Scotland (archive)

Team of the Tournament

  • Mark Orlovac
  • 20 Mar 07, 01:45 PM

m_orlavac_6666.gifLondon - So after five weekends of thrilling action, the dust has settled on another Six Nations campaign.

Before the tournament started, our team of BBC Six Nations bloggers sat down to select a combined team of the tournament and we did the same three games in.

Now hostilities have come to an end, the votes have been painstakingly counted and we can exclusively reveal what we think is our definitive starting XV.

Triple crown winners Ireland provide six of the team, with champions France and Italy having four players apiece.

Youngster David Strettle is England's only selection while Wales and Wooden Spoonists Scotland miss out altogether.

Six players from the original team have kept their places, and interestingly five of them are in the pack.

Let us know what you think of our selections, what we've got right, what we've got wrong, and let us know how your Six Nations XV would look.

Continue reading "Team of the Tournament"

Six Nations - the final verdict

  • Rob Hodgetts
  • 18 Mar 07, 10:31 AM

Rob HodgettsLondon - The 2007 Six Nations ended in controversial, joyous, heartbreaking or infuriating fashion depending on the colour of your shirt.

But there's no doubt it's been a cracker - maybe not for the actual quality of rugby but for the drama and suspense right up until the final match.

France, Ireland and England were all tied at the top of the table going into Saturday's finale, meaning every point scored, for or against, would be crucial in deciding the eventual winners.

Continue reading "Six Nations - the final verdict"

Possession the key on St Paddy's Day

  • Jim Stokes
  • 13 Mar 07, 10:14 AM

Jim Stokesire_badge.gifBelfast – Now that my very temporary support of England (for very selfish reasons you understand) has quickly evaporated in the thermals above Twickenham, I can look forward to what should be a thrilling Six Nations finale.

While I didn’t honestly think Scotland would put the wind up Ireland, I was even less convinced that England would stop the French juggernaut rolling to a Grand Slam.

But fair play to Brian Ashton’s boys - who took advantage of a French team that looked asleep for most of the game. So much so, they should have worn their pyjamas, particularly out in the three-quarters.

Continue reading "Possession the key on St Paddy's Day"

What is acceptable violence?

  • John Beattie
  • 12 Mar 07, 05:39 PM

John Beattiesco_badge.gifire_badge.gif Glasgow - Friends of mine know that I don’t like to beat about the bush. So, here goes...why did Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan accuse a Scottish player of deliberately choking one of his players? And this leads to another question: What is an acceptable level of violence on a rugby pitch?

I have been quiet on the blog over the last two weeks because defeat by Italy was hard to take. There has been much gnashing of teeth in this country, and even people with no teeth have been provided with them so that they can join in. But I left Murrayfield at the weekend with a feeling that Scotland had played much better and that they should have beaten an Irish team which turned out to be not quite as good as the hype.

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A Tale of Two Countries

  • Andrew Cotter
  • 6 Mar 07, 10:01 AM

Andrew Cottersco_badge.gifire_badge.gif "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.......... It was the spring of hope it was the winter of despair"

Two teams will meet at Murrayfield on Saturday travelling on very different paths in the rugby world.

As impressive as Ireland's win over England was, Scotland's loss to Italy was dreadful.

And as much as Ireland expect two straightforward victories to end their Six Nations, Scotland are contemplating two likely defeats.

So how can you possibly compare these two sides?

Continue reading "A Tale of Two Countries"

Super Saturday from a skewed angle

  • Sean Davies
  • 28 Feb 07, 05:59 PM

s_davies_6666.gifwal_badge.gifCardiff - There can only be one way to go after Super Saturday - the Six Nations must be expanded and taken to Spain.

Now we could have the worthy Argentina side playing from there, or we could allow the Spanish national team in to give Wales the chance of winning a game (I’m sure Scotland would throw the new boys a few tries to get them started).

But the basic plan is the only sober conclusion I can come to after witnessing Saturday’s eight-hour marathon feast from the depths of Finnegan’s genuine Irish bar in Valencia.

