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Scots win will breed confidence

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John Beattie | 12:22 UK time, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Is being small, sometimes, an advantage? I don't mean physically, but if you know you only have, let's say, two stand-offs to choose from, might that give you an advantage over England who, for all I know, may have 12?

Has the small squad system proved that two teams, Edinburgh and Glasgow, can get the key talent training properly without stretching resources?

It's a tale of what might have been: Scotland should have ended up second in the championship with just the one loss to France.

Man of the match Dan Parks scored Scotland's winning penalty against IrelandAll salute Dan Parks, who I'm delighted I picked out at the start of the campaign as someone who would be key.

Parks will be a massive loss to Glasgow and an asset to Cardiff.

I'm only delighted really because I know I can be wildly out like the rest of us. Oh, and did you think the booing of Parks and his last kick added or detracted from the suspense and the spectacle?

And, as my son is included, I will be as straight as I can about the back-row: they were good and part of being good in any Scottish back-row comes from being forced to perform, as you know there are lads breathing down your neck.

The bigger picture, though, tells of a growing confidence in all phases of the game from lineout to scrum and from tackle to kick chase.

There is certainly something happening in the Scotland squad.

Andy Robinson has been very patient; take for instance Graeme Morrison who was trusted to find his form and did just that.

But back to my earlier point. Ireland has four "proud" provinces, but it didn't seem to give them an advantage.

Maybe we don't need three teams after all, and maybe small is beautiful - unless you count the queue for the back-row of course...


  • Comment number 1.

    John - maybe you should go away more often. :-)

    Think the whole team were immense but some key standouts. Dan Parks, the killer Bs (Brown, Beattie and Barclay) and Morrison. Those guys were world class in a team that seems to have found some self belief. They now know how to win, how to beat a good team away from home. As you said there should only have been a loss to France this year but the team is on a learning curve especially when it comes down to closing a game down in a winning position. We need to regroup, get all our injured players fit and draft in a few younsters and show that we have progressed. Argentina will be hard but I do believe they cna go there and win.

    To the Scottish team - well done lads. You made us proud.

  • Comment number 2.

    Some might argue that parks going to Cardiff might be bad for us but I think it is excellent for Scotland, hopefully Jackson will get the game time he needs to develop into the player we all hope him to be.

    Apart from the win yesterday the biggest positives I think we can take from the game were our set pieces. We have had the best line out on the whole tournament, and us destroying the Irish one yesterday proves that we have the best in the NH. The scrum was also amazing.

    I really think that this could be a great platform for us to grow from, just a shame the next international are going to be far away. totally agree we should have finished 2nd with the triple crown.

  • Comment number 3.

    I don't think we can say yesterday's result means two teams are better than four. But it does show that we don't need four to compete, and to beat other decent sides. All heartening stuff. Another fine display from Beattie Jr, and Dan Parks got the backs moving a bit better as well as doing what he does so well in the kicking department.

    On another point, do you know why we always have the same combination of home and away games every two years? France have won 6 Nations championships in even years only, I believe, as those are the years when they play us and Italy away, and England, Wales, Ireland at home. I know they didn't win at Murrayfield for ages, but couldn't it throw up some different results if the home/away fixtures were juggled every 6 or 10 years?

  • Comment number 4.

    In my previous comment, the 'for ages' was referring to the mid-80s and 90s.

  • Comment number 5.

    John: I’ve been saying this for a while now; Scotland, because we have only two pro teams, doesn’t have to spread the selection net too far and wide to catch all of the emerging talent and this works in our favour. England on the other hand has almost too many teams to put under the selection microscope. However, we still need one more pro-team, when affordable, to develop the fringe talent.

    Yes…a much improved performance from Scotland over the last two games. Of particular note was the great work in the set pieces, particularly the line-out work and, especially in the Ireland game, more attacking rugby with ball-in-hand from our backs.

    We still need greater cutting edge and better finishing from our backs and to that point; I would highlight Edinburgh’s Robertson and Visser to get the hot-house development treatment. They are both excellent finishers who have a nose for the try-line. I have heard that Robertson’s defence has been an issue although personally I haven’t seen any problem with it. (Perhaps you can shed some light?) Visser, of course still has to become eligible through residency and I understand that he’s getting a bit of pressure both from the Dutch union and his father (I wonder which is more influential, again, I’m certain you can shed some light?), to play for Holland. Both of them would provide a much needed edge to our finishing!

    In addition, my pick for future out-half is Climo, whom you would know from Ayr. I would hope that he’s encouraged towards a pro contract with Glasgow, so that he can develop as an alternative to Parks, who has a couple of good seasons left in him for Scotland. Climo is also subject to the eligibility clause. I think he becomes a resident in a year or so.

    Do you agree with anything I have said? Pray tell!

  • Comment number 6.

    The back row were good?
    John the back row were outstanding! They really were the powerhouse behind a lot of the Scotland performances and young Johnnie certainly has done you proud! Barclay is also a very exciting prospect as is Brown who has really stepped up to the plate this tournament.

    Dan the man certainly has proven a lot of people wrong although I had a feeling judging by his previous form at Glasgow that he'd really step up and Morrison has done incredibly well to respond to a lot of criticism (my own included).

    I've also been impressed with DeLuca, as he's clearly worked on the weaknesses of his game and thought he completely snuffled out the Irish centre pairing which was key to our victory.

    I'm disappointed that neither Beattie, Parks, Brown or Barclay have been named as nominees for players of the tournament because they really do deserve more credit especially considering Parks got 3 MoM awards in 4 games!

    Agree with you on most parts, although I still think the booing isn't really in the spirit of good sportsmanship but crowds will be crowds, and international rugby is very different in terms of atmos.

    I think we have a lot to look forward to in Scottish rugby and although on paper our stats don't look good, we're making fine progress and I can't wait until autumn!

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Agree with that last point. The backrow were outstanding and have been all tournament. Any ideas John why Scotland have always produced outstanding backrow forwards. We could probably put out 2 or 3 units that can compete and we have been doing it since the late 70's early 80's?

    Can't believe Ireland who were in trouble at the lineout kept throwing it to the tail and using their open-side David Wallace as a lifter. Barclay won about 3 or 4 lineouts from over throws. That was school boy stuff at best.

    Must admit though would love to see rucking back. It would speed the game up and stop these dreadfull yellow cards that are deciding games. I know they are a necessary but alot would not occur if rucking was brought back. Can't remember how many times this tournamnet hands on the ball have been pinged. At least let players ruck the ball if nothing else.

    Also alot was made of our scrum this game with Murray taking most of the plaudits but Alan Jacobson deserves the same. Much of the disruption was caused by him. He had one of his best games for Scotland and was immense in the loose with ball in hand and hitting rucks.

    Can remember playing against him a few times years ago when he was at Preston Lodge for Linlithgow and thinking he would go on to play for Scotland, he was just as big back then when he was 16 or 17. He's slowed down a bit becuse he used to be very quick for a prop with ball in hand. Was a nightmare to tackle!!

    Lots to look forward to though. Hope this squad can stay together and build for next 6 Nations and World cup. Unlike most of the other teams this is by and large a young team with great potential for the future.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think one more team wouldn't do any harm for Scotland, this would allow for more game time for some key positions. Our two main standoffs Parks and Godman play for the two teams, which means they will obviously be picked (as there are no scottish standoffs playing in any other countries). Another team would mean the likes of Jackson could get more game time and time to develop, the same for all other positions.
    I know some people have been saying Parks going to Cardiff will be our loss. I don't. I think it will do two things, Jackson will obviously get some much needed game time at a more consitent rate rather than coming on as a sub or a game here or there. I also think that Cardiff may develop Park's game in terms of his handling and bringing the rest of the backs in, you never know he may even have a few runs himself.
    Well done to the whole team, barr a few who I wont mention....oh go on then, Scott Lawson and Phil Godman the main culprits.
    John I know you have to be impartial but come on 'the back row were good' They were fantastic! And your boy has done you and your family and the whole of Scotland proud. Simon Taylor.....who is he?
    Bring on Argentina and the AI's and for next years SN and RWC.
    Jeezo my first post and its a big un, away for a lie down now!!

    Over and out

  • Comment number 10.

    It's funny what a difference a tear makes. How many Scots would be in a Lions squad now? Man of the Match or no, I still wouldn't make Parks my first choice for the Lions, by a long chalk, and I wouldn't be considering Godman at all, so that says all it has to about the limitations of having two teams. (Stephen Jones would be my first choice, without question.)

    Perhaps a revival of London Scottish would still work, though I would prefer to concentrate on younger players for a few years. The risk will always be that they want to move on, but the more players we have, the more choice we have. Whether or not Jackson is the solution at 10 for Scotland in future, we will find out. Would we with Parks having assumed command at 10 for Glasgow? How different would Scotland's tactics have been without Parks? Remember we weren't exactly crushed by a very good France in the first game, so we still have some ability without the funny sideburns on the pitch.

  • Comment number 11.

    That was supposed to read what a difference a year makes, not a tear. Doh!

  • Comment number 12.

    First of all well done Scotland! We put away a good Irish team there and it wasn't done through luck, it was through determination, graft but most of all ability, proving the doubters (myself included) wrong.

