has a habit of dropping the ball, has no real pace and his distribution is poor.

I would like to see the back line as:

9 Cusiter (Blair if fit)
10 Paterson
11 Lamont
12 Dewey
13 Henderson
14 Walker
15 Southwell

As for the forwards - I think there is little we can do in the front row, Scotland just do not have the talent in these positions. Second row I would keep as Murray and Hines. For the back row, I wish many happy (and extra speedy) returns to the starting line up for Hogg and White to partner Taylor. Thoughts anyone?

  • 58.
  • At 10:00 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Giulio wrote:

I am an italian fan: for us yesterday was an historycal day, first away victory and largest ever victory agaist Scotland I couldn't belive my eyes when I saw the score after 7 minutes: 0-21 for Italy! Unbelievable!
Finally we are showing that we've started to show that we fully deserve to be allowed to take part the tournament!
However I disagree with "Romeo" (msg #54): we shouldn't kid the Scots because we won a match, we have to respect teams with more "rugby history" than us.
Moreover Scotland isn't taking the woodden spoon (at least this year) because they've already won a game agaist Wales. The only team still without points is Wales and it will be up to us to keep them at the bottom of the table on march 10th.

As a Welshman, I am bitterly disappointed. Scotland have not turned up in 2 of the 3 games so far, why couldn't it have been against us?

As soon as they decided they would roll over Italy with tries rather than kick the easy penalties, they had lost the game. it was a naive ignorance of Italy's defensive qualities. Well done, Italy. I think everyone knows now you're no pushovers. The way Wales are playing, you could chalk up 2 wins this time

  • 60.
  • At 10:32 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Craig wrote:

We lost that game twice. First with the interception tries, but again with the pathetic leadership displayed by Paterson and Hadden. Not to kick 7 or 8 penalties was unforgiveable. It would have stopped the Italians from cheating at the breakdown (knowing they'd be punished each time) and it would have chipped away the score line to probably something like 15-24 at HT. Personally, I'd be for firing Hadden and stripping Paterson of the captaincy after that.

  • 61.
  • At 10:36 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Guy wrote:

Good to see how people are graciously recognising Italy's efforts!!!!

  • 62.
  • At 10:37 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Lawrie wrote:

Let's not get too carried away. Scotland are unlikely to have another start like that. They were always chasing the game. Scotland do not have the strength in depth of other countries, including Italy. A fully fit first-choice back row and a fit Mike Blair and Simon Webster will make a huge difference.

  • 63.
  • At 10:43 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Glentanar wrote:

This game showed Scotland's failings at 9 & 10 and their total poverty as a dynamic attack force. Stringer of Ireland has his critics but looked a better player than any of our scrum halves. We have a real crisis at 10 with all present fly half candidates playing like numptees. The backs overall ability to move the ball either sideways or forwards with any purpose is a real concern. We were well beaten by a better team who are not going to threaten the top sides.

  • 64.
  • At 10:49 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • mrs. elizabeth anderson wrote:

I 67 and try to go to most murrayfield matches,although it can be expensive it is usualy worth it.
The first ten minutes i went into a state of shock,and could not beleave we had lost before we began,it was frighting,and soul destroying.BUT as usual they fought on, they are are good team and never better since Mr. Hadden took over as coach, he and his team are a credit to scottish ruby,so we lost, i like most of the scottish were bitterly disapointed BUT IT WOULD NEVER EVER MAKE ME ASHAMED TO BE SCOTTISH.I wish Mr Hadden and the team the very very best ,and I know they will always give their best ,thankyou from me and my family.

elizabeth anderson

  • 65.
  • At 10:49 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • CatchAndDrive wrote:

This result puts into context England's 20-7 win against Italy.

When will Italian rugby players (especially their pack) get the rspect their performances deserve?

Also how did Lamont get a 7???
He wasn't on the scoresheet, or even mentioned in the match report - "Scotland's most effective player" indeed!

Best wishes to all the travelling Italian supporters, your team is coming of age!!

  • 66.
  • At 10:56 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Dino Nocivelli wrote:

I love the way that the BBC have made it seem that Scotland lost this game, rather than Italy winning the game. The fact remains that if this was a football game and you give away two penalties and get punished for such, thats that, you gave away two goals, live with it. You should not have made those mistakes. Italy were dominant in the first 10 minutes, virtually living in your 22 and this is why we scored.
And even after those first 3 tries, we still held on for the rest of the game, scoring another try (thanks to Troncon, another great performance) and kicking over some penalties.
We would have been able to beat you by a greater margin, especially as Scotlands try should have been disallowed, how blatant was it that the referee obstructed robertson from making a tackle! But of course, the Scot fans forget that, even if the BBC pundits admitted it should not be a try.
Italy deserved this win, and we should at last be given some credit and respect by the BBC now. We were unlucky against England (the Robinson try was an obvious forward-pass, which should have been picked up), and I really feel we go into the Wales game as favourites. Forza Italia!

  • 67.
  • At 10:59 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Fatman wrote:

Well done to Italy, this has been coming for a long time (remember Scotland's last minute penalty to win the match last year?). As for Scotland, they miss Jason White so badly. Now there's nothing Hadden can do about that but why, oh why, does he put Scotland's best player Paterson out on the wing when he's played so well at stand-off? It's back to the bad old days of self-styled "greatest coach in the world" McGeechan who consistently played journeymen like Laney(?!?) in the lynch-pin role whle Paterson was left out in the wilderness of the wing.