Continue reading "Super Saturday from a skewed angle"

Six Nations state of play

  • Phil Harlow
  • 27 Feb 07, 12:48 PM

Phil HarlowAfter the pivotal third weekend, the Six Nations table is starting to look more settled.

France are the only team who can still achieve the Grand Slam, while Wales, with three straight defeats, are looking up at the rest of the sides.

Ireland are on course for a Triple Crown, but England took a big step backwards with their massive defeat in Dublin.

Italy showed they are a genuine force in the tournament with their first ever away win over a misfiring Scotland.

I've assessed the state of play with two weekends left to go.

Continue reading "Six Nations state of play"

How was "Super Saturday" for you?

  • Bryn Palmer
  • 25 Feb 07, 12:30 PM

So the dust is beginning to settle on the Six Nations' "Super Saturday" - three games, 163 points and 16 tries.

A good day to be a rugby union fan (although England, Scotland and Wales supporters may dispute that), the middle Saturday of the tournament was a real test of endurance.

Continue reading "How was "Super Saturday" for you?"

Scotland player ratings

  • Phil Harlow
  • 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.

Continue reading "Scotland player ratings"

Is the Scottish exodus a worry?

  • John Beattie
  • 23 Feb 07, 01:18 PM

John Beattiesco_badge.gifGlasgow - The Scottish papers today had an amazing story. Rob Dewey, the powerhouse Edinburgh centre, had signed for Ulster.

One of our country’s most potent attacking weapons and a man with the best rugby years ahead of him was actually going to play across the Irish Sea.

What do you think about this? Do you need your country’s players to play in your country?

There were rumours flying around that Scott Lawson, the Glasgow hooker, had signed for Sale, the papers had already carried stories of two more Edinburgh players leaving, as well as Simon Danielli who is leaving the Borders to go to Ulster.

Continue reading "Is the Scottish exodus a worry?"

Where are the Murrayfield missing?

  • Andrew Cotter
  • 21 Feb 07, 08:46 AM

Andrew Cottersco_badge.gifNow I could talk about Scotland's team selection for the game against Italy, but it looks fairly settled. Nathan Hines is back which is fair enough and Simon Webster is out for a while which is not fair at all, but there you go.

Instead, I'd like to talk about other people who won't be there on Saturday. At the moment, about 20,000 of them.

At the time of writing (Tuesday afternoon) some 45,200 tickets have been sold. Sales are currently averaging about 1,000 a day.

So that would be fine if we could somehow squeeze a few extra days in before Saturday, but I'm told that may be impossible. A lot of paperwork involved. Special forms to be filled in.

Continue reading "Where are the Murrayfield missing?"

Does McLeish or Hadden have the harder job?

  • John Beattie
  • 20 Feb 07, 09:51 AM

John Beattiesco_badge.gifI wonder who has a harder job, a football manager or a rugby manager? In fact, let’s get down to it, which is the better game, soccer-type football or rugby football? I think rugby is.

It was arranged for Scottish rugby boss Frank Hadden and football counterpart Alex McLeish to have lunch the other day, in a rather nice little bistro on Hanover street in Edinburgh.

Rather than sit with them, Andy Gillies (Five Live’s supremo north of the border) and I thought it would be a good idea if we just left them to have lunch together and then interviewed them afterwards.

And it was interesting - you can listen to it here

Continue reading "Does McLeish or Hadden have the harder job?"

Should Murrayfield alcohol ban be lifted?

  • Andrew Cotter
  • 16 Feb 07, 09:18 AM

Andrew Cottersco_badge.gifWhat was missing from last weekend's game between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield?

Tries? Max Boyce? A general feeling of well-being? (Wales fans only)

All good and true answers, but not the one which I'm looking for, which is, alcohol.

Oh, I'm sure there was a hip flask or two (thousand) being put to proper use inside Murrayfield and I'm also sure that plenty had been purchased from the pubs and tents around the ground before the 3.30pm kick-off.