    The player of the tournament issue is a contentious one - I couldn't believe voting had opened before the final round of fixtures. I certainly feel there is a case for Parks (with 3 MOTM) and Beattie to be on that list and I personally don't think Basteraud should be on there. Sure he had a good game and a half at the start but after that he had numerous handling errors and was posted missing defensively for Foden's try. Overrated I would say.

    The pro team issue is going to run and run I think and in my opinion we are probably better with 2 teams at the moment as I simply don't see how a 3rd team could by viably run on a financial basis. Sure it may give us the benefit of being able to blood some youth (like Connacht in Ireland) but if you are going to do it, it has to be done properly and that is the issue at the moment.

    On the fly-half debate, I think Dan Parks' move to Cardiff can only help both him and help our pool of players. He will certainly benefit from playing under a different coaching set-up and with a different set of backs and it will allow Jackson some more game time and maybe allow some younger players to step up into the professional sphere (Alex Blair, Frazier Climo being the obvious ones.) On the subject of Climo's residency (of course assuming he wants to play for us in the first place) am I right in thinking he isn't eligible until 2012 though there is some debate because of a hiatus he took back in NZ last summer?

    The key for us now is to put in a strong tour to Argentina and try and develop some momentum. Away wins are hard to come by in world rugby so Saturday is a great platform. I just hope Andy Robinson and co. can build - remember Frank Hadden had 3 wins in his first 6N......

  • Comment number 13.

    Well done the Scottish team!!!!! Very proud and hopeful for the future!!

    I agree with pd122125, thought Jacobsen played a blinder - was immense in the loose and solid in the scrum. I think Ford has really come on this season too - throwing in much improved and better in broken play taking the ball up well. Needless to say, our back row was superb - Johnnie Beattie especially. Still can't work out how he burst three Irish players (Murphy, O'Connell !!! and D'Arcy no less) to get the ball over the line. Awesome! Parks has been brilliant - I'm feeling bad about stuff I've said in the past, happy to take it all back. Morrison has made me eat my words too. Before the last two games I didn't think he was capable of outplaying his opposite number at International level but he did exactly that against Flutey and D'Arcy (and others before probably, I've just been too stubborn to accept it). All of them - excellent!!

    I think just one more Scottish based pro team would do us good. It could be set up with a mandate of focusing on youth talent and second-stringers who otherwise would be warming the benches at Edinburgh or Glasgow. Give them game time experience in the Magner's League, assuming the team's inclusion. Easier said than done of course given the £££ it'd take!!

    I don't think we need to have all our talent playing in Scotland though. As long as our players are getting game time at the highest club levels and experience alongside and against top flight players then surely that's good enough.

  • Comment number 14.

    Great win but very little being said about the blatant forward pass for the first Irish try, a referee of Kaplan's experience should not have missed that. However, that said, a tremendous performance by the team especially by Ewan Murray who proved that he is one of the world's great tight-heads. We celebrated by having a large malt afterwards, it just happened to be Irish! The team has certainly improved throughout the tournament but the proof will be how we play on tour in the summer. It would be nice to see some fringe and younger players given an opportunity. If you are good enough age should not matter as Wales proved again at the weekend.

  • Comment number 15.

    John, are you sure you weren't a wee bit drunk writing this?

    Scotland produced their only 80 minute performance against an Irish team having their poorest day of the year so far, and they squeaked home after Ireland squandered a number of kicking opportunities that would have put the game away.

    Scotland should now be the proud owners of the wooden spoon.

  • Comment number 16.

    Bernard, the most appropriate response to your post would not get passed by the moderators.

  • Comment number 17.

    Bernard - what rot

    They out played Ireland and forced them to have a bad day. Our back row took apart one of the best back rows in the NH and our line out destroyed theirs, again one of the best around

    We destroyed their scrum and got little reward for it (Did any one notice that although the irish front row got penalised about 10 times, we did not get one penalty for it. Just free kicks. In any other game it would have been, free kick, free kick, penality, yellow card. These penalties would have given us the kicks to put the game away.)

    We of course had two calls against us in the scrum, both instant penalties - strange that

    Our backs competed well, and made line breaks

    Their first try should not have been allowed as it was clearly forward

    So Bernard - you must be a WUM

    Great performance from the team and I look forward to it continuing

  • Comment number 18.

    Bernard, I refer you to your comment after the English match "you should be gracious in defeat" and "a win is a win, by one point" or more.
    Yes sometimes things don't go a teams, way, you missed a few kicks but then again the first try was a forward pass, so you got to take the good luck with the bad, I think us Scots are the best people to understand this, but still I don't think our victory was down to luck.
    Well done guys!

  • Comment number 19.

    John - I'd agree with most of the comments above about how well everyone played on Saturday, and indeed how well we've played - for periods - in the other games. What a great feeling the winning feeling is!

    On the subject of selection and only two teams I've a couple of thoughts.
    (1) Having a third pro team would hardly change our status of being "small." So I'd agree with the comments above that a third team - in the right conditions - would be good. I put in the proviso of right conditions as we did, not all that long ago, have three teams and well ...did we set the heather on fire? Key to being able to have a third team is for the SRu and the two existing pro teams to tap into the enthusiasm that there is for rugby, especially during the 6 nations. Where are all the people who filled Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup when Glasgow or Edinburgh are playing at home? It's embarrassing to look at the Magner's League stats on best supported teams. If we are to compete (at both international and Magners and European levels) then we need more paying punters doing their bit to support rugby development (at it's many levels) in Scotland. I'd like to see crowds for home Magners games average over 5k rather than 4 1/2 for Ed and just under 4 for Glasgow.

    (2) If winning is a habit, then we need our international players to be playing in winning teams week in and week out. Which is just another way of saying that we need our pro-teams where the majority of our guys are playing to be competitive and places where a winning culture in cultivated. There's no point, in my opinion, of having three teams is all we do is prop up the bottom of the Magners league! That can't be good for player development or confidence.

    (3) Having a small group of players to choose from is only a problem if your not that good at being a selector. Is this the subtext of your post John? It's certainly been a critique of AR by other in the past. That said, I think AR is the right guy for the job, so here's hoping that he continues to have a positive influence on Scottish rugby and gets the best out of our players.

  • Comment number 20.

    Doh ...point (3) should read, "Having a large group of players to choose from is only a problem if your not that good at being a selector."

  • Comment number 21.

    Yehaa! Ooooh doolally! I ve been waiting for a result like this for a while.

    I ve been saying it for three or so years....beware the my friends in all the other nations.

    The evidence has been there for all to see:
    - best prof club performances in Magners league to date last season
    - some epic victories away and home in the Hieneken Cup
    - international performances against South Africa the autumn before last and the Argies that Summer as well plus Australia.
    - best sevens season on record last season
    - London Scottish creeping up the leagues
    - Scotland A side winning international comps
    - Junior sides - u20s etc - producing some classy rugby and a few results as well.

    As for the weekend - welldone the boys!!! Dan Parks - hero. The Killer Bs would fit a Lions loose three right now - I can pick anyone out of the Home Nations sides who was equal to them. Only the Irish three and Warbutton? would be competing and we did them so?

    I now take a large portion of humble pie! And seconds! Graeme Morrison - wow - he finally took steps forward with real vigour and some speed as well. He hit the line without braking which is what he used to do. I also noticed the brutality of scots in the ruck - we were like the Argies and Italians - reallu hurling ourselves into them - brilliant!

    I haven't seen a Scots line function so well in years - simply in terms of getting the ball wide - Southwell me thinks was instrumental - so much so that i think with Lamont or Paterson on it could have been a different story - we may have won by even more or maybe lost? Southwell's kicking was superb and a great second option to relieve pressure from Parks. De Luca was solid as well.

    I wish Cusiter had shown up a bit more. And despite the success of our startig front three - Dickinson worries me as a replacement - i would like to see some youngsters brought on more over the rest of the season and over the summer. Thats the one area i think we are lacking in except flyhalf.

    A special mention to the second row as well. Jim Hamilton and Al Kellock have been truly superb in the open, in the scrum but especially at the lineout.I don't know what the final stats were but going into the last match in which our linout dominated we were top of the lineout table! I ve never seen Hamilton so energised as he was in Croke Park esp with ball in hand and in offering support. He was first to Beattie (or second) when he went over. Al Kellock - what a leader - what a warrior - put his body on the line so many times - never stops running - hero.

    Lamont boucing tackles like nobody else.

    So happy. Robinson got his tactics, calls, training perfect so often - it was just a jolt that Scotland needed - now we've had it - tallyhoo!

  • Comment number 22.

    And as for Bernard - i agree with Ally Gory! Anyhow Parks missed two as well so ya boo sucks to you!

  • Comment number 23.

    Congratulations to all the boys who dug deep to get an extremely well deserved win at Croke Park on Saturday!

    John, I would have to pin-point your son Johnnie as being Scotlands top performer of the 6 Nations! His vision to run great supporting lines and ability to run them hard was exciting to watch. However, I don't think he would have stood out as much if it weren't for the boys around him. Scotland have been working well together throughout the championship, but often the line has been broken (usually by the 3 B's) and there hasn't been the support there, for them to either go on and score, or simply retain possession. This did not happen on Saturday, with the try being scored because of the brilliant support runners keeping up with the initial break.

    Things are looking promising for what is still a developing Scotland team, lets hope they don't lose their mojo and carry this Superb performance into the Autumn tests and next years 6 Nations!

  • Comment number 24.

    Lions Squad leaving tomorrow

    Scottish candidates:

    Euan Murray
    Ross Bull - Ford
    Allan Jacobsen
    Al - the Warrior - Kellock
    Kelly - B 1 - Brown
    John - B 2 - Barclay
    Johnnie - B 3 - Beattie

    Backs harder to judge due to injuries et al.
    But probs
    - a Lamont
    - an Evans
    - Hugo Southwell?
    - Cuister and Blair - potentials but need from them.

    I forgot to praise Ford for his lineout work - superb - Scotland had the best lineout statistically in the championship.

  • Comment number 25.

    John, your blogs are becoming tiresome. I would apologise for my 1st post being so critical but what a load of rubbish. Parks won't be a big loss to Glasgow or a big gain to Cardiff. Do you think they will now go win the Heineken Cup? Will Glasgow be able to make any less progress in the HC? It has taken Parks this long to become a good "kicking" fly half...Glasgow don't want to have to spend that long grooming Jackson!!!
    People talk about his distribution here, playing at the gain-line...
    Scotland never looked in danger of scoring a try until an Irish mistake, there were no flowing moves or defence splitting passes...

    It says a lot about a team/nation that they're happy to think they "could've/should've" come 2nd. Ireland were desperately disappointed to be second. You're demonstrating "english fever". This being my diagnosis into the condition that seems to make England think that they are worthy candidates for winning the football world cup every time they qualify for the finals!!! But we all know how it ends up...

    I just feel everyone here is being far too short sighted. Yes Scotland are looking better, but they have always had some very talented players. No one in this team was making their debut. They've all played before. What's changed? Could it be that there is (once again) a "hangover" from the lions tour in the players that were most prominent on the tour...Ireland, Wales, England.

    The main stars being O'Driscoll, Roberts, Phillips, Simon Shaw, Kearney..
    None of these players shone in the 6 nations and there are obviously a good deal more that could be mentioned.

    You lost to Italy...
    Does that not say enough?

    And to get to your "Booing" point. OMG. Let it go John, you know when you have been beaten, your blog has been ridiculed throughout the media and the general public. You like to see booing, if it did add anything to the atmosphere it is because the rest of the kicks had been respected throughout the wasn't the incessant wolf whistling of Murrafield. The booing occured, to start with as the fans felt it was an unfair penalty not consistent with the ref's previous interpretation of the breakdown and then as they felt Parks was deliberately running down the clock...

    So thanks again John, for irritating me immensely.

    P.s. Can i say what a delight it was to hear the professional, unbiased and informative commentary of Andrew Cotter and Phillip Matthews on saturday!!!

    John if you can do anything useful for us, would you please please please try and get Brian and Eddie sacked, they were simply terrible this wkend and its truly a sad day that they are considered worthy carrying on where dear Bill left off!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    The win was no more than the team deserved for their improvement since last year. The fact that there was a draw and two close defeats points to a potentially much better finish but best not to dwell on that. Plenty of positives to take forward into the summer and an opportunity to get some of the young untested talent some game time perhaps? The fact the tests are in Argentina and may be ones that could be deemed only winnable if our first choice team is playing makes me think that the tried and tested will only appear in the tests.

    Loved the irony, given the furore over those loutish Scottish fans and their disrepsectful booing, DPs last kick was met with something many times worse and he plugged it. Got the feeling he rather enjoyed it.

    Puts to bed the notion that the Irish fans are respectful of kickers, though.

  • Comment number 27.

    Tony, you couldn't be more wrong about the booing. One swallow doesn't make a summer. And i think you'll find the "Booing" at Murrayfield is better described as caterwauling...
    You'll also find the "furore" wasn't over the scottish fans, but the absurdity that someone as prominent in the rugby world as John Beatie would condone such behaviour...

  • Comment number 28.

    Tom Quin,

    I assume that you are not Scottish?
    Can you not understand that a small nation such as Scotland has to show optimism in order to encourage support for our sports teams, yet at the same time we do not want to be unrealistic! I mean who was going to stop the French this year!?

    In my opinion, Scotlands loss to Italy was a blow, yet, not as embarrasing as everyone made it out to be! Italy (although recieving the wooden spoon again) had a good Six Nations, and are getting better every year. Their work rate is high, and if any team faced them half-heartedly they would lose! At times Italy look quite a handy team!

    On the booing topic: I don't really agree with booing in rugby, as mentioned in the previous blog, good sportsmanship is a factor seperating Rugby from Football. Although your justification for Dan Parks being booed is un-noteworthy! The ref paid attention to the clock as Dan (with a professional head on him) cleverly used up as much of his allotted time as possible before kicking the ball. And the boos in actual fact, I think made him more determined to kick that goal! Well done Croke Park! :D

    As for the "hangover" from the Lions tour..... What a load of codswallop, simply used as a distraction to the fact that some of the outstanding players of the tournament were actually Scottish (noteably the 3 B's, Jacobsen, and Dan Parks). Say what you like about Dan Parks, if you can find a better man to control the game at 10 for Scotland, then please let Mr Robinson know! ;0)

  • Comment number 29.

    "Where are all the people who filled Murrayfield for the Calcutta Cup when Glasgow or Edinburgh are playing at home?"

    Sitting in Aberdeen (and other parts of Scotland) wishing we had a pro team nearby to support!!!

  • Comment number 30.


    Someone got out the wring side of the bed!! Caterwauling, first time it's been called that. My point which, a bit like the Irish s/o, you missed, was that there was a myriad of holier than thou preaching about how Ireland fans never boo. Well, unless my ears deceived me, they did and it was more than caterwauling. But, hey, it was to show there disgust at the penalty decision or was it because Parks took too long? I'm sure there is another reason in there too I'll give you some more time to think of one.
    I'm sure Mr Beattie is most upset that he has an opinion on something that goes against your Corinthian beliefs. I though freedom of expression was allowed?

    Scotland may have spoiled the Irish party, we may, in your opinion have been lucky, and we may be getting carried away with its significance. So what. We were extremely unlucky in other games in respect of poor refereeing decisions that had a significant impact on the game, we got a break in one game. A 3 point break as opposed to the 7 pointer gifted by the ref to the Irish from a pass that Dan Marino would have been proud of.

    As for you post Lions argument - what nonsense. A convenient excuse. I seem to recall Scotland, when they had a decent representation on such tours, came back better players and won a Grand Slam and championships in the years following.

    You're just coming across as a bad loser, either that or someone who is never happy.

    Me, I'm happy we got a win that our play over the season merited, I'm not getting carried away. DP is good at a very limited game plan, he frustrates me with his limited passing game but he is the best we have right now. The win is a vindication of the coach and his style of play and will provide confidence going forward.

    Cheer up a bit though, eh.

  • Comment number 31.

    Mr Barrie, I think we are on the same wavelength, good response! :D

  • Comment number 32.

    Bernard @ 15, it's negatively minded nae sayers like you that suck the life out this world. Must be tough being you.

    Tom @ 25, ditto.

    We should be celebrating!!! And if you're not Scottish then shame on you for trying to spoil our party!

    I'm a realist and see there's along way still to go. However, you're both ignoring the fact that Scotland won away from home against the reigning grand slam 6N champions who are not accustomed to losing. We did it by outplaying them.

    A win like this (which I think outweighs any of our recent wins at home to England) will give our team and management confirmation that they're on the right path. I'm pretty optimistic too - summer tour, autumn tests, 6N 2011 and on to the World Cup!!!

    By the by... I noticed a lot of rugby balls being thrown about in my local park yesterday. Amazing what a good win can do!

    Ken @ 29, is there really enough rugby support in the north east to sustain another pro team? From my time up there it seemed rugby was a long long way behind football in terms of supporter numbers.

  • Comment number 33.

    Tony @ 30, nice one. "..a pass the Dan Marino would be proud of." Class.

  • Comment number 34.

    With regards to Ken's request for a pro team in Aberdeen, and Aidan's response questioning the level of support for rugby in the area. (see posts 29 and 32)

    I have attended both international matches played at Pittodrie in recent years (Barbarians and Canada) both of which Scotland won, and seem to remember almost a full house on both occasions. Certainly there was more support than that which turns up for Aberdeen FC!

    I am a strong believer that the Rugby up North is not given enough support from the SRU, which I experience first hand as a playing member of Aberdeenshire RFC. There is huge potential for rugby up here, yet a lot of the talent is being drawn to the Central belt, as this is where you get noticed! Quality players brought up in the area include Moray Low, Ruaridh Jackson, Chris Cusiter, Jason White. And there are many up and coming youngsters in the National Academy.

    With more attention placed on the North East Rugby I am sure there would be even more names to add to the list below. However I can't see any action happening any time soon!

  • Comment number 35.

    Tom Quin,

    We all know Parks isn’t Dan Carter, but I don’t think anyone is actually saying that, as you seem to suggest. He is being congratulated on a good tournament and your attempts to shoot him down baffle me. Why?

    As for your comment: "It says a lot about a team/nation that they're happy to think they "could've/should've" come 2nd."

    Ironically I think your choice of words in this comment says more about you, none of which is flattering.

    I don’t think anyone here is being too short sighted, I think as a Scotland fan you learn to enjoy your wins more as you never know when the next win will come around, (see also Aberdeen FC). I think alot of the joy comes from taking a step forward for once and being able to use a great win against a very good Irish side as a springboard. Weather or not that happens no one knows.

    Maybe you are over analysing it a bit with regards to a Lions Hangover, are we meant to apologize for the fact we beat them because they were tired after being on tour.

    Regarding the boo-ing, it doesn’t bother me, I like it as it adds too the spice and the atmosphere. And it was interesting to see in the Ireland game when the chips were down they succumbed to the boo-ing also. You can dress it up any way you want but they still boo-ed... good for them I say, shows passion for your country.

    Overall I found your comment rather negative a blatant attempt to attack something that was good, for some strange reason only known to yourself.

    But after all that I agree with you on one point, regarding the excellent work of Andrew Cotter and Phillip Matthews. Brian Moore and Jonathon Davies should take note.

  • Comment number 36.

    Well done Scotland for FINALLY getting a WIN!! :-D And we even did it with a great try!

    It is an interesting idea bringing in another pro team in Scotland. As well as all the above comments about bringing new players into the pro game, it would also mean that there is REAL competition for places, the guys in the squad will have no time for complacency and hopefully will work their utmost to stay on top form (Look what happened to Jason White in his last few games as captain, he wasn't playing particularly well but was kept on at the top). That is where teams like Wales have an advantage, there are some top class backs on the bench that keep the likes of Byrne, Hook, Jones and Halfpenny all working hard for their place.

    Where to slot this team in? Well I reckon it would either need to be Aberdeen/Inverness type direction, or maybe a Borders side could be established? Certainly plenty rugby history in the likes of Melrose and Hawick....

    As it stands, I think Parks has redeemed himself hugely. I think it is not just about Dan himself however, the coaching ethos that Robinson has brought in has helped transform our backs. I think Hadden's under ambitious tactics and defensive style of play left Parks to slip into (or encouraged perhaps!) the kicking style that comes naturally to him. All well and god when he is kicking well, but there was too many times when he wasn't and it cost us games.
    This 6N, the combination of finding some form and being coached into a more balanced (relatively speaking) no. 10 has made a massive difference to our back line. Exciting players like M Evans (when playing centre) and Morrison (another HUGE improvement in his game) are now getting the chance to do something with good forward moving ball.
    I would still like to see more straight running and less drifting accross the pitch (showed by several teams might I add). Get some speed on the ball, run straight, draw the man and get the pass away at the right time, maybe a looping 10 or 12 creating the extra man to beat the defenders. Sexton pulled of a killer move with that when they did it against us at the weekend.

    I think being realistic is always good concerning Scotlands chances, however as a nation generally we do not over exert ourselves when it comes to bigging ourselves up or displaying confidence. England as mentioned DO do that, and expect results everytime they field a team (in any sport). I am not suggesting arrogance, but perhaps as the supporters we could do more to help our players feel like they have some belief behind them, rather than a "oh well, hopefully we won't do too bad" or "maybe a shock victory if they have an off day". Let's be more positive, big up our strong players, be LOUD AND PROUD about what we can do, let them know that we expect results and that we BELIEVE they can do it!
    Just as a final note, the French crowd will BOO their OWN TEAM if they do not meet the expected standard! While I am not suggesting we need to do that, some more spontaneous singing and heering would go a long way to help. Ireland and Wales fans sing even when they are behind, Murrayfield becomes a dead bowl most of the time unless it is the Calcutta Cup!

    Which brings me to my next bone of contention :-P, the anthem.....Was I the only one that thought Flower of Scotland sounded well with the brass band in Dublin? Certainly more inspiring than the pipes! Now don't get me wrong, I love pipe bands (being at the same school as Mr J Barclay it is nigh on impossible not to be!!). However most of the time they are playing happy and uplifting tunes, not the rather dull and flat FoS!! We need something more uplifting, more inspiring, more RELEVENT. Whether Scotland the Brave is suitable I don't know, but we need a change. I like singing the Runrig version of Loch Lomand at half time in Murrayfield, we need to adopt a few songs like the other home nations and make them THE rugby songs for Scotland. Something for the team to recognise and to lift up their game. Please discuss!!

    Well, I have had a fair old rant. Hopefully most of it useful but who knows, maybe I am talking utter rubbish!

    Well done again to Scotland, heres hoping for a fantastic tour in Argentina!

  • Comment number 37.

    John, think you're being a little modest about your son's performances and those of the other Scottish back rowers - they were excellent throughout and by far the most effective unit in the championship. I was particularly impressed by Kelly Brown who did a lot of the unglamorous work freeing Beattie and Barclay to catch the eye with barnstorming runs. Indeed, if it wasn't for Lamont's woeful pass in Cardiff, he would have scored a try which would surely have put the game beyond doubt. If only....

    As a Welshman, I've been impressed with Lamont's performances for the Scarlets and I'm surprised that Nikki Walker doesn't get more of a look in given his good form with the Ospreys. Another Principality-bound Scot in Dan Parks has performed better than I've previously seen although I'm still not convinced that his distribution is up there with the best! Regardless of this, his nerve held under extreme pressure in Dublin to convert that final penalty. A well-deserved finish to the season and I look forward (with trepidation?) to visiting Murrayfield next year.

  • Comment number 38.

    Saltireblue- yes, I agree with a lot of what you say, I think I heard somewhere that there were work permit issues with Climo but that they were hoping to sort that out

    As far as Aberdeen is concerned, it's a great venue for rugby but I wonder if we do really need another team. One theory is that it is good to have your players paid for overseas, which is why although Kelly Brown is going down South he can stay a key part of our rugby but someone else picks up the tab

    Tom Quin, you are funny. I like your posts, but I disagree with you. And that's fine. Dan Parks has picked up three consecutive man of the match awards. I wasn't aware that anyone anywhere else has picked up on the booing front.

    Am in Pangkor island in an internet cafe reading this. Good to link up. Home on Wednesday, have a look if you can for coral bay in Pangkor.


  • Comment number 39.

    Just located it:,100.56675&sspn=0.109224,0.141792&ie=UTF8&hq=coral+bay&hnear=Pangkor+Island,+Perak,+Malaysia&t=h&z=14&iwloc=A

    The closest I've been to that is Kuala Lumpur. A lovely country with lovely people. Excellent food too!

    I think a third team would be a very useful thing for Scotland. More than that and we'd probably be spreading ourselves too thin, but my feeling is that we're constraining ourselves a wee bit at the moment. Take the position of stand off for example. Parks (ok, he's leaving at the end of the season), Godman, Jackson, Hutton, Blair (D), hopefully Blair (A) soon, potentially Climo and another who's name I can't remember. Too many for two teams, but where are the likes of the Blair brothers and Climo going to get their chances outside of Scotland? Nowhere that I can think of! 3 teams would allow all 6 or 7 to be getting developed while playing at a professional club.

    The game in Scotland has fewer players than any other top tier country. We can look at this as a weakness or an opportunity. I favour the positive so let's see it as an opportunity to grow the game. Add another pro team, strengthen the links between the clubs and the pro teams - create a visible career path for young players. More opportunities to play = more kids aspiring to play. Bringing things back to John's original point, a well managed small resource is well able to compete with larger resources. Small is indeed beautiful, but only managed well.

  • Comment number 40.


    I never considered someone else picking up the tab for the Scotland players wages as being an advantage for our talent playing abroad. However now that you mention it, I see it as a relevant argument.
    Yet, do you not think that the development of another team, will attract more interest to the game in Scotland as a whole? And in the long run may result in the Pro teams being better off, with the ability to pay the players wages?

    Previous experience would suggest otherwise after the Border Reivers folded. However a team up North will attract brand new supporters of the game, whereas, with rugby already being big in the borders and central belt, it will be hard to attract more people to the game here (hence why the Reivers went down).

  • Comment number 41.

    Dear All,

    A happy monday for all the Scots at last! A good game in Dublin, the whole O'Gara/Sexton debate, wide open, yes they could have kicked better with O'Gara, but I doubt he'd have created O'Driscoll's try like Sexton's overlap did (forward pass? Tommy Bowe's grounding?).

    Whoever says we were lucky may be true, but it was a fine performance with good patience, commitment and composure, key point for me was Beattie's swift response try after conceding to O'Driscoll, hard to believe it was his only try of the tournament.

    A few things I feel worth mentioning, first of all, a previous comment suggested some Scots in the player of the tournament poll, agreed, we may only have accumulated three points but we've played much better than that would suggest. There's been some genuinely good play from the Scots which we've not seen for a few years, particurly pleasing is the back row and also Graeme Morrison's outstanding performances in the last two games, some fantastic breaks, steps, turns and off-loads, tackling as solid as ever, ask Ugo Monye! Would have liked to have seen Alex Grove build on his solid first three caps in the autumn and also hear Nikki Walker is playing well and scoring plenty at the Ospreys.

    Lastly, I'd like to say congratulations to Johnny Beattie, a great season, he opened our try scoring against Fiji and finished it yesterday against Ireland and was outstanding inbetween!

    Let's ensure we build on this unlike when we stumbled straight after the Australia game!


  • Comment number 42.

    Slight inconsistency here- only having two no 10’s to pick from can be a good thing but intense competition for back row places with lots of players in the frame is also good….. Scottish rugby owes Cardiff one for taking Dan Parks- he’s still going to be available for Scotland and Jackson gets a chance to start games on a regular basis, which looks like a win-win. And I wonder what odds you’d have got in the bookies for Dan Parks getting three 6N Man of the Match awards at the start of the competition- I suspect the men in white coats might have been put on call if you’d placed the bet……

    If the money can be found (and that’s one big if- finding a physical and support base for the squad is another) then a third pro side would be a huge boost, provided that its playing roster wasn’t just found by cannibalising the core of the Glasgow and Edinburgh teams. As someone said above, there’s no point in having three sides all of them equally poor! Ireland manage to run with three competitive sides plus a more or less explicitly development oriented Connaught side which seems to generate a fair bit of genuine local support despite its almost pre-programmed lack of success- though even with what one might call a “three and a half” team basis Ireland struggle for depth in certain positions.

    As far as Saturday’s game was concerned, obviously it was a great result and one which went a long way to answering the concerns I’ve expressed before in this forum about the Scotland team’s mentality in tight situations (not all the way- I still wonder what would have happened if Ireland had got their noses in front in the last five minutes). It was good to see a Scotland team able to up their game when not playing opponents in white shirts and to see players like Morrison whom I’ve been rather critical of having a top class game. If one wanted to be picky, one would have to say that the game really ought not to have been as close given the total Scottish dominance in the set pieces (I haven’t seen a line out as comprehensively demolished since the Scotland one collapsed on a wet day at Lansdowne Road four years ago amid allegations that the line out calls had been left in a Dublin taxi) and that Scotland still struggle to score tries (fewer than Italy in this year’s competition). The scrum was a shambles again, but on this occasion the roulette wheel of refereeing spun Scotland’s way most of the time. At the risk of causing apoplexy in some quarters, there’s a rather English look to the team at the moment- a strong pack with an outstanding set of back row forwards, a kicking outside half and something of a reliance on penalties and drop goals to keep the scoreboard moving. Perhaps that’s the result of having an English coach who has had the sense to work with what he’s got in the way of players…….. The win in Dublin does at least give something tangible to back up the sense that the side is on an upward curve.

    Looking ahead to the World Cup, I see Georgia have made it into the “Group of Death”. That’s going to make life interesting. Georgia are no mugs (they came very close to turning Ireland over in 2007) and it’s going to be risky for any of the “big three” in the group to put a very under strength team out against them. You also now have a group with two sides (Argentina and Georgia) who are very focused scrummaging; England at full strength are also a strong scrummaging side. There’s a lot of potential for high levels of attrition among front row forwards for all the teams involved- and for refereeing interpretations of things like binding becoming key to who qualifies for the knock out phases. The spirit quails a bit at that thought

  • Comment number 43.

    John you really need to take the rose-tinted glasses off. Scotland were massively improved yes but clearly there is still a lot of work. Fitness is a major issue as illustrated in a couple of games. Yet again a lack of finishing off moves is a weakness as yet again you scored the least number of tries.

    Let me point out that for the last few tournaments you have had to rely on an outstanding fly-half boot. If it weren't for Parks being in excellent form you'd easily have been last. Think about it, you only scored 3 tries in the entire tournament. That simply won't cut it any more.


  • Comment number 44.


    "We're doooomed Mr Mannering!!!"

    Psychologists might say that you're displaying a bit of a displacement mechanism after Wales' somewhat lackluster performance this 6N?

  • Comment number 45.

    Hold on a second lads. As much as I admire Scotlands attitude and resolve in that game I would be still completely depressed about Scottish Rugby.

    Ireland really gave Scotland that game through error after error and Scotland did well to force some of these. I don't think you can start talking about 8 Lions players and a new high in Scottish rugby when you've just lost to Italy a week ago.

    No Scottish team has ever got past the last 8 never mind a final of the H-Cup. The natonal side has spent the last decade around the bottom 2 of the 6 nations. I think this game and the recent form is just a little upward peak on a longer term downward trend. Still its good to have them put in a few performances together.

  • Comment number 46.

    i think the scots deserved to come above wales, but steady on second nope

  • Comment number 47.

    Well done Scotland as for Parks i did'nt expect that this 6N at last a number 10 you can rely on as for Beattie what a season his ball carrying direct powerfull and most of all productive Easter if your out there watch and learn as a second row i hate number eights that run like crabs after i have worked my rear end off securing the ball at a scrum or ruck a lion to be as for Kellock's display on saturday that was the second row performance of the whole 6N. I think the loss to wales has worked as a great lesson on how to finish a game and serve them well in the future.

  • Comment number 48.

    Tom Quin - your bitter little posts have made me, and many other people, even happier at knocking Ireland off their precarious perch. With no strength in depth anywhere in your forwards, you should concentrate your ire on what the future holds for a fading team. At least your lot can still boo with the best though - classy!

    JB - our backrow were superb in that they (with some help from Robinson) appear to have found a consistency previously lacking. All three have obviously had the talent for some time now, so it was hugely heartening to see them maintain that world class form over 5 matches (slight drop v Italy notwithstanding!).

    When we consider the players who will be in the mix next 6N (ie Vernon, Welsh, Hines, Strokosch, R Lamont, Paterson, Jim Thompson, Cairns, Jackson etc) the future is looking a lot rosier than any of would have thought six months ago.

    Going forward, the old issues re finishing persist . . . but we'll solve them next time!

  • Comment number 49.

    I may be wrong, again, but I'm fairly sure the Irish crowd booed the last two penalties Parks kicked. So they wanted to pay their part in their team's final game in that stadium, but it does beg the question what changed from the "Shhh!" we heard at the start. We all know the answer, their team was losing. Sporting? Aye, right!

  • Comment number 50.

    Dear John and his choir (Tony Barrie, Wingmanmike and Redbud)
    A delight to read your responses.

    The "Lions Hangover" suggestion of mine that has been openly mocked may not seem such a silly suggestion when you note that every 5/6 nations played after a lions tour in the professional era has been won by France '98, '02, '06 and finally '10. Please would you kindly retract those comments.

    Tony, i must confess my observation as to why the booing occurred as Dan Parks kicked his final penalty was not of my creating but that of the "scottish commentator" payed by the BBC to observe the game. I shall write to him and ask for any other conceivable reasons as to why the booing occured. Also can i ask where you deciphered from my text that i felt your victory was "lucky"? I merely pointed out why i believe you may be wise to dilute the level of celebration...For winning one game in the 6 nations (something that you have successfully achieved since its inception)is not something that i feel warrants such extravagant celebration.

    I am not scottish no, but having played against the 3 Bs throughout my school career whilst at a Scottish School and then attending a Scottish University, Scotland has developed into my favourite 2nd team. I've had the privelge at being at the epic wins over France and England in 2006 as well as witnessing the Duncan Hodge show in 2000. Each of these momentous occasions was greeted with equal celebration to this victory against Ireland and we all know what has happened inbetween.

    Redbud, thankyou for ackowledging the commentary comment. It amazes me that no one else seems to have picked up on this, i sense that my original post has caused and epidemice of neuralgia and i hope that on reading this there will be more debate as to how we can remove the irritating Brian Moore and blundering Eddie Butler. As i mentioned previously it is a traversty that they considered adequate by the Beeb.

    Anyway, thanks once again for the feedback/character analysis, i anticipate some more enjoyable debate from you.


    P.S. As regards to the character of the Irish fans which you assasinated, i must point out that following the game many thousands of Irish fans clapped the scottish team on their lap of honour!

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Oh, and did you think the booing of Parks and his last kick added or detracted from the suspense and the spectacle? '

    Is that a rhetorical question after your last disgraceful blog?

    Here are some rhetorical questions for you.

    Do you think there was an increase in booing this weekend compared to previous six nations weekends?

    Have you considered that some people might have read your blog and thought it gave them the mandate to boo kickers?

    Have you considered that your previous blog and the lack of apology is incredibly irresponsible?

    Are you going to resign for encouraging unsporting behaviour?

  • Comment number 53.

    hey bob, get a life.

  • Comment number 54.

    Well done Scotland, some great determined performances this six nations. I hope they can build on it next year.

    To deserve second place as Mr Beattie suggests they need to score more than 3 tries though. The lowest amount of the championship, 2 less than Italy (the second lowest), 10 less than France.

  • Comment number 55.


    Here are some answers for you.

    Do you think there was an increase in booing this weekend compared to previous six nations weekends?
    Not really! Try watching a match in Cardiff most kickers get booed down there.

    Have you considered that some people might have read your blog and thought it gave them the mandate to boo kickers?
    If people are really that easily led then can we give these same people my paypal and ask them to donate £50 to me!!

    Have you considered that your previous blog and the lack of apology is incredibly irresponsible?
    Driving a car whilst drunk is irresponsible.... not apologising for a personal opinion is not! John is entitled to this, it's not like he's condoned murder or anything.

    Are you going to resign for encouraging unsporting behaviour?
    Are you kidding me?

    Bob having had a look at some of your posts you have done a lot of moaning about various topics. Life is too short........SMILE!. Scotland won in Ireland, we may not have set the grass on fire with the one and only win of the campaign but it is a starting platform for us to build on. Most of us are happy with the win, and more so our performances which have vastly improved since the arrival of AR.

    Remember its only a game, some you win some you lose! (well most you lose if your Scotland of late, but hey lets hope that changes)

    Peace out!

  • Comment number 56.

    On the subject of commentators, I am sick to death of the unconstructive and negative comments that Andrew Cotter inists on making EVERY single Scotland game there is. He seems completely incapable of saying ANYTHING good about Scotland (to be fair that goes for Andy Nicol as well!).

    That said at least we are saved the shambles that is the comedy duo Butler and Moore......

    Best commentators are Philip Mathews and Jonathon Davies. Decent honest blokes who say it like it is and don't mess about making stupid statements only to be proved wrong 3 seconds later!

  • Comment number 57.

    John, were you drunk when you wrote this post?

    What's with the arrogance of saying that Scotland should have finished second?

    v Wales: too clueless to close out the game, panicked, and were dominated for the final 40 minutes, barely hanging on, until two sets of indiscipline cost you. As far as I'm concerned, Scotland have no one but themselves to blame.

    v England: it was England who were threatening the Scottish line in the final 10 minutes. Flood had a penalty shot to win it and a drop goal attempt in the final few minutes, either one would have seen an England win.

    v Italy: Scotland were terrible.

    v France: Scotland were terrible.

    v Ireland: Sexton missing 5 shots at goal helped a little. Just like it helped when Giteau missed 6 shots in the autumn.

    Your point about Ireland having "four "proud" provinces" is a little strange. One rare win against Ireland means the Scottish system is better than the Irish one? Please.

  • Comment number 58.

    A wonderfully satisfying way to end our 6 Nations campaign!

    We could easily have done so much better, but I have a good feeling about the general direction in which Robinson's taking us.

    The early stages of the game had me concerned. The Irish backs were creating marvellous gaps and overlaps with ominous ease. Then the ref missed an obvious forward pass for the Irish try. Things weren't looking good at all at that stage. A timely and excellent Beattie try really gave us a lifeline worth fighting for and we battled well all the way through to the final whistle.

    Our main weakness is the backs still lack a savvy and creative cutting edge, especially in the last quarter of the pitch. They simply aren't scoring anything like enough tries. Otherwise we just need to become a bit fitter and more streetwise as a team and the results will come.

    The forwards were brilliant at Croke Park. Really encouraging and exciting stuff.

    So happy for Dan Parks. His detractors seem to have a very unrealistic and ignorant outlook on the Scottish fly half situation. Parks showed tremendous character to come back from a spell of poor form and play consistently well in a Scottish shirt. And he had nerves of steel to land the Croke Park winner.

    I'll always be a kicking traditionalist. I like respectful crowd silence. It used to be one of rugby's finer distinguishing traits. Sadly no more and the Scottish 'fans' are as bad as most.

    I don't believe that 2 professional teams relates to small being beautiful and effective. It's easily more of a hinderance than a help. A blinkered and frugal situation which won't do us any favours in the long run.

    The Irish team were undefeated for more than a year against top quality opposition, weren't they?, until this year's Grand Slam team beat them. Scotland are nothing like that consistent and potent yet.

    The Irish golden generation is fading, but they still have plenty of talent emerging to keep up a substantial head of steam.

    Anyway, with systematic progress this current Scotland squad have every chance of maturing in to a team to be proud and excited about.

  • Comment number 59.

    VONSTOOBING and Dear John,

    I decided to limit the notice i took from your post when it was apparent from the 1st line that your observation skills are of ltd "little posts" must be of more substantial length to have made so many of you "happy", for some bizarre reason unbeknown to me i was trasfixed and i carried on reading anyway.

    I thought i would highlight to you the "no strength in depth anywhere" forwards of Irish availability that were not in the starting line up on saturday, that have won the Heineken cup (the most prestigeous tournament in the NH) in the last three years. May this also be a reference to you dear John to contemplate in your belief of Glasgow and Edinburgh being potentially better breeding grounds than that of "the four proud provinces" of ireland.

    Look away now if you don't want to eat humble pie:

    Bernard Jackman, Leo Cullen, Malcolm O’Kelly, Shane Jennings,

    John Fogarty, Ronan McCormack, Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien,

    I'm getting bored...are you?

    Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, Dennis Leamy, Tony Buckley,

    Mick O'Driscoll, Donnacha O'Ryan...not to labour a point but these are all players to have won the cup that weren't selected to start against scotland on saturday.

    Now that is taken care of, i'm NOT going to touch on the number of scots players with questionable elegibility as my original post was never an attack on the scottish team nor what they achieved, simply the (in my opinion) exaggerated level of what this win means for the scottish team!!!

    I'm just trying to help you out lads, you will thank me next year when your level of expectations are at a more reasonable level meaning the level of depression and the state of your mental health is much improved following another poor finish in the 6 nations.

    This seems to be an episode of Mania that i shall forgive you for, just couldn't handle the Guinness in dublin i guess.

    Kind regards


  • Comment number 60.

    ...In case you are interested, the "fading team" you gleefully talk of seem to have an ok nursery backing them up. They have an A team that smashed Scotland this year and are currently the Churchill Cup champions (emphatically so), not to mention the U20 championship winners this year too.

    What a bore this is turning out to be, looking forward to your response

  • Comment number 61.

    Tom Quin - You make me chuckle!

  • Comment number 62.

    The world must just look different from up north.

    Scotland were the better team against Ireland, no question. They won the game fair and square, and they dominated almost every facet of play. However, they still laboured to the finish despite being clearly superior on the day.

    However to suggest on the back of this one performance that they should have won (or could potentially win) a Triple Crown is positively ludicrous.

    The truth is that they played exactly as they played for 70 minutes against Wales and how they would have played against England given a chance.

    The corollary to this is that they are not very good even when playing their absolute heart out best. Plus they lost to Italy! I'm happy that for my Scottish friends but sad too, because in reality they are no closer to being Triple Crown contenders than they were 1, 2 or 3 years ago.

    And I'm not being altogether smug here. Ireland are in grave danger in following them into middling mediocrity. Hopefully Saturday will have been a wake up call received in time.

  • Comment number 63.

    Bernard, I refer you to my earlier comment on your first post. My opinion has not been changed.

    Only a fool would say Scotland should not have beaten Wales. We should have beaten Italy and looked comfortably capable of doing that throughout the game, save for that one try against us. We could easily have beaten England and should certainly have done so. We did beat the reigning champions in their own back yard. Of course that is would haves and should haves and, generally, we didn't, but if you realistically (something that I feel is lacking in both your efforts) assess the overall performance, it showed a marked improvement over the past couple of years.

    We have genuine competition for places in the pack, an outstanding back row and line out and a front row that seems to require the opposition to collapse the scrum to take the pressure off their own. There is good reason to feel progress has been made, that we are generally capable of competing against the other 6 Nations teams home and away and the summer tour offers the possibility to develop the backs and improve the balance of the team.

    Scotland and Ireland are heading in opposite directions and when John Hayes finally retires, you have a very substantial problem to overcome.

  • Comment number 64.

    It sounds like you've taken a bite of bitter pie Tom! I think we realise that there's a lot of progress to be made, you have to bare in mind that us Scots are not used to victories such as this one, the team haven't really played well for 10 years, or even 20 if you're that pedantic. I'm sure Ireland do have a good A side and under 20, but I don't think any of us are being too smug about the Scotland victory on Saturday, I think we're all just delighted to have a victory, if anything you should take it as a compliment that we're so happy that we've beaten a side like Ireland away from home.

    But yes we did score the least tries, and there is plenty of work to do still and it'll be a long process, but we are making progress and looking in a lot better shape than we have been for a few years.

    So chill, we all know Ireland are a good team.

  • Comment number 65.

    My summary of the current 6 Nations teams – slightly tongue in cheek.

    France - know how to do the simple things, the complicated things and the fancy things. Can actually do things that other teams can only dream about. Can grind out a win and have other options if plan A doesn't work. Probably didn't have to get out of 4th gear all tournament. Can scare All Blacks and Aussies but depends which French team turns up on the day. The best team by a long way.

    England - forgotten how to do the simple things and can only dream about the complicated and fancy things. Have players, especially in the back division, who can dream and do the fancy things but are being told to forget it. Going backwards at present. They looked very like a Scottish team 2 years ago under Frank Hadden - scared to try something, caught in the headlights and unsure where to go next. I worry for them.

    Wales - can still do the fancy and complicated things but are slowly forgetting how to do the simple things. Have players that give people nightmares about the fact that they can do all the fancy and complicated stuff but those opponents don't get worried 'cos they know Wales will muck up the simple stuff. Stepping backwards at present and could possibly fall off a cliff if they step back too far.

    Ireland – can do the simple things, the complicated things and the fancy things but can forget, quickly, what they are meant to be doing. Have the players who can play it as they see it as well as follow a plan. Can grind out a win but sometimes lose their way a bit. Reckon they will be in transition for a couple of years as they bring in new players to replace some of the more experienced ones in the team. Easily the second best team in the 6 nations and the best home nations team by far.

    Italy – all they used to do is dream about scoring the best try, from their own line, without the ball. Now starting to get the simple things right and starting to read the book about the fancy and complicated things. If they get a complicated thing right they will smash desks in delight and they bring a passion to the 6 nations that it needed. Could be the dark horses for the next two years if they can keep progressing.

    Scotland – wanted to do the fancy and complicated things but suspect have been told over the last two coaches (you know who they are) to ignore, forget and that the players are not good enough to progress beyond a limited game plan. Didn’t even know what the simple things were for the last 3 years but under a new coach are starting to believe that they are good enough to do the fancy and complicated things. Still panic when they see the try line and it ain’t theirs but progress is being made. Self belief for Scotland is everything as they have the players to do the complicated and fancy things whilst not forgetting that they have to do the simple things right.

    It seems to me that I have just presented a case for showing that each team plays the way their coach wants to play not how the collective of the team wants to play. Look at each team, from a coach perspective, and I suspect you can worry about England, Wales and partly Ireland. France will progress, Italy will progress (albeit probably with a new coach) and hope Scotland will progress if they don’t lose their coach to greater things.

  • Comment number 66.

    The truth is this...Scotland did themselves justice on Saturday for the general improvements they have made as a team. Even if they had lost to Ireland, I would still have been proud of their continuing show of improvement.

    So whether the result was a "win" or "loss", in our eyes, they still win. Maybe that doesn't make sense to the few party spoilers but it does to the rest of us who have spent so long watching for the day when our lack-lustre team again showed signs of new life...and now you want to snuff it out? Perhaps you wish Scotland to stay in its place at the end of Q? Be predictable and let your teams get on with the real business? Kindly turn of your "rain" or go elsewhere with it.

    Here's the other thing, Scotland has a terrific future coming to it in 2011. Consider what we the Scottsih have really learned about Scotland this year?! We now know without doubt Scotland have a much deeper pool of talented players competing for positions in the Backs than we did at the start of the 6 Nations...there will be fierce competition - not to mention the all important personal confidence this will give to each player selected and therefore the whole team!

    What's more is the depth has come from the long "given up for dead" players in the existing Scottish team. With teams, confidence is something that has a critical mass - if there is enough belief in the individual player's ability and in each other's ability then the whole team moves to a new level and standard (and they wont even recognise it until they start winning more and more games)...Scotland are on the cusp...the dawn of the next year is beckoning the entrance of the new era - long long awaited.

    If you nay sayers are bitter about a Scottish victory...what you will be next year?! ;p


    Good on you!

    Continue to believe and develop.

  • Comment number 67.

    Not many people have mentioned the impact that Al Kellock had throughout the six nations, but we had the best statistics in terms of lineouts throughout the tournament and he called the shots. Most people would agree that Paul O'Connell is the best disruptive lineout jumper in the home nations, but even he was made to look ordinary in the face of Scottish dominance.

  • Comment number 68.

    Mr Neil B,
    Very nice to read a reasonable response and not one that attempts to shoot down my opinion without any substantial statistics to back up their point of view. Scotland have improved and do look fearsome in certain departments but as i mentioned in an earlier post none of these players are new to the international arena, what do they need to get to the next level?

  • Comment number 69.

    What we need is an attacking fullback such as rory lamont, more creativity in the backs, however that said hugo southwell put in a good performance on saturday, but it wasn't try scoring material. Its a shame we've been cursed with such injuries because we don't have the depth in the backs to cover, so we should be thinking about thompson who has impressed, and the edinburgh winger, I forget his name but yes, and when jackson gains enough experience and is on form I think he's worth a look. We need a player who can really bring our try oppurtunities to life. Support running is a big thing too, the try on Saturday came from very good support and linking play in the back row, and proves what the Scots can do if they actually follow the runner rather than standing there thinking, 'that was a good turnover!'
    I think its coming though, and our play will improve further with confidence, I don't see a finish higher than third realistically next year, the path of improvement on that scale is long and windy, but world cup should hopefully be better than 07.

  • Comment number 70.

    Brian O'Driscoll saw that result coming it seems,
    "Scotland are on the brink of something, I hope its not against us"
    6,7,8 played very well all championship, however its interesting that johnnie Beattie was best or second best backrow player in the competition however he's not even the best no.8 in his own flat!

  • Comment number 71.

    I couple of thoughts spring to mind from reading the above.
    It was uplifting to read of Jonathan Sexton's actions after the match on Saturday of going to the Scottish changing room to hand Parks his Ireland shirt and say that Parks had been the better player on the day. What great sportsmanship, humanity and maturity for a young man. Perhaps this spirit of sportsmanship needs to be carried over to the tone of the comments we each make?
    My second thought is that at then end of this championship it's perhaps appropriate to pause and be thankful that Tom Evans is recuperating and that the kidney damage to Patterson did not require any surgery. This championship could have been so different if the actions of the Scottish and Welsh medical teams had not been so quick and professional on that day. So here's hoping - and praying - that Tom makes a full recovery, not for the sake of Scottish rugby, but for his sake, and that he will be able to do whatever he wants to do.

  • Comment number 72.

    love the fact that last week we were told by many people commenting on jb's blog that irish fans don't boo opposition kickers! hmmm, i must've been imagining it then! having said that i don't have a problem with it - it stems from desperately wanting your team to win/not lose which is why it's been happening at murrayfield a lot - we don't see a lot of victories! it's unusual in ireland because they win a lot!

    i think we are allowed to enjoy this great victory given the ten years we have had. let's hope it's a springboard to better things in 2011! the irish should take it as a huge compliment how happy we are to win there because 15 years ago a in against ireland was a given (just about!).

  • Comment number 73.

    It was a great win on Saturday, and despite finishing second last I'm not dissapointed as the performances were there and at this early stage in the Robinson era I think that is highly signigicant... give it a year!
    Parks was a revelation, he's performed like that for Glasgow for a while now but I still had my worries based on past international's. I was proved wrong by half time in Cardiff. Morrison, again, managed to recapure his club form on the international arena, he was magnificent on Saturday. And the back row were outstanding again, and they all have age well on thier side which is exciting. As for Robinson, it looks like the Englishman is going to be Scotland best coach in a long time.
    Regarding the two pro team's. As a Borderer I have mixed feeling on the subject. When our team was pulled I was as outradged, as were we all, but it has been evident that the pro teams in Scotland have improved since 3 became 2. However I would also argue that it restricts the chances developing talents have of gaining Magners League exposure, take Edinburgh for example- an wealth of talent in the back row with Grant, Hogg, Callum, Rennie, Newlands, and MacDonald, who gets dropped when they are all fit? and when one of these talented players does will this stunt his development as a player. The same could be said for the Stand-Off position at Edinburgh, with Godman really not fit for the international stage Blair and Hutton must be given a chance as they have both already proved they can preform at that level and at 9 Blair and Laidlaw both deserve and need to play every week, but thiers only one strip. Are there not signs that we have too many players going for the one position? When does good competition for places become a hinderance on developing talent?

  • Comment number 74.

    Well done to Scotland in their last game, they played well against Ireland and won. A deserved victory. However, "should have" won in other games is not "have won", and second is actually second last. The team with the wooden spoon beat Scotland. I do think that Scotland are much improved from previous years, firstly the team selection is far better than it has been in a while. The fact that they have STILL finished in the same/ similar position as they have in the past few years must not be forgotton. Ireland won the grand slam last year and finished second this year, that is not so poor an achievement. Much better than Scotland have done.

  • Comment number 75.

    "The team with the wooden spoon beat Scotland."

    Yes, we are aware of that, just as we are aware we beat the reigning champions, the team who finished second in this year's championship, in their back yard. That "must not be forgotten" either.

  • Comment number 76.

    "Scotland should have ended up second in the championship"?? What a load of nonsense - exactly which 6 nations championship were you watching?

    Scotland are a second rate nation playing third rate rugby. For heaven's sake, they ended up below England who are an appalling side which is being completely destroyed (permanently if they are not careful) by the sheer incompetence and inadequacies of Martin Johnson.

    Wake up and smell the coffee will you. Scotland ended up about where they should be - near the bottom.

  • Comment number 77.

    Joker709, we were watching the 2010 championship, it seems you weren't.

  • Comment number 78.

    All evidence to the contrary Ally Gory.

    You are simply deluded if you believe that Scotland should have ended up second in the championship. Scotland played, what, 60-70 minutes of good rugby in the entire tournament? (and most of that was in a game Scotland lost) And you think on that basis Scotland should have come second?

    I accept that Scotland could have beaten Wales, but then again the sheer incompetence (which by the way was very funny to watch as an Englishman) with which Scotland threw away the game sums up Scottish rugby - bottlers who just cant hack it.

    This blog and the comments below give a perfect example of why Scottish rugby is in the doldrums and is unlikely ever to taste glory. The Scots are deluded about just where the are in terms of international rugby (I reckon not even in the top 20 teams in the world) and have an unjustified and overinflated opinion of the team's ability.

    When all is said and done the blog sums it up - Scotland could have come second. BUT THEY DIDN'T, they lost to Italy and came a poor fifth. Deal with it.

  • Comment number 79.

    #44: Simon

    I'm not detracting from the Wales performance at all, it was truly shocking at times. Wales suffered from a long list of injuries to key players (as was illustrated when they returned for the Italy game) and we simply do not have the strength in depth.

    I was however simply pointing out the stats. Scotland still struggle to score tries with almost all their tournament points (bar 15) coming from the boot. Ireland were shockingly poor in the last game and gifted you the game, you have to admit. Perhaps they were deflated from losing the championship by that point.

    Anyway I would say Scotland have imrpoved, but that doesn't detract from the fact that Scotland have a LONG way to go (and in fact they actually dropped points in the world rankings)

  • Comment number 80.

    Well Joker709, thanks for your efforts. It might be better if you headed over to a football blog, as they are more suited to that. I'm sure you'll find someone willing to "discuss" your insights there.

  • Comment number 81.

    An England fan calling us deluded

  • Comment number 82.

    That's no problem Ally Gory, happy to put you straight.

    But perhaps you (and Neil B) are right - perhaps I've been too hard on the Scottish rugby team. After all, I'm sure next year, having fought very hard for the wooden spoon (who knows, you may even win that) you'll be saying how you should have won the championship...

    Whatever happens, I somehow doubt Scotland will end up ahead of England (or France, or Ireland, or probably Wales).

  • Comment number 83.

    Joker709 - You make me chuckle almost as much as Tom Quin! Keep it up.

    I LOVE being a Scots rugby fan.

  • Comment number 84.

    Hey Iain-B

    Really glad I made you chuckle. After all you cant have too much else to smile about being a Scottish rugby fan!!

    And since you mentioned him, I thought Tom Quin made a lot of sense - alot more than those who think the Scots should have come second in this year's championship!

  • Comment number 85.

    Although just for the record, I thought Ken Mavor got it closer than anyone else

  • Comment number 86.

    Hey Joker (how apt)

    Do you also write in to the Sun letters page? Think I recognise the style.

  • Comment number 87.

    "happy to put you straight"

    Funny Joker and there it was me thinking I'd put you straight, by directing your infantile wind-up to a football blog, where they're much more likely to take the bait. Maybe someone can explain to you how to find one.

  • Comment number 88.

    Ah well Ally Gory, something else you've got wrong.

    Still nevermind, you can console yourself by looking forward to huge success in next year's championship I suppose.

    As for "infantile wind-up', the words pot, kettle and black spring to mind. And yes, you've clearly not taken the bait have you?...

  • Comment number 89.

    However Ally Gory (and Iain "I like a chuckle" B), in the spirit of harmony, good cheer and all that, given this a blog by scots for scots I'll make one last comment and then leave you to have the final say.

    The point I was making is that IF, as you say, Scotland have really improved, then how come they ended up fifth and losing to the wooden spoon winners? You cannot say they "should" have come second, that is nonsense. You might argue they "could" have come second if Mike Blair (I think it was Blair) had a brain cell and England had played even worse than they otherwise did.

    However, at the end of the day results count. Scotland ended up fifth, as they have done (give or take) for a number of years now. Yes I may be English and therefore hated by all Scots (of course) and everything I say as an Englishman discarded with utter disdain. But the fact is that England, who are utter rubbish, demoralised, clueless, and being driven into the ground by a coach that knows nothing about coaching (sorry MJ but that is how it is) finished TWO places above Scotland. That is the measure of where Scotland are. I'm sorry if that is unpalatable, but there it is. I could argue that England could have beaten France (but I wont) - indeed I could argue that England should have won the last world cup (Cueto's try was definitely a try) but what is the point?

    You need some realism. Improvement? Yes, some better rugby? Yes, should have finished second? No, absolutely not. France and Ireland are streets ahead, in terms of individual players, work rate, fitness, and general ability. Its not about ifs and maybes, its about results. If you finish fourth (or better) next year, then, well, clear improvement. But what is the point of better rugby if you can't actually win games?

  • Comment number 90.

    Ok Joker, serious face,
    whilst I do agree results show a lot, and we did deserve to be fifth, I think you'll find a lot of us are keeping our feet on the ground. I disagree that we haven't shown improvement, on the contrary I think we've made the most progress out of any Six nations side and I do believe we have a lot more to smile about at the moment.

    No I don't think we'll win it next year, however I do believe we can do well, and sorry to say it we look in better shape than England do, it won't be long before they start losing more games unless they get their act together, so we could potentially end up above them in the table next year (note the word potentially, I'm not saying should).

    We certainly aren't under any delusions and understand that there is plenty of work to be done before we become a 'good' side as I said to Tom earlier we are still not scoring anywhere near enough tries.

    BUT my point is the foundations are here. So there's no need to act so bitterly about the hype, because a lot of us have acknowledged that it is just hype and Andy Robinson and the team definitely understand that there is work to be done, which pleases me, makes a nice change from the blind optimism of a lot of coaches such as Martin Johnson how he got in charge of England is past me.

  • Comment number 91.

    This posting is more a request to JB as an ex warrior on the pitch and now a forth right expresser of views to represent Scottish Rugby Supporters in making a few points to the SRU.

    Now that the dust is settling on the 6 nations and we can debate until the cows come home with our English 'friends/sporting rivals' which country/coaches/teams are better, lets also take action to improve things for next year. JB can you take up the challenge to encouraging the SRU to create a Murrayfield environment that is more passionate (rather than pantomime), lets get a 'Rugby Club Scotland Tartan Army Section', lets discuss (with the players) what songs and chants work, lets discuss getting pipers and drummers into that section of the crowd during the game, lets discuss printing the words on something appropriate, lets discuss having a couple of thousand cheap Scotland flags allocated to various seats. Lets get the atmosphere of Fortress Murrayfield back.
    JB I would appreciate your thoughts as a humble supporter who will never be able to help the cause in any other way than turning up and cheering on the team your son now plays in, as I did when you played, please be our voice....

  • Comment number 92.



  • Comment number 93.

    I hate to rain on the parade of anyone who wants a more vibrant Murrayfield atmosphere but a large part of the appeal of a rugby match is sitting and shouting among the opposing fans. I'd love to be caught up in any number of good rousing songs (although i had to stop myself joining in the Marseillaise last month, brilliant song) but I wouldn't willingly sit in an all Scottish section.
    Meantime its back to Murrayfield on a cold wet Friday night.
    Come on Edinburgh!

  • Comment number 94.

    Oh and Joker.
    We feel your pain. Everything logical point s to a long series of England grand slams and triple crowns. You have the players, you have the premiership you have the memories. If it helps, to stomp on the wee nation North of the border with nae players, 2 professional teams, distant memories and all to often shattered dreams, we are glad to assist.

  • Comment number 95.

    Angloscot 2010

    You can't manufacture atmosphere! Murrayfield will only become vibrant, noisy and difficult for opposition teams to play at if the Scottish side plays well and starts scoring tries! It is the lack of try scoring ability that deadens the crowd, nothing else.
    Joker 709 has some valid points about the "ifs" and "maybes" that a lot of Scottish supporters have posted.
    I am an ardent Scottish fan, but I was disheartened by the lack of attacking nous that the team displayed. Three tries in five matches (the last a breakaway-albeit a well taken one) is just not good enough to imply "progress". To lose to a unbelievably poor Italian side was a joke of massive proportions, which for me displayed anything but progress.
    At best, we are a bit more difficult to beat, that's all. All the pre-tournament hype was soon turned to dust yet again.
    At what stage (and I have been waiting many years), does it all come together as promised by every coach that takes charge? Progress is only progress if you get results and table placing that reflect it. To get fifth was right for this squad who (I say again, cannot score enough tries), and if anyone thinks that 3 out of 10 points is acceptable
    in the tournament must be easily pleased.
    I hate to say it, but England were very unlucky not to beat the French and if they had played like that against us, we would not have even got a draw!
    We cannot keep relying on kicking points, we have to wake up and realise that. Going in the right direction? Maybe, but it (as always) is two steps forward, one back.

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi All

    Back in the country, interesting the way it has become about the atmosphere at games. And also that many of you think that the team hasn't made progress.

    I suppose it's tough to win games as Scotland given our player pool, and maybe I am blinkered, but I felt that some of the play was better and more direct.

    We do have to keep our feet on the ground at all times and not get swayed by the odd win.

    It is signifiant that this season, as we stand, Glasgow and Edinburgh are second and third in the Magners league which I don't remember before so on that measure there is success - we will have to wait until the end of the year to see if it is permanent progress in that league

    And then there is a tour of Argentina and then it's back into it next year.

    Am off to have a quiet weekend, and then get another blog for Monday. In response to one of the comments above am not sure that we can affect chants etc at games as they are organic.

    Have a great weekend


  • Comment number 97.

    Hi John,
    Just wondering what you thought of the Connacht - Edinburgh game?


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