  • 68.
  • At 11:18 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

In the continued absence of Jason White the captaincy of Scotland should be handed to Nathan Hines - judging from the TV pictures he was the only Scot who stood up and tried to rally the team. Paterson went AWOL!

  • 69.
  • At 11:34 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Vin Spinola wrote:

Hello to all, I am writing from Italy and I would like to say "grazie" to all have had beautiful words in the comparisons of the Italian team. I believe that yesterday Italia has demonstrated of having players of international level, of having a great physical condition, our lines were clearly advanced to those Scot and then Troncon... See you next year to Rome, "in bocca al lupo" Scotland for the next matches.

  • 70.
  • At 11:38 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Saveria wrote:

Thanks to those of you who pointed out that the BBC did not rate the Italian players and overrated the Scottish players. Rating means nothing if it is not comparative. Many Scottish are Italian, many Italians live in Scotland and we all pay the BBC license fee!

  • 71.
  • At 11:40 AM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Vin Spinola wrote:

Hello to all, I am writing from Italy and I would like to say "grazie" to all have had beautiful words in the comparisons of the Italian team. I believe that yesterday Italia has demonstrated of having players of international level, of having a great physical condition, our lines were clearly advanced to those Scot and then Troncon... See you next year to Rome, "in bocca al lupo" Scotland for the next matches.

  • 72.
  • At 12:11 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Sandy Grom wrote:

How does Scotland get better ?

Irrespective of the start against Italy the main issue is why can't our back line turn possession into tries. They do not seem able to execute even the most basic moves. They should start with the basics i.e. pass the ball to each other (10 > 12 > 13 > 14 or ?) and turn the overlaps they have had into clear cut opportunities to score. Until Scotland can do this they will not improve significantly. The stats show we get more than enough possession in most games.

In order to get the back line moving Patterson must move to 10 and whoever cant get a quick pass to him at 9 (Blair when fit but Lawson next). Cusiter has been injured and has not returned to form but playing for Borderers (losing every week cannot help at all). Di Rollo is clearly not up to it and a credible 13 must be found.

Things are not as bad as seemed yesterday and hopefully we won’t ever be 21 points down in 6 mins again. However, we must be realistic – if you have mostly average players and a few good ones you cannot expect miracles but we have come along way since Matt Williams. We beat France and England last year ! If we can sort out the back line getting them to execute at least basic moves there is hope

  • 73.
  • At 12:31 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • John wrote:

First of all well done Italy. A rising force and a future threat to the other 6 nations contenders.Give them the praise and exposure they deserve - they have now arrived and are on a par with the other contenders.
As for Scotland - what can you say. They were either complacent on the back of their last win or they had indeed forgotten what they were out there to do. No excuses- these are professional players and for people to say "if you take the first three tries off it would have been a different game." Well rules are you can't take them off and it wasn't a different game- so take a lesson guys. Hadden has brought this team on in leaps and bounds- they need to start repaying him and the supporters. If not we will go back to the cold and empty stands of three years ago !!

  • 74.
  • At 12:31 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Duncan wrote:

It has all been said except why oh why will Haddock not play Simon Webster? Oh and Patterson does not have the physical presence to play 10.

  • 75.
  • At 01:13 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Brian wrote:

Do we honestly think that Scotland will ever be a Great Team.....very unlikely!! just look at the number who play compared to the likes of England and France.
We have always had a challenge to put out the best team we can, from the very limited resources at our disposal.
The first 7 minutes yesterday were excuses..Gung Ho rugby..awful..truly awful...naive play from the half-backs.For the next 60 minutes I thought we had a chance, but poor captaincy decisions just increased the pressure.
Hadden does very well...I don't remember anyone complaining when we beat England ,France and Wales...of course we need to improve but lets stop the knee jerk comments from 'fans' who are obviously complete ignoramus'

  • 76.
  • At 01:20 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Shamed wrote:

Slight change to the question if I may:



Singing 8
Chants 7
Respect of opposition kickers 8
Grace after winning 8


Singing 5
Chants 4
Respect of opposition Kickers 1
Grace in defeat 5

I am a life-long supporter of Scottish Rugby and have been going to
Murrayfield since the draw with the All Blacks in 1983.

Unfortunately, over the last few years the level of manners shown by
supporters with regard to booing and whistling opposition kickers has
become an increasing embarrasment.

After all the hype about Croke Park the Irish supporters were silent while Wilkinson lined up his kicks.

In Wales I have heard the announcer ask the crowd to show some respect in
an effort to shame the crowd into manners. Please could the SRU do
something to enhance the image of Scottish supporters as we are fast
loosing our positive image with visiting teams. I lost count of the number of visiting fans who told me last night that they did not enjoy the Murrayfield experience yesterday, they found the home fans rude and aggresive!

The game was bad enough without the home crowd showing all the grace of a spoilt child.

  • 77.
  • At 01:57 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Nick Faulds wrote:

I am just glad I did not pay the SRU money to watch that garbage. It is also ridiculous that Italy are not being given the credit they deserve. Whilst some of our swollen-headed palyers plot their transfer moves, our national yteam is going nowhere. It is very very sad.

  • 78.
  • At 02:33 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • ray wrote:

What was all the booing whenever Italy were kicking? Italy outplayed Scotland and were deserving winners. For the scottish fans to show such disrespect says it all about the state of scottish rugby.
Perhaps your boo boys could learn a thing or two about being proper rugby fans by watching the Ireland/England game where respectful silence was followed by generous applause.