Inside the ground, though, you could buy not a drop.

Continue reading "Should Murrayfield alcohol ban be lifted?"

Breaking the spell

  • Rob Hodgetts
  • 15 Feb 07, 09:58 AM

Rob HodgettsLondon - I can't quite decide how I feel this morning. Not about life in general, though that's got me unusually stumped too, but about whether it's a good thing there's no Six Nations this weekend.

By this time, we're normally upping the ante and starting to salivate over the weekend's clashes.

The teams have been named, the coaches and captains are in the process of delivering their final news conferences and we, the fans, are easing into our familiar pre-match routine of talking a load of old cobblers at each other until 30 seconds before kick-off.

Continue reading "Breaking the spell"

Jamming with Chris Cusiter

  • John Beattie
  • 13 Feb 07, 05:46 PM


Here's another photo from the Hearts and Balls charity bash we held at the Jam House in Edinburgh after Scotland beat Wales.

Scotland scrum-half Chris Cusiter is on guitar in the foreground rocking the house down.

Why does home advantage make a difference?

  • John Beattie
  • 12 Feb 07, 11:50 AM

John Beattiesco_badge.gifI seek knowledge. Could someone please explain to me the concept of home advantage? Eh? What is it all about?

Why do teams playing on a piece of turf that is 100m by 70m and largely identical to any other such piece of turf produce a more formidable performance if it is “at home”.

Hoarse, tired, happy. That’s how it feels after you’ve won, and all I was doing was a commentary!

Having been at Murrayfield on Saturday and marvelled at how a Scottish rugby team with such a paucity of comparative resources can beat a Welsh team, life is a bit sweeter.

Continue reading "Why does home advantage make a difference?"

Hail the Welsh invasion

  • Andrew Cotter
  • 9 Feb 07, 12:04 PM

Andrew CotterEdinburgh - They are coming………..

Friday morning - I have arrived in Edinburgh and already they are everywhere.

Legions of them, bringing strange sounds and songs. They are unstoppable. Soon they will take control of the city and Rose Street will run red.

No pub is safe. Flee while you can.

So, is it still true that Welsh fans travel in greater number to Edinburgh than they do for any other 6 Nations game?

Continue reading "Hail the Welsh invasion"

So much for technology

  • Martin Conaghan - BBC Scotland Sport journalist
  • 7 Feb 07, 05:21 PM

Martin ConaghanOnly last week, I made my first post here on the Six Nations blog, and sang the praises of the tournament - in particular, the technology employed to make it a more interesting spectacle.

I'm not going to waste my time by debating a moot point, but how ironic was it that the very technology I singled out for praise was to become the most controversial aspect in the Calcutta Cup match at Twickenham?

Whether you think the Television Match Official called Jonny Wilkinson's try rightly, or wrongly, the technology which produced the action replay appeared to have been largely ignored.

Of course, the match was over as a contest by that stage, so it's all academic anyway.

Ultimately, what it proves is not the inefficiency of computers, cameras or microphones, but the fallibility of human beings, even when faced with fairly incontrivertible evidence.

Unfortunately, all the computers in the world won't change intransigence.

But I'm not bitter. Let's just hope the TMO is wearing his prescription specs on Saturday.

Good Godman. Or good God man!

  • Andrew Cotter
  • 7 Feb 07, 12:00 PM

Andrew Cottersco_badge.gifLondon - I'm not going to write much since I'm deep in the middle of preparing for the Scotland v Wales game on Saturday and about to listen to the Wales team announcement which I'm sure will be given plenty of discussion.

So what about that Scotland team, eh?

More or less the changes expected I suppose and when Frank Hadden prefers Phil Godman to Dan Parks, you know he wants to play a slightly more open game of rugby. But is he Scotland's best option at number 10?

Rob Dewey coming in? Few could argue with that for a bit of pace and finishing power. Is Marcus Di Rollo's passing ability enough to merit a recall?

Simon Webster and Nikki Walker - how many would like to see their very different running abilities feature on the wing at some stage?

Plenty to discuss so with that I'll return to finding out how many Jones' I have to confuse on Saturday and throw it open to the floor........

England v Scotland player ratings

  • James Standley
  • 3 Feb 07, 07:45 PM

James Standley eng_badge.gifTwickenham - After witnessing at first hand England's Calcutta Cup victory, here are my ratings for the players of both sides.

Let me know if you agree or disagree below this post.

Continue reading "England v Scotland player ratings"

Can football learn from the Six Nations?

  • Martin Conaghan - BBC Scotland Sport journalist
  • 2 Feb 07, 01:30 PM

Three main things strike me about rugby, and the Six Nations in particular.

The first is the general level of interest in the tournament in recent years. With BBC coverage on television, interactive and radio - and billboards across the country promoting the tournament - it's difficult to avoid mention of the forthcoming matches, or fail to be even mildly hyped by the thrilling prospect of an event like the Calcutta Cup.

The second is the general organisation of the tournament. Speaking as an outsider, the Six Nations presents as a well-organised, well-attended and generally popular event. Crowd trouble is almost non-existent and the over-enthusiastic horse-play from players which characterised the game in the past is being gradually phased out of the game by the introduction of sensible rules and strict sanctions.

Continue reading "Can football learn from the Six Nations?"

Is the Six Nations value for money?

  • Stevie Miller - BBC Scotland Sport journalist
  • 28 Jan 07, 03:38 PM

sco_badge.gifsco_badge.gifGlasgow - The cost of rugby matches is a constant source of debate - I've certainly done my share of moaning at the price of a ticket - but does it really cost too much to see your country?

In the interests of science, and after shaking my head in disbelief that people paid £61 to watch Arsenal v Tottenham last week, I thought a little comparison between different sports would show up whether the Six Nations represents value for money or a rip-off.

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Do we need nationalistic rivalry?

  • John Beattie
  • 26 Jan 07, 06:00 PM

John Beattiesco_badge.gifGlasgow - Are rugby fans more aggressive toward each other now? Especially this silly nonsense between small-minded Scots and equally small-minded English fans?

Do I sense that in some of the postings here, and do I see it and hear it at weekends?

Do we really dislike each other because someone, a long time ago, drew a line in the ground, called it a border, and persuaded us all that those across it were different?

When I was a kid I went to Murrayfield to watch the internationals. I think I can say, hand on heart, that I looked forward to the (then) Five Nations like an excited child anticipating a first bike for Christmas.

Continue reading "Do we need nationalistic rivalry?"

About Martin Conaghan

  • Martin Conaghan - BBC Scotland Sport journalist
  • 26 Jan 07, 09:06 AM

Martin Conaghansco_badge.gifI work as a producer on BBC Sport's website in Glasgow. I have to admit my main passion is Scottish football, but I also have a big interest in blogging.

So I'll be approaching this year's Six Nations from the perspective of an armchair spectator who can't tell the difference between a fly-half and drop-kick...

Outside of the BBC, I spend far too much time on the internet, usually searching for obscure websites and seeking out absurd facts, so expect some rugby ephemera in the coming weeks.

I'm also going to side with the bookies for my championship tip, and anger my fellow countrymen and colleagues by picking Ireland for the trophy.

Should rugby be played in the summer?

  • John Beattie
  • 25 Jan 07, 10:38 AM

John Beattie Glasgow - I got into the trusty Saab today on a bright, crisp morning and thought: “What a flaming lovely day. It feels good to be alive.”

This was just before I started chittering and grabbed a cd cover to scrape the ice off the front windscreen. Inside the car the temperature gauge registered -3 degrees. Minus three! Is this really rugby-playing weather?

Now, I write this because I coach West of Scotland rugby team up here North of Hadrian’s Wall, and we shall be training tonight on a surface that will, at best, be described as “crispy”.

Continue reading "Should rugby be played in the summer?"

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