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Non-selection can be a bitter pill to swallow

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John Beattie | 14:32 UK time, Monday, 22 August 2011

Come on you lot: what's the strongest team Andy Robinson can pick?

There we are. The Scottish squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup has been announced and it's congratulations to everyone involved.

There is sadness in our family of course with my son not making the cut, but life teaches you hard lessons and, as I'm sure all of us think when we look back, it's actually the bits where we have to dust ourselves down and move on that help to mould us for later life.

At least, that's my flipping excuse for having so many operations thanks to rugby.

I think it's a good squad.

Any Scottish XV, with Blair, Lawson and Cusiter battling for the number nine jersey - and a host of back row men to choose from including Vernon, Brown and Barclay can't be bad.

"We are fitter than we have ever been" is a cliche trotted out by practically every squad, but north of the border it's true.

Individually they are good players. Andy Robinson's style is authoritarian but inclusive and attention to detail has included breakdown skills and a desired tempo.

It's been hard to know whether the Scottish players have been playing to a carefully thought out plan or just going through the motions at line-out time and in their attacks though.

My guess is that the "secret" line-outs will be kept for New Zealand, but we've seen a similar attack strategy in both games and I can't see that changing too much.

We can't read too much into either warm up, but it's fair to say that not everything has been perfect in the two build up games.

My guess is Robinson will have seen a few things needing ironed out.

The scrum wasn't acceptable against Italy. It's too far away to guess the weather in New Zealand, but if Scotland's scrum creaks it could spell trouble.

Which means that the choice between Geoff Cross, Euan Murray and Moray Low at tight-head is so very, very important with Cross having possibly inched himself to the front of the queue with a man-of-the-match display against Ireland.

Looking at the squad there are clear choices to be made. Does Robinson go for Ruaridh Jackson or Dan Parks at 10? Will Chris Paterson be at full-back or will he opt for Rory Lamont?

I suspect the back row picks itself with Vernon, Brown and Barclay. The second row, possibly, is the same with Richie Gray and Al Kellock though both Jim Hamilton and Nathan Hines have their strengths - Hines is a link man and big Jim a battleship if need be.

Allan Jacobsen looks to be a shoo-in at loose head - perhaps Scott Lawson is now putting more pressure on Ross Ford and the midfield will be built around Graeme Morrison.

It is so very, very exciting.

I said in the commentary that I missed the first ever Rugby World Cup and watching poor Nikki Walker being ferried from the pitch brought a lump to my throat as I knew how he felt.

Anyway, it didn't do me any harm. Apart from being very bitter...

Only joking.

Bad luck to the lads who've been left out, and superbly well done to the boys going on the plane.

What do you think will be the best team Andy Robinson might pick?

You give me your suggestions; I'll have a think and put mine down.


  • Comment number 1.

    Patterson; Evans; Ansbro; Morrison; S Lamont; Parks; Cusiter; Jacobsen; Ford; Cross; Gray; Kellock; Vernon; Barclay; Vernon

    This would probably be the team against Argentina and England I think for the first two games there might be a bit more changing in the line up to protect some of them for later, as although they will be tough they are not the hardest games we will face.

  • Comment number 2.

    sadly for Johnny he's not on the plane but I think on form Vernon and Kelly Brown are ahead of him on form for the No8 slot. I'm a big fan of Al Stroker and feel his return to fitness allows Robinson to move Brown over to no8, albeit he's not featured there in the warm ups.

    I'm not sure about Kellock as captain. In my view others should be in the team at 2nd row before him.

    To answer the question my team would be........
    R Lamont, Evans, De Luca, Morrison, S Lamont, Jackson, Cusiter, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Hines, Gray , Stroker, Barclay, Brown.

  • Comment number 3.