  • 79.
  • At 02:57 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • jonny wrote:

SCO-ITA - 0-21 (7 mins)
SCO-ITA - 17-16 (73 mins)

Well done, Scotland! You've just managed to beat ITA in the "second half"! Phew!

  • 80.
  • At 03:32 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • rick wrote:

I was playing yesterday and got the wife to tape the match. I ummed and ahhed about watching but decided to plunge ahead. What struck me is that after 3 glaring howlers we managed to get back in the game and if we had elected to kick at goal could possibly have had our noses in front after 60 mins.
My plea to Chris Paterson is not to play catch up rugby with 70 mins to go, I lost count on the number of 3 point opps we passed on. Godman and Cusiter have to pay the price for their mistakes, Godman esp looked out of his depth and i've yet to see what Di Rollo offers. We were tootless beind the scrum and need more than Dewey and Lamont trying to bulldoze. I'd like to see Lawson come in , Paterson move to 10, Morrison or MacDougall given a run at 13 and Lamont the younger tried at full back as he offers more going forward than Southwell.

  • 81.
  • At 03:42 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • hes wrote:

Scotland did not get off the bus yesterday. italy more than deserved their win. i would suggest some redbull for the boys and a serious talking to or Ireland will destory us next game. The SRU are trying so hard to get support in to Murrayfield but with a performance like that is it any surprise the public don't want to part with their hard earned cash. I will need think long and hard about whether I will return.

  • 82.
  • At 03:47 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

To the one or two who stated that I was talking rubbish etc. regarding Hadden you are of course entitled to your opinion but please tell me where you now actually see the future of the Scotland team. Almost certainly massive defeats in the two remaining games against Ireland and France and more than likey an early exit from the World cup. Big progress! I now actually find myself in the unfortunate position of actually wanting to support Ireland in two weeks time because I am a great fan of their style of rugby which is light years ahead of ours and would love to see them turn on that style at Murrayfield. This is a pretty sad thing to have to be thinking but it is our totally inept recent displays which have got me feeling this. I would rather see exciting rugby than frankly care about Scotland winning or losing.
On another matter I thoroughly agree with others above regarding the behaviour of many supporters at Murrayfield. The booing at kicks yesterday was a total embarassment and leaves such a bad impression!

  • 83.
  • At 04:21 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Dee wrote:

Patterson to move to FH, for sure, he has the pace, foresight and pure ability to be there, it is also a way better position to lead from. A winger cannot lead the team. As for Cusiter. waste of space, he has no vision, slow ball delivery and not enough power to pass hard and long. Not only that, he is way too slow at reacting to situations in the international game wher things happen so much quicker and harder than even at pro club level. If this is the best Scotland can find as a scrum half then woe betide them. SH is a crucial position, good leadership and communication, vision and speed is needed, none of which Cusiter has. Troncon to me is the best SH around. a multi talented player. Ellis is good too, quick and harrying, Stringer, sometimes also lacks vision, but makes up for it in other areas.

  • 84.
  • At 04:24 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Euan Millar wrote:

cusiter had an aweful start and just didnt fully recover from it. hes stil a good player and will play a blinder next week. dewey i think was just shocked that we were scoring! after godman's performance against wales its understandable why he was chosen for this. i would have gone for parks for this game though...and look what happened! but italy have deserved a win for a while. iv played rugby in italy so i have real respect for them as a rugby nation so i was pleased for them. they could have saved it for someone else though!

  • 85.
  • At 04:48 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Gary wrote:

To all those who commented on the booing. Your team is 21 down in the first act of the game, you coach keeps playing the same muppets that always muck things up for Scotland, and the Italians were very good at slowing the game down by getting 'injured'.

Why should you not show your disapproval? Should we just sit back and be neutral? Whats the point of being a supporter then? Are we just spectators?

This lack of passion from the Scotland fans is something that has amazed me. I was their right till the end shouting my head off, the people around me occasionally mutter the odd ‘come on Scotland’ so quietly that no-one was going to hear. Why does Scotland not have any songs that we can sing? It really can help add to atmosphere.

With Scottish rugby though, this ‘fair play’ (I’m not against it, but I think it goes to far) niceness and meekness is Scotland’s greatest weakness. Maybe there’s something to be learned from the football crowd?

  • 86.
  • At 05:17 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Answer wrote:


I was not commenting on booing to show disapproval, far from it. As supporters watching yesterdays game we should do what we can to rouse the team from the depths. I was commenting on whistling and booing during kicks.

However, it has always been accepted manners that kickers should be given quiet. The atmosphere at Croke park yesterday seemed electric and I'm suprised we couldn't hear the noise from Dublin in Edinburgh as the Irish fans went mad for their team....but.... when Wilkinson was lining up his kicks you could have heard a pin drop.

  • 87.
  • At 05:47 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Marco wrote:

Anybody can explain to me, "poor" Italian, the reason of the lack of Italy team ratings !???
I did watch the match in television (not BBC) and I was sure there were two rugby teams yesterday in Murrayfield ground. Or it was a TV fiction ???
I am not very use to BBC so, please, do not tell me that the only reason is the growing nervousness of a welsh journalist... I can't believe that.
There are no reasons to be nervous. In Rome there are many interesting things... Architecture, art, fantastic wine. At Flaminio Stadium there are ever a sunshine atmosphere, good and warm weather, beautiful ladies...
It will be like that on Saturday 10th March, so take it easy.

  • 88.
  • At 05:48 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Alan wrote:

As regards the booing I was referring to the terrible childish booing during the kicking. I have no problem with the booing of the team a totally different matter. As regards to singing wouldn't it be better for a start to come up with something better than the ghastly Flower of Scotland. Can there actually be a song that arouses less passion. What a embarassment it is. Perhaps that is why the scottish fans are so lacking in passion in the first place after having to listen to it at the very beginning and this translates through to the team.

  • 89.
  • At 07:46 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Fifer wrote:

With a performance like that yesterday we can only get better now. Clearly some changes need to made (Paterson for FH, Lawson for SH and no Di Rollo) and improvements made before Ireland come. Hadden needs to make sure that he has the best team possible to beat the Irish (albiet from limited resources) and make sure that the leadership is rock solid this time around, both from the coach and the captain.

I was massively disappointed with the performance from the guys but I WILL go to Murrayfield in two weeks and support our national team however they play. Hope you to see most of you there!

Regarding the booing during the kicks, i was disgusted that so many people would do that its not in the spirit of the game. In fact the announcer came on the tannoy and asked the crowd not to boo, and lo and behold the next penalty kick that Italy took they booed even louder. Thats not support, its hostility from people who have no respect for the players or the game. I hope that these 'fans' of the game realise how childish they are and keep quiet next time around.

Italy are getting better and better with each game, I dont think any team should be complacent about them. I would've appreciated seeing some player ratings for the Italians who thoroughly deserved their win.

  • 90.
  • At 09:34 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Dougie McGill wrote:

Luckily, I missed the 1st half, or more importantly the first 7 minutes.
When things go wrong they go wrong. When you involve Scotland things take on another dimension (think '78 World Cup, Darian).
I don't think we can throw away the progress of the last 18 months on the back of this. Yeah, you can argue a whole bunch of things but the fact of the matter is that we only have a limited pool. Until Paterson is regular at FH only then can he get the nod in that position. Wingers shouldn't be captains, no matter how talented they are.

  • 91.
  • At 09:46 PM on 25 Feb 2007,
  • Anne wrote:

What an absolutely WRETCHED performance by Scotland! Cusiter might as well have gift-wrapped the ball since he kept presenting it to the Italians! The same stupid mistakes were made over and over again. It was like a bunch of high schoolers playing against a professional team. Dreadful. I'm glad I didn't pay to see this!

  • 92.
  • At 12:20 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • James P wrote:

When was the last time I saw a performance like this? Australia v South Africa in Brisbane in the last Tri-Nations. SA were beaten 49-0. And went on a few weeks later to beat the All Blacks, albeit not their first or second team. The point is, everyone has off days. The South Africans use them to strengthen and improve. The Scots (and Welsh in recent years) use them as excuses for witch hunts and cynicism.

Godman and Cusiter had a shocking first six minutes. Patterson should have gone for the posts. Italy's scrum dominated. But is this really a historic low point in Scottish rugby? The statistics (and just watching) show that Scotland played a good deal better than Italy for most of the game. I can't believe there are people on this board swearing never to go to Murrayfield again. Come on! It's because we have that type of support that SA will always be a great rugby nation and we never will be. Think about it - we're losing Dewey, Taylor, Patterson, Danielli, Ford etc. to other countries because no one even bothers to go to watch our pro teams!

Don't sack Hadden on the basis of a couple of games. Don't move Patterson to 10 as a knee jerk reaction (He HAS to start there for Edinburgh or at least in friendies/AIs before starting v Ireland/France/in the RWC). Don't kick Cusiter (a bad day for a great player) out. Blair may be fit in two weeks, but will be rusty.

And (while we're in the family) David Blair's unlikely to sort out our problems before September. We stick to what we've got - the team's now starting to build up real experience. Whatever anyone says, our set piece and defence in the losses against Australia, England and Italy was in most areas totally superior to anything ever seen under Matt Williams.

Stop being so critical, people!

  • 93.
  • At 08:14 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Vic from Venice wrote:




I think the Italians were magnificent. They will fancy their chances against the Welsh (Ireland are on another planet).

Ciao, Mr Harlow - I suggest you learn from all the posts that express displeasure at the ratings' omission. Learn.

  • 94.
  • At 09:45 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • honest tim wrote:


where did cusiter earn his 4 points?

  • 95.
  • At 09:45 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • John Ross wrote:

A day of embarrassment all round. I have been scrolling through these comments trying to see if people are one week memory artists, armchair critics or real fans of rugby. Still have not yet decided but I think you can guess where I am leaning.

Let's look at the story so far, we got beat by England at Twickenham but we put two tries past them - when did that last happen? We beat Wales and scored no tries and then we turn up to play what has been an impressive Italian side so far this tournament and went absent. Godman, I agree, looked a bit like a rabbit caught in headlights but where was the rest of the team to try and put him back together again?

Cusiter had a nightmare start but if his pop up pass had come off no-one would be complaining. I don't know if any of you guys have come back from injury to play at top level, but you do shy away from it a bit, and I agree with whoever it was that said he hopes Cuss gets clattered soon, gets up and realises that he is OK and gets back to doing what he is good at - harrying at the base of the scrum, making sniping runs and putting 8 big blokes on the back foot.

If the ball is not coming from the scrum to the centres there is not a lot that they can do but where were the first time tackles from these guys in defence?

The pack was I suppose adequate but not good let alone great and I think that they suffered from what the whole team suffered from, Leadership. If Patterson is Captain then let him act like one, pick people up, push things forward and lead by example. We all know that the crowd will boo if the decision is to kick for 3 point rather than go for the possible 5/7 but playing rugby is not a PR exercise and as long as the scoreboard keeps ticking over the forwards, in fact all the players and the crowd, can look up and feel that effort is rewarded. Just ask Leicester!

The get rid of Frank Hadden camp are another knee jerk bunch and I will not repeat what has gone before regarding how we have improved under Frank. The journey will be long and painful but at least we are now on it.

If Scotland have an issue it is lack of leadership on the pitch, not in the dressing room, training ground or touchline. Come back Jason we need you.

  • 96.
  • At 10:36 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Houstie wrote:

Let's be honest. Scotland were terrible. They gifted three converted tries in 8 minutes. I've never seen anything like it ever in international rugby. Cusiter & Godman played poorly & without your half backs controlling things the game will be lost. I take nothing away from Italy because they played well. But, they were given the game, they didn't have to do anything except catch the ball. 21-0 down at this level makes it nearly impossible to pull back, even against Italy.

I think Cusiter, Godman & Di Rollo should be given a break in the next game. Lawson, Paterson & Rory Lamont at 9,10 & 13.

  • 97.
  • At 10:47 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Neil wrote:

Paterson was not a good captain before and is not now. His leadership was not obvious and why oh why did he not take 3 points for all those penalties the forwards could not get line-out derived tries from?
Agree Cusiter is a shadow of his former self - maybe he does not trust that shoulder and that start just finished him off mentally. Godman not test class but when did we last have a test class stand off? We have also only had one really good prop in last decade and even now Tom Smith would walk into this side and improve it.
Missing White even more for his leadership than his back row play. Get Taylor to no8, get Hogg starting and make Murray captain.

  • 98.
  • At 10:47 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Glyn Harley wrote:

Glad to see that Pondlife finds amusement in professional sportsmen losing to other better prepared professional sportsmen. No doubt he is sulking after England were slaughtered by the Irish (but I'm sure it wasn't their fault - it was probably the French referee not being fair - boo hoo). If he has nothing better to do than whine can't he find a nice motorway to play on?

  • 99.
  • At 11:11 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Catriona Fyffe wrote:

I am just writing because of my annoyance at those posters who seem to have forgotten that they are talking about rugby players here not machines. I mean fair enough losing in the way we did was certainly not an enjoyable experiance but if you actually look at the stats we dominated possesion and time spent in apponents 22. By these it would have seemed as if we should have won the game. I agree that our inability to do this probably has something to do with just not getting over the line, as well as aspects of not being organised enough when going forward. It wasn't all bad though, like many of you are suggesting, Sean Lamont for a start was fantastic and even Cusiter (which I think actually played like a trooper considering the pressure on him and the fact he is only just back from injury) was trying to make breaks. Teams have off days and well you cant start thinking of sacking Hadden already!

  • 100.
  • At 11:50 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • af wrote:

I don't like Scotland's new jerseys and obviously neither do the players.
Man Utd are relatively successful compared to any Scotland team: why not copy them, throw the shirts you don't like away that you play badly in and put on a new shirt.

We don't have many better players that were on show, the only exception being the lack of opportunity for Gordon Ross so lets try new shirts instead.

  • 101.
  • At 11:54 AM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Martin Johnston wrote:

Not excusing the booing BUT those of you who think that there wasn't booing during the kicks at Croke Park must have had their sound down.

  • 102.
  • At 12:10 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

Have an side ever come back from being 21 points down to win an international? Scotland through poor execution dug a massive hole for themselves. It was bizarre. After conceding the first score the next thing we should have done is put boot on ball and get into the Italian half.
I think due to a lack of proper leadership on the pitch we stuck to a game plan that was wrong for the game situation. Italy's defence was good, and the pressure they applied in the rush defence forced the turnovers.
I would have been very surprised if Scotland had turned the game around - but they didn't give themselves much of a chance by turning down penalty opportunities. Fair enough if the penalty is out wide and 40 metres from goal stick it in the corner - Scotland did need tries. But when we were in the 22 and/or in front of the posts we had to take the 3 points.

A lot of mistakes crept into our game as we tried to force things to get back into the match. So i wouldn't be to critical of some of our players. We'd given ourselves an impossible situation. We are not 21 points better than Italy and they were able to soak up our pressure and turn the screw late on as we made errors. Well done, they were perhaps fortunate with the early scores but played very well late on - and deserve this not just on saturday's performance but for their continued improvement.

As for Scotland, we need to get our confidence back and quick or Ireland will humiliate us.

Not sure what changes we should make. Dropping players will damage confidence further. I'd like to see Murray as captain though - Paterson has been given the leadership before and not only doesn't it work for Scotland but his performances suffer too. He's a good player, great kicker and can do an excellent job for Scotland at 10 or on the wing. But his responsibilites should end there.

  • 103.
  • At 12:23 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Bracchi wrote:

What's that bump sound? Er, just the Scots falling back down to earth after losing to Italy :). It seems they really are a poor team after all...

  • 104.
  • At 12:46 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • eddie butler wrote:

Too many non-rugby playing posters here - Scotland did hand victory to Italy - Scotland do lack the strength in depth and Hadden niaive to say the least but I'm Scottish, support Scotland and Scottish rugby - there's worse things happen than playing a bad game of rugby.
If more people got off their backsides and out of the pubs to get involved with the grassroots game we'd see the strength in depth return. Those that criticise from the armchair without having played a game of rugby are as culpable as the poor performers at Murrayfield on saturday.

  • 105.
  • At 01:06 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • BigThistle wrote:

Mike Blair - get well soon.

  • 106.
  • At 02:16 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Gio wrote:

Hey, Mr.Romeo (#54) I'm italian too and i wish to remember you that Scotland ARE the history of rugby...ok, we got an historical away win but we still have a lot to learn and grow. Anyway, never forget the respect for opponents: that's rugby not soccer!
Please, scots friends dont be too tough with your men (Hadden, Cusiter, Patterson, Godman, Di Rollo): they just had a bad least they caught three wins last years, we (italians) are still dreaming for it!

  • 107.
  • At 03:01 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • lsig1 wrote:

I cant believe a lot of the comments ive read. Yes Scotland were poor yesterday, however calling for Haddens head is ridiculous. To say we have not made progress is crazy!! Do people not remember the dark days of Matt Williams?! (Scotland v Wales 2005 anyone??) Also is it really wise to sack a coach who has lead their team to victory in 7 out of the last 8 home games when there are 5 or so matches before the World Cup?? Cmon guys - get a grip!!

If you break the Scottish team down and compare it to the other 6 nations teams, our best team, barring injuries, should beat Wales and Italy, be 50-50 against England and give France and Ireland a tough game.

As for the team, I agree with #57 on the front row, unfortunately there is a lack of talent there. Im happy with Hinds and Murray at second row and i feel i should mention that i believe our lineouts have been very good so far in the tournament, however we will find out where we really stand in that department when we play Ireland. The back row with Jason White & Ally Hogg at blind and openside flankers respectively and Taylor @ 8 is arguably the best in the northern hemisphere. The back line should look like this.

9 Blair
10 Paterson
11 S Lamont
12 Dewey
13 Henderson (Not ideal, however give it 2 or 3 years and Ben Cairns will solve this problem)
14 Walker/R Lamont
15 Southwell

Paterson needs to be our 10, he has the class and the brain however he needs to play there regularly for Scotland and Edinburgh from now on. If this happens we will find that we have a far more organised back line and then the tries will come a lot more readily because in Sean Lamont and particularly Rob Dewey we have genuine world class tallent.

We get this team firing on all cylinders and we can definately make the semies of the World Cup.

Tell me im wrong!!

  • 108.
  • At 04:33 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Hannah wrote:

Chris Cusiter is a fantastic scrum half! Sat was not his best preformance but he is a good scrum half. Phil Godman however is in the words of my younger brother a twat! The rest of the team is not much better. I think u lot are harsh of Cusiter. He has been really humbling about his preformance and I have read quotes from him more than once saying that he upset. I would love to see the lot of you play scrum half for Scotland, Borders and Lions and especially after a dislocated shoulder!

  • 109.
  • At 04:41 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Hannah wrote:

U lot can not call ure self Scotland supporters. If u are a true supporter u support them through thick and thin. Forget Italy! Ireland and France next and then the world cup. As for you slagging off players? I would love to see Dan Parks playing but Farnk is in charge not me or any of you lot. Chris Cusiter has just come back from an injury and has been humbling about his preformance not the best but I have seen him and the rest play worse. No of the team have played well so far this season expect maybe Rob Dewey. Chris Paterson could have gave us an extra 19 points from kicks well within his range. Not one of you plays for Scotland and yeah some of you might be good rugby players but its those guys that are doing it day in day out. Stop complaning and give the boys our full support for Ireland! They need it and as fans we should give it to them. How many of you went to the games when Williams was in charge. I can tell you that while everyone else was silent or walking out on Sat I was roaring my support for all the boys all 22 of them cause they deserve it!!!!!

  • 110.
  • At 04:46 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Hannah wrote:

U lot can not call ure self Scotland supporters. If u are a true supporter u support them through thick and thin. Forget Italy! Ireland and France next and then the world cup. As for you slagging off players? I would love to see Dan Parks playing but Farnk is in charge not me or any of you lot. Chris Cusiter has just come back from an injury and has been humbling about his preformance ("I apologised to my team-mates. My two passes gave us that uphill battle," he said, bottom lip quivering and eyes filling with tears. "I don't think there's anybody feeling lower than I am just now, because I would do anything to take back those passes.") not the best but I have seen him and the rest play worse. No of the team have played well so far this season expect maybe Rob Dewey. Chris Paterson could have gave us an extra 19 points from kicks well within his range. Not one of you plays for Scotland and yeah some of you might be good rugby players but its those guys that are doing it day in day out. Stop complaning and give the boys our full support for Ireland! They need it and as fans we should give it to them. How many of you went to the games when Williams was in charge. I can tell you that while everyone else was silent or walking out on Sat I was roaring my support for all the boys all 22 of them cause they deserve it!!!!!

  • 111.
  • At 06:41 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

Scotland were terrible. Although we dominated large parts, there was no real breaks. Hadden needs to get a grip - its so obvious he favours Edinburgh. Godman and Di Rollo are not int quality. What bets Dewey out next year?

Anyway, If the team is fully fit. I would play this team:

15 - Southwell
14 - Lamont
13 - Webster
12 - Dewey
11 - Walker
10 - Paterson
9 - Blair

1 - Murray
2 - Hall
3 - Jacobsen
4 - Hines
5 - Murray
6 - White
7 - Hogg
8 - Taylor

Yes I know there is a few Edin in it, but Webster

  • 112.
  • At 08:44 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • Edinburghmuir wrote:

How long will we make excuses for Godman! He will be useful if the local colts side is missing a stand off but apart from that he is absolutely useless!

  • 113.
  • At 10:30 PM on 26 Feb 2007,
  • BUSHY wrote:

Disgrace that original BBC poster firstly didnt rate the Italians and secondly he clearly hasnt been reading this thread or would have least have apologised.

Well played Italy this win has been coming for some time. And apologies to Italian rugby fans and other for some of the comments on this thread which are clearly not from true Scottish Rugby fans who have actually played the game.

Hadden - wake up. What made you think we have the ability to throw the ball wide / Our backs have been lacking in pace/creativity/penetration for years and the backline you put on the field on Sat was no better than what we have seen over the last few years. Forwards as usual achieved parity but backs just dont look like scoring. You have only done a slightly better job than the disaster that was MW and if it wasnt for the 2 wins v England/France last season would be just as bad.

On the positive side Dewey though one dimensional does what he does well as he did at Twickenham albeit try clearly should not have been awarded.

As Gordon Ross (yet again unfairly) has been binned we MUST play CP at 10; Parks and Godman are nowhere near level so until David Blair is fit/improved it must be CP.

Bin Di Rollo and start with back line of

15 R Lamont
14 Walker - brill for Ospreys though v poor on Sat.
13. Morrison or Webster if fit
12. Dewey
11. Thom evans - has been awesome for Glasgow.
10. Paterson
9. Lawson deserves a chance but Cusiter despite 2 crazy passes still a top player.

Bench - Sean Lamont - though handless/clueless at times might do a better job as impact sub. Cusiter. Ross.

Forwards pretty much as Sat but Hogg def back if he is fit.

We are always better when up against it so lets hope so as we have by far the best 2 teams still to play and prospect is very worrying.

  • 114.
  • At 11:25 AM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Lacuna wrote:

Not so long ago, Wales won the grandslam. Look where they are now. The nature of international rugby means that most teams are in a state of flux. France, Italy and Ireland look to be building effectivly towards the world cup; Scotland, Wales and England are trying to search for some balance with the players they have. Scotland must not get too down with the Italy result.They got a big scare and maybe that's what was needed. Not kicking goals and throwing a silly passes is what cost us the game. I can't understand why Patterson did not kick his goals; Hadden was quite happy to state that he is the best goal kicker, statistically. Remember what France did to New Zealand in the 99 world cup? The score was the same at half time (24-10,) I think. France kept the scoreboard ticking over, got themselves back into the game, got tries and won the game.If we had shown that level of nous and control, we should have won the game on Saturday, like the Welsh game.The Scottish players sould have heard "...don't panic, don't panic captain manewaring!! "

I really hope that the Scotland camp have had the necessary kick up the backside and put in a better showing against Ireland. They had a bad day, the next match is a chance to prove if they are any good or not. And yes, I think Paterson should, without doubt, be at number 10. I don't care if that's not where he plays at club level, he's clearly the best option (and a good one at that).

  • 115.
  • At 03:06 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Fabio wrote:

Hi, is the first time i read this blog and I'm enjoing it.
I'm Italian therefore I was obviously surprised and pleased but for Italians is not maybe as surprising as for British to see a match like this. Most of players improved in the past years, they play togheter for long time and most of them play both in England and France. The entire Rugby movement in Italy is growing a lot.According to most of the British and Irish (where I live) blogs and media it was only a bad Scottish day rather then spend some good words about the opponents. I remind you a that France took 44 years to win the first 5 Nations after all. Best regards to all readers.

  • 116.
  • At 04:08 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • rugbymadlass wrote:

Hey Fabio, would like to say well done to the Italians! They kept calm, made good decisions and didn't panic- a few things our Scots could learn from. I would also like to say I agree with Hannah on a number of things. Firstly Cusiter, I am sure he is feeling sore enough right now that he doesn't need anyone else on his back. And yes we should be supporting our players not deserting them when things get tough! I am not sure though how we will do against France and Ireland, so long as we play decently well I wont be too worried.

  • 117.
  • At 04:12 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • alberto wrote:

Dear scottish rugby fans,
I completely agree with Gio: don't be too tough with your team. As an Italian, I'm very happy to see that our rugby is slowly improving and we could get an historical win, but on the other hand you represent the history of this sport, and in the course of history you have good times and bad times too. It is disappointing now, but soon you'll be back on your feet and stronger.
I hope Italy will repeat itself in the future, but we still have a long way to go.
Good luck for the next matches

  • 118.
  • At 04:17 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Ewan Wilson wrote:

Some ludicrous comments on here. Okay, Scotland had a turkey on Saturday. 21-0 down after 6 minutes is up there with the worst starts of all time but let's calm down.

I have every faith in Frank Hadden, I admire the way he promotes confidence in the XV. You can't get it right all the time but in comparison to the style of play under a certain australian previously employed by the SRU, we look much more exciting. Under the previous regime we looked more terrified of making a handling error than the opposition.

As for those calling for Cusiter and Godman's immediate exclusion, waken up. One knightmare doesn't make you an amateur. Both players are hugely talented sportsmen and regularly make outstanding contributions to whatever side they play for. I'll bet that those who jumped on this particular bandwagon are the first when we play well, to claim they knew all along about their talents. Remember, even Woodward thought Cusiter worthy of a place on the Lions tour.

It appears we need to tighten up, spend a little time practicing the basics and instill confidence moving the ball around. Our line out looked formidable. After all the criticism about our apparent inability to score tries, we seemed to manage alright, later on Saturday. Perhaps concentration on the positives is necessary with obviously, a focus on ironing out the carelessness evident with ball handling and decision making. Let's not be so quick to condemn our players, who're probably feeling very low as it is right now.

  • 119.
  • At 05:29 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Houstie wrote:

Thanks to the Italian posters who have been as gracious on this blog as they are in the 6 nations. I would be proud to support Italy & always do when they play England :-).

Calling for Hadden's resignation is terrible. The man is doing his best with the resources he has & we are too close to the WC for a new person to come in.

What Scotland have to realise is that we have minimal individual talents who can break a game. We have always relied on playing as a team & working hard to create opportunties to score. We like to play open running rugby but the mistakes at the start of the game were a result of poor decision making. I love watching Scotland play running rugby but not from inside their 22 or even before the 10m line in their half. Trying chip kicks & 50/50 pop passes is ok when you are attacking in the opponents half & have stretched the opposition through good phase play. They should have been clearing their lines in the first 10-15 mins & playing the Italians in their own half.

Unfortunately, we all know what happened & we will just have to get behind the team for the next game. We haven't turned into a terrible team overnight we just need to play smarter under pressure.

  • 120.
  • At 07:20 PM on 27 Feb 2007,
  • Bruce wrote:

Looking back at the report on the Wales game it should have been clear from the positive, but cagey, compliments on that Scottish performance that Italy might be a bigger challenge then, say, the French game with them.

The first 7 mins can't really be accounted for. You can mention a naive approach from the Scots and that would be valid. So would commentary on Cusiter's desperation passing which bordered on the suicidal.

Italy couldn't believe their luck (neither could I) and all credit, they dug in superbly and didn't fold when the gap closed to 7 points.

But with utmost respect to them, it's not really an example of your typical game. You might say no rugby game is, but from a statistical point of view, Scotland dont lose so horrendously at at Murrayfield very often, as the commentators liked to point out.

They also pointed out Paterson's kicking record. Both of these facts came under scrutiny in the game but this wasn't a game you could hold a normal discussion over.

Paterson had to push for a try in the early stages and was right to opt for touch to get a vital try. Its was only in the beginning of the second half that he should have seen the initial work was done and the right thing to do would have been to convert some penalties and see how Italy coped with that pressure early in the second half. Since we, damningly, couldn't score in the opening 20 mins of the second half, we gave them vital confidence. Proper, solid confidence, not the type you get from at least 1 lucky try.

So naive then, and maybe a little arrogant. Nevertheless Paterson was good and almost singlehandely drew Scotland back in. Whether or not he is captain material is one thing, but influential he is, and I still think Hadden has the tactical capability to stand the test at this level.

There's just not much you can do from 21-0 down, and thousands of home fans booing at you.

  • 121.
  • At 02:10 PM on 04 Mar 2007,
  • Niall Arthur wrote:

Why are people talking that back off of Chris Cusiter?? Yes he had a bad match but that doesnt give people the right to say for example is hey ready to play at this level. He is a very good player and it is brilliant how he is playin for The Borders who lose most of their games and still be able to keep his starting place in the Scotland team....cut him some slack. Congrats to Italy for playin some very good rugby, hopefully they can keep it up and show some people that they arent just here to make up numbers

  • 122.
  • At 11:21 AM on 08 Mar 2007,
  • Andrew wrote:

I have only read about half of the posts on this page and i hope i am echoing some other peoples statements by saying that some of you fairweather fans are an absolute disgrace! Saying that you are not going to watch Scotland anymore? Demanding your money back? Well keep your money and get lost then. YOU are the main problem with Scottish rugby. People who can't be bothered to go and watch rugby if they're not guaranteed a win and who throw a complete tantrum when Scotland make a few (embarassing mistakes). This is a team who defeated France and England last year and yet we couldn't find enough fans to fill murrayfield for a six nations game. It's no wonder Frank Hadden wanted to try something to get the fans on their feet and cheering. Trying to get the players to believe that they still have a country behind them probably. The SRU is on its knees and Scotland fans are threatening to abandon the game altogether? It's disgraceful! Every game that Scotland play should be a sell out and our Magners league teams should be matching the attendance of the Irish and Welsh sides. Things are getting better for Scotland with the help of Frank Hadden (People calling for his resignation need their heads looking at) but the Scottish fans have to do their bit and turn up week after week to give support to their teams and money into the SRU coffers. Mistakes have been made by the SRU in the past but this is the only team we're ever going to have so unless you fancy defecting to England just get out there and support. If you're not going to support in the dark days then consider yourself excluded from celebrating when things do go right, which they will given time. And in response to some other reactionary idiots, a player as class as Cusiter can have a couple of bad games...he does not become crap overnight.

  • 123.
  • At 07:23 PM on 08 Mar 2007,
  • arthur wrote:

The first 5 minutes was the funniest thing i've ever seen.

Ireland to rip them apart!!!!

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