    As long as the centre partnership does not include G Morrison I will be happy. I never thought I would witness a Scotland player not making enough effort to get to a pass but that's exactly what happened about 70 mins in on Saturday - it was disgraceful. I'm also disappointed not to see more progress being made by the current squad in the past 15 months, the same old problems of not being able to finish a break exist, with players unable to make the correct decision as the white line approaches. I hope I'm wrong but we will be lucky to escape our pool and JB should have been selected, Andy Robinson has definitely got that one wrong.

  • Comment number 4.

    Is JB more seriously injured than suggested - on form he'd have definately stopped the italian disappointed he is not on the plane..

    With the players he's taking I'd go with
    Patterson, Evans, De Luca, Morrison, S Lamont, Jackson, Lawson, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Kellock, Gray , Hines, Barclay, Brown

  • Comment number 5.

    Don't understand Kellock as captain, Grey is a must in the second row but Hines carries and offloads better than kellock. The captain should always be guaranteed his place why not S Lamont

    Young Beattie is young enough and more than good enough to have his chances again, including Lions in 2 years time.

  • Comment number 6.

    The squad is much as I expected but not necessarily the one that I'd have wanted to go, nevertheless as every Scottish rugby fan should I wish all the guys all the best and hope that they progress further in the RWC than we ever have done before.

    If Walker had stayed fit then I'd have taken him over Danielli - in the Ireland and Italy game he was running good lines and gave us a potency I think we lack without him. Got to feel sorry for him and hope he bounces back.

    You've also got to feel sorry for Laidlaw, who I think on form should have been picked over Blair. Laidlaw would also have given extra cover at 10 and another kicking option.

    As for the back row options, let's hope Scotland's loss is Glasgow's gain and over then next few months Johnny puts in some displays that makes it hard for Andy not to pick him for the 6 Nations. Nevertheless, it's good to have such competition for places.

    What's the best team? I think we'll see two quite different teams for the first two games. For Romania I think we'll see a Front row of Jacobsen, Lawson, Cross, second row of Kellock and Hamilton, and a back row of Stroker, Rennie and Vernon. Lawson at 9 with Jackson at 10, Morrison will play in every game (unless he gets injured). For the first game I'd put Ansbro at 13, have S Lamont on one wing and Danielli on the other with Mossy at Full back. Bench of Dickinson, Ford, Low, Gray, Hines, Cusiter, De Luca, R Lamont

    For Georgia. Front Row Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, 2nd Row Kellock and Gray, back row Hines, Barclay and Brown, Blair and Parks at 9 & 10, Morrison and Deluca in the centre, S Lamont and Evans on the Wings and Mossy at 15. Bench Dickinson, Lawson, Cross, Rennie, Cusiter, Jackson, Ansbro.

    I'm not a huge fan of playing Hines at 6, but I think against the Georgian pack (and maybe even against Argentina and England) he'll start at 6 and Brown will play 8. Parks will start at 10 in this game to give greater control and shape especially if it's wet.

    Of course I'm bound to be wrong in my predictions, but that's who I'd put out, so it's just as well I'm not the Scotland coach.

    Let's see who is still fit after these two games before I make any more predictions.

  • Comment number 7.

    Forgot to add my best team.

    Paterson, Evans, Ansbro, De Luca Lamont, Parks, Lawson,
    Jacobsen, Lawson, Jacobsen, Gray, Kellock, Barclay, Brown, Vernon

  • Comment number 8.

    Happy with squad apart from two. Beattie not being included, but I watched you playing Ireland and you didn't look fit, and I can understand Robinson decision. As for De Luca, OMG, what does Robinson see in him!?!?!?! Answers on a postcard, please. He cost Scotland two tries on Saturday, he runs around like a headless chicken and his tackling is poor with a capital P at the best. Ansbro please please please don’t get injured.

    I can see the first choice being:
    R. Lamont; Evans; Ansbro; Morrison; S. Lamont; Jackson; Lawson; Jacobsen; Ford; Murray; Gray; Kellock; Kelly; Barclay; Vernon

    Count squad the number of Glasgow and ex-Glasgow players. What's Edinburgh doing, they get all the money from the SRU!!!!!! And other question of postcards!!!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    It seems that we have a few options, more than we had in the (recent) past me it is all down to strategy and the opposition...not taking Georgia and Romania for granted of course...I could see us play tightly against Argentina and rely on defence and Parks' place kicking to try and grab a low scoring, penalty only win...with a team like Jacobsen, Ford, Murray(depending on first two matches), Kellock, Gray, Hines, Brown, Barclay, Lawson, Parks, S Lamont, Morrison, Ansbro, R Lamont, Paterson.

    Now at the other end of the spectrum, my "all out attacking / go for glory / die standing" team would be Jacobsen, Ford, Murray, Hines (Kellock 2nd Half), Hamilton, Stroker, Gray, Cusiter, Jackson, Evans, S Lamont, Ansbro, R Lamont, Paterson...

    But we need to sort out the 8-9-10-12/13 options pretty quickly otherwise it will be one dimensional rugby again with number 8 seemingly short of specialists...who would you play? ..cheers and good luck to Beattie Junior, I am sure he will bounce back

  • Comment number 10.

    Firstly, sorry that JB Jnr didn't make it, but no doubt his time will come. From the personnel available, the squad pretty much picks itself once that decision was made.

    First choice XV for the big games:

    Paterson; Evans, Ansboro, S. Lamont, R. Lamont; Parks, Cusiter; Jacobsen, Ford, Cross; Gray, Kellock; Hines, Brown, Barclay

    Come what may, I believe that we have a strong squad, easily capable of winning the group against a one-dimensional Argentina and a seriously miss-firing England. It just needs belief and the ability to take your chances.

    Now I'm getting quite excited.

  • Comment number 11.

    Firstly Beattie missing out is going to be a big big loss. He is a big ball carrier and despite not being as quick as vernon, johnnie breaks more tackles, makes more tackles and scores more tries (may not be many but at the moment even 1 extra try scoring threat would be nice).. not to mention can offload in the tackle which is something vernon has no idea about.. Even if Beattie isn't fully fit as an impact player he has more to offer than strokosh as we could have hines on the bench to cover 6 and beattie could have come on to add some much needed attacking impetus late in games.. Robinson has definately missed a trick and will regret it i feel. Hopefully johnnie will use this chip on the shoulder to force his way back in to the team for 6 nations and show that he is up there with the better 8s in the northern hemisphere..

    With what robinson has picked i would like to see:

    15. Paterson, 14. Evans, 13. ansbro, 12. S. Lamont, 11. Danielli, 10. Jackson, 9. Blair, 8. Vernon, 7. Barclay, 6. Brown, 5. Gray, 4. Kellock, 3. Cross, 2. Ford, 1. Chunk

    Some may say no to lamont at centre, but he plays in the centre for club and in the 6 nations made more yards and linebusts than any of our backs.. playing him at inside gives us the option of crashing it up with him or throwing the miss pass and letting him run the support angle on the inside.. if one of our outside backs manages to make half a break and can feed lamont coming at pace on the inside the results could be devastating (if you watch the southern hemisphere teams this is how they score most of their tries).. i go with paterson at the back as he made two tackles in the 6 nations against ireland and england (and against better players e.g. foden) identicle to the one R. lamont missed against italy.. he may not be as attacking as R Lamont but better defencively.. throw in the fact i have chosen jackson at flyhalf, paterson offers a sure boot which will compensate for jacksons lack of kicking expierence in the big games..

    What Robinson will probably choose:

    Paterson, Evans, Ansbro, Morrison, S. Lamont, Jackson, Lawson.. same forwards as mentioned before..

    Hopefully it will be a good worldcup but unless we suddenly find a samoan/tongan/kiwi born scot who can finish our moves i think it will be exactly the same as previous campaigns..

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi, I feel really sorry for JB, another few games under his belt and he could have been on the plane, keep fit you never know what might happen. We are weak in a few positions but overloaded with talent in others. We have some good 9's but lack a gain line breaker at 12 time for morrison to step up to the mark. I thought Lawson was terrible against Ireland, slow service and passes all over the shop. I just hope we don't play as one dimensionally as we did in 2007. We need a big game against the argies and to truly believe we can beat England. Players to watch Ansbro who is pure class, even though he played for Stewartry, Gray and Cross....

  • Comment number 13.

    ps team Paterson, Evans, Ansbro Morrison, Lamont, Parks, Blair, Chunk, Frord, Cross, Gray, Kellock, Hines, Brown, Barclay.

  • Comment number 14.

    Picking a Scotland rugby team is never easy. As one poster already pointed out, we're stacked at some positions and a bit threadbear at others. So, I'll just pick out one player and position. Sean Lamont at full back. Sorry Rory/Chris, but I really liked what Sean did when he had a run at the FB position recently. We need guys to break the gain line AND have players on their shoulder to get the extra yards. At full back, Sean does this in spades and coming from that postition allows both forwards and backs to get in the right position for off-loads galore. It would be a complete surprise to the opposition as well.

    Good luck to Nicky in rehab and stay fit JB - your time may yet come to make your commentator Dad proud of you in scoring a touchdown - down under.

    Cmon Scotland.

  • Comment number 15.

    Agree that JB will be missed, maybe it is down to the training and he is just not ready yet. Worried about the pack. Kellock is probably my 4th choice lock, captain seems rather generous, but he may well not play each game. Hamilton adds a lot of beef to the scrum and that could be necessary against Argentina/Georgia which are the must win games for us.

    Jacobson, Scott Lawson (can throw in and tries hard), Cross or Murray depending on day of the week, Gray, Hines, Brown, Barclay, (go on change your mind Andy) Beattie, Blair (not on your nelly could you play Rory Lawson, service is far too slow), Jackson (Parks against Georgia), S Lamont, Morrison, Ansbro, Evans, Paterson

    Lawson is really not good enough. Morrison holds the shape of the backs together and must play. They need to use Romania as another warm-up, get the half-back pairings working together and lets hope that Blair and Cusiter can stay fit. Sorry for Laidlaw, who is 3rd behind the others just mentioned, but should be going on merit.

  • Comment number 16.

    Firstly, come on Scotland!

    Secondly, to Mr Beattie Snr - your source of personal positivity will no doubt remain in the knowledge that Johnny Jnr is both talented and young enough to still play a pivotal role for Scottish rugby at a World Cup in the future.

    Thirdly, I'm optimistic and excited by the squad we are able to send to New Zealand. The simple fact that we have left Beattie behind is an example of the evidence that we have genuine strength in depth in some very key positions.

    We know where we are strong (line outs, positions 4-8, excellent coach in Mr R) and we know where we need to tighten (scrum, 9-10 axis, 12-13 combo) but ultimately we have some world class players on their day (R Gray, M Blair, J Barclay, S Lamont) coupled with exciting talents who can do genuine damage (M Evans, J Ansbro, R Vernon, N De Luca).

    The factors that will determine our success, as always is the case with Scotland, are execution, consistency and the correct tactical approach.

    I believe that the squad and the management have earned the right for us to all be proud, and have high, if realistic, expectations of success at this World Cup.

    For what's it's worth, my 15 would be :

    1 Jacobsen 2 Ford, 3 Cross/Murray 4 Kellock 5 Gray 6 Barclay 7 Vernon 8 Brown 9 Blair 10 Parks 11 S Lamont 12 Ansbro 13 De Luca 14 Evans 15 Paterson

    Amazingly, that leaves us with the likes of Dickenson, S Lawson, Hines, Stokosch, Jackson, Morrison and R Lamont as impact substitutions.

    On the strength of that, I stand by my optimism and belief.

    All the best to everyone's who's behind our World Cup Campaign and beyond...

  • Comment number 17.

    Very disappointing to not see Johnnie missing out. I thought he had a storming match against the Irish, so I think we'll have to take the "playing yourself into contention" comments about the warm ups with a pinch of salt. He certainly stood out more than Rennie did, and it's not as if the back row boys aren't interchangeable!

    Let's hope the scrum and line-out perk up a bit, otherwise the first 3 matches could prove to see us out before the "group decider" in Auckland on 1st Oct.

    Very sad to see Walker missing out too. For my money he was probably the most consistently threatening of our backs, and with him and Sean Lamont in the back three it added some much needed power.

    And John, you'd said you were wanting to head over for the tournament, I've got tickets going spare for the group games if you're driving the campervan...

  • Comment number 18.


    I know that Johnnie is a big grown-up boy but please give him a cuddle and remind him that he was the outstanding no 8 in the 2010 6 Nations and will be there again if he keeps working hard. Did he really have to bulk up after signing his professional contract? When he turned out for Aberdeen Grammar as an apprentice he had the pace of a centre three-quarter.

  • Comment number 19.

    Currently on leave so I was able to go along to the announcement at the National Museum today.

    I would like to say that it was a great event, well organised and a rare opportunity to mingle with the players and ask them questions. Well done to the SRU although it could have been better advertised...

    Regarding squad selection, my feeling is that Richie Vernon is too light weight. If Al Kellock is going to be a starter then we need a more powerful lad at No.8. At one point today Vernon was standing next to Stroker and it looked like Stroker's thighs were twice the size of Vernons. I could understand Vernon's selection if the starting 2nd row features Gray and Hines/Hamilton. They always say that in Internationals there is no substitute for speed so hopefully I am being too negative, he is a good quick player and I really hope so see him make an impact in the loose down in NZ.

    To answer the question, from the players Andy Robinson has picked, my starting 15 would be:

    1 Jacobsen 2 Ford, 3 Cross 4 Hines 5 Gray 6 Brown 7 Rennie 8 Vernon 9 Blair 10 Jackson 11 S Lamont 12 Morrison 13 De Luca 14 Evans 15 Paterson

    My choice at 7 may be a wee bit controversial and Andy Robinson will start Barclay anyway. I really rate Barclay but seeing Rennie up close today he looked in great shape, I'd like to see him get a run of games - Scotland's possible answer to David Pocock? Thoughts anyone?

    All the best to the team!

  • Comment number 20.

    Sad for JB but as others have said he was outstanding last year and your son is never too old to get a hug from his Dad.

    First up team for Romania

    1 Chunk 2 Fordy 3 Euge 4 Kellock 5 Gray 6 Brown 7 Barclay 8 Vernon
    9 R Lawson 10 Jackson 11 S Lamont 12 Morrison 13 NDL 14 Evans 15 R Lamont

    16 S Lawson 17 Cross 18 Dickinson 19 Hines 20 Stroker 21 Cusiter 22 Paterson

    If the game is going okay then sub early. Have Hines, Stroker, Cusiter and Paterson start the Geoergia match and play for selection against Argentina.

    Good luck to all the squad and the support team.

  • Comment number 21.

    OK, a change of tact. What about first name on the teamsheet?

    For me, has to be Richie Gray.

  • Comment number 22.

    JB would go if on form; he is not and we will miss him. Vernon is not world class - but happy for him to prove me wrong! Some other players are also not on form, JB seems to have lost his way but might he have played his way in to form in the early games -we will never know.

    My best team: Rory Lamont; Max Evans (I prefer him at centre but he never passes the damn ball), Ansbro, Morrison, Sean Lamont; Dan Parks, Cusiter; Jacobsen, Ford (don't like any of the hookers - none of them can throw in!), Cross, Gray, Hines, Brown, Barclay, Vernon.

    Bench: Paterson; Rory Lawson; Ruaridh Jackson; Euan Murray, Dougie Hall; Strokosch; Kellock

    I have not seen enough of Ross Rennie but was unimpressed with him v Ireland and too small; NDL - apart from the warm up games, he has never looked like a rugby player- I would never take him; Strokosch is more limited than the other back rowers; I would ponder whether we should play Cross at loose head and Murray at tight but this might be too risky, particularly as Murray has lost his spark and is lucky to go given his Sunday unavailability;

    Here's hoping!

  • Comment number 23.

    Firstly, well done to all the lads picked. I'm sure regardless of all of our personal opinions that they have worked hard over the past few months to get a seat on the plane. Secondly, to the lads that didn't get picked, don't fret, for many if they keep up the good work will be key in future Scotland competitions. I understand they will be gutted to not have gotten the chance (this time around). As a Warriors fan, I look forward to giving Johnnie Beattie, Ryan Grant and Robert Harley a big cheer as they don the field as the season starts.

    As for Kellock as captain. I reckon it's a good choice. The boys work well under Kellock.

    My team would be Jacobsen, Ford, Low/Cross, Gray, Kellock, Brown, Barclay, Vernon, Cusiter, Jackson, Danielli, Morrison, Evans, S Lamont and Paterson.

  • Comment number 24.

    Feel incredibly sorry for Beattie and Laidlaw. Laidlaw especially who is consistently ahead of Blair at club level.

    Having said that it wouldn't surprise me to see them head out there at some point later on. Let's face it there will be injuries and although I'm sure both would like to be out there on the plane from the start there is a good chance we will see others out there.

    Bit surprised he hasn't gone with Lawson as captain. He is the stand out form scrum-half of the three and more guaranteed to start than Kellock.

    Can't wait for it to start now....

  • Comment number 25.

    Best squad Robinson could pick would all have the same name A.Another!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    1 - Allan Jacobson - Easy selection, strong but temperament suspect
    2 - Ross Ford - The hooker with the best experience
    3 - Geoff Cross - Euan won't play all the games so why should he play any?
    4 - Richie Gray - Stand out and not only because of his hair
    5 - Alastair Kellock - The captain has to play
    6 - Kelly Brown - See below
    7 - John Barclay - Because two killer bees is better than none.
    8 - Richie Vernon - Specialist number 8
    9 - Rory Lawson - He's the best performing 9 we have since MB is just back.
    10 - Dan Parks - RJ has made a few silly mistakes but so will Dan, so it's on style.
    11 - Rory Lamont - because he's speedy
    12 - Joe Ansbro - an exciting strong player
    13 - Graeme Morrison - Pains me to pick him over NDL, but he's played well
    14 - Sean Lamont - because he's strong and speedy
    15 - Chris Paterson - because he's the best kicker in the world

    16 - Dougie Hall; 17 - Moray Low; 18 - Nathan Hines
    19 - Mike Blair; 20 - Ruahridh Jackson; 21 - Nick De Luca; 22 - Max Evans

  • Comment number 27.

    I do feel bad for both players. Laidlaw has been playing fantastically at club level and is the only SH that plays the typical Scottish style of quick ball without the three pace shuffle before the pass.

    I don't there's a supporter around who wouldn't like to see JB back to his best but I can see how it was a tough choice. I do still feel he offers more than Stroker but Andy Robinson knows better than anyone what shape they're in. Still a good chance of an injury call up.

    As for the first team I'd go for:

    1: Jacobson
    2: Ford (S Lawson can't be trusted- remember last year!)
    3: Cross
    4: Gray
    5: Kellock
    6: Hines (our only enforcer)
    7: Barclay
    8: Brown
    9: Blair
    10: Jackson (a young Gregor Townsend imo)
    11: Rory Lamont (we need out and out speed on the wing)
    12: Sean Lamont (played a blinder there during the 6 nation)
    13: Joe Ansbro (speedy centre with a good step)
    14: Max Evans (our most dangerous attacker next to S Lamont)
    15: Chris Paterson (despite his detractors I still believe he has it all)

  • Comment number 28.

    "The scrum wasn't acceptable against Italy"
    Actually a real disgrace for Rugby Union, Italy was involved too, if the rules do not change Rugby Union will be deserted, we had 15 minutes of Rugby.

    "tight-head", we focus on "tight-head" maybe right, but the problem is maybe about the 5 structure..., sorry to point out, but is Cuttita a coach?

    About the selection,

    A shame for JB, Vernon has pace, but a bit light and not sure in defence...

    I was a bit disapointed by R.Lawson, slow and predictable, G.Laidlaw would have been a good cover at 9 and 10.

    I will shout for Scotland.

  • Comment number 29.

    I am not so optimistic about this world cup for Scotland, the lack of cutting edge in attack is a persistant problem and unfortunately this world cup has came a year too soon for Duncan Weir who combines the best parts of Parks and Jacksons game.

    Also, we keep getting told how unbelievably fit this team is and how they run 50 x 100m sprints in training but when game day comes around they tire and become lazy when holding line depth and running lines. After 30mins into the game tiredness sets in and depth / running lines a substituted with hit up ball at first receiver, and frankly we cannot play this physical style of game.

    Hope I am wrong and they are holding some electric style of attack for the big stage!

    Better commentary this week John.

  • Comment number 30.

    1 Jacobson
    2 Ford
    3 Cross
    4 Gray
    5 Hines
    6 Strokosch
    7 Barclay
    8 Brown
    9 Blair
    10 Parks
    11 R Lamont
    12 Morrison
    13 Evans
    14 S Lamont
    15 Paterson

    Would definitely leave kellock out, he's a leader ok but gray and hines are better footballers. Barclay would be my captain. I think Jackson flatters to decieve and really does offer that much, Parks- although defensively a little weak- has won us games in the past and knows how to control a game, if we manage to get a lead he can pin teams to the corners, a quality that jackson doesnt have maybe beacuse he is not experienced enough. Having both lamonts and evans in the back line would give us a lot of pace and a bit more in attack, but for ansbro's try against ireland would anyone really be raving about him? De luca is too much of a liabilty-he just makes so many mistakes! Morrison is one of the first names on the team sheet for me, when he takes flatball he sets up a terrific platform.

  • Comment number 31.

    Starting XV:
    1 A.Jacobsen
    2 R.Ford
    3 E.Murray
    4 A.Kellock
    5 N.Hines
    6 K.Brown
    7 J.Barclay
    8 R.Vernon
    9 M.Blair
    10 D.Parks
    11 S.Lamont
    12 G.Morrison
    13 N.De Luca
    14 R.Lamont
    15 C.Paterson

    16 D.Hall
    17 A.Dickinson
    18 J.Hamilton
    19 A.Strokosch
    20 C.Cusiter
    21 R.Jackson
    22 S.Danielli

  • Comment number 32.

    Come on Edinburgh fans take the blinkers off Nick (cough the ball up) De Luca is a liability and he proved it in the six nations, people have short memories. I still want to know what Robinson sees in him!?!?!?! He runs around like a headless chicken and his tackling is poor with a capital P at best. Ansbro please please please don’t get injured. I don't want to go back to the bad old days of the old school tie of Hadden/SRU.

    Sean Lamont at inside centre, you're having a laugh. Next you'll be telling us you want Townsend at stand-off!!!! Another example of the old school tie act..... Never coached a club team, but is Scotland’s international attacking coach, someone explain that one?

  • Comment number 33.

    Firstly, thanks to the entire squad for the way they interacted with the kids who were at the National Museum yesterday. Both my boys had a great time getting autographs and the way the players engaged with them is a fantastic advert for the culture of the sport in this country.

    Looks a really good squad - my only gripes (like many others here) would be leaving behind a fit versatile player like Laidlaw to gamble on the fitness of Cusiter, particularly as we are not struggling for quality on that front. The other is building a midfield around a player as seemingly one dimensional as Morrison.

    So, my preference would be

    S Lamont

    Come on Scotland!!

  • Comment number 34.

    Second on my list would be:

    15 Paterson

  • Comment number 35.

    What a fickle bunch we are - 6 months ago no-one wanted Parks to play for Scotland again, but would estimate around 70% of people who have commented here want Parks at 10.

    Still show's our lack of depth yet again...

    Laidlaw should have gone infront of Blair. No other great surprises to be honest, lets see if we can give a good show of ourselves!

  • Comment number 36.

    Chris Paterson is playng better than ever, and well worth his place but to say he is the best kicker in the world is delusional, and the kind statement that ill informed TV presenters ( Dougie Viapond) come out with. Sure from inside 35m he is fine but doesn't have the distance to be a world class kicker.

    Sean lamont at 12 is a real option, and would pose more of a threat than one dimensional GM.

    First name on the sheet Gray
    Second Barclay

  • Comment number 37.

    Gutted for Johnnie. It must have been a tight call for the selectors. Scotland are blessed with some cracking loosies. I would have had the killer B's in but I dont rate that job at the SRU. I think Scotland need to have two good games to do themselves proud. They have a tough draw and are not weighed down by expectation so I am hoping for some surprises being pulled by the men in blue.

  • Comment number 38.

    15 R.Lamont

    Patterson too easily turned over in contact these days and doesn't make enough line breaks now, lamont breaks line alot and is as strong as an ox

    14 M.Evans

    Electric in space, and can create his own

    13 J.Ansbro

    Threatens the line more than de luca, solid D too

    12 G.Morrison

    Underrated by a long way

    11 S.Lamont

    Best and most consistant performer for years now

    10 D.Parks

    We don't threaten enough from far out, so need someone who can give us field position consistantly

    9 M.Blair

    Brilliant at putting people into space

    1. A.Jaccobsen

    Solid over the years, Dickinson not good enough in the scrum at this level

    2. R.Ford

    Big work rate, carries ball for 80 mins too

    3. G.Cross

    Solid in the scrum, more dynamic around the park than murray

    4 R.Gray

    what can i say......i believe John Beattie once described him as a "force of nature". True

    5. A.Kellock

    Very good reader of opposition throws, can be really valuable

    6. K.Brown

    Rock for years now, dynamic too

    7. J.Barclay

    One of the best in the northern hemisphere when on his game

    8. R.Vernon

    Real pace and good hands, brings something different to the back row

  • Comment number 39.

    I know JB reads the comments on this blog so I'd like to add to those folk who want him to pass on to his son the very best and say that I for one would have taken him because he is undoubtedly our best ball carrying forward when at his best and I felt that a RWC might bring out the best in him after all his injury problems. Don't sulk, keep fit and have your bags ready because we are bound to get knocks and Beattie Junior could be one of those guys who goes straight into the team if called up as a replacement.

  • Comment number 40.

    Firstly, hard luck for Johnnie Beattie and Greig Laidlaw, both of whom should have been on the plane in my opinion. its probably not much consolation, but im always reminded of the phrase "Why do we fall down? So we can get back up again." in these situations. I also feel for Nikki Walker, who on the evidence of the warm up games, would've gone ahead of Danielli.

    As for picking a team, i would go for:

    15. Paterson
    14. Evans
    13. Ansbro
    12. De luca
    11. S. Lamont
    10. Jackson
    9. Cusiter
    8. Brown
    7. Barclay or Rennie, the one position where either of them will be outstanding.
    6. Strokosch
    5. Kellock (though id rather have Hines)
    4. Gray
    3. Cross
    2. Ford
    1. Chunk

    Bench: S Lawson, Murray, Hines, Barclay/Rennie, Blair, AN.other, R lamont.

    Ive gone for De luca at 12, although thats just the number on his back as Id like to see him, Ansbro and Lamont interchanging on attack, with Ansbro moving into the 12 channel in defence.

    "What about Graeme Morrison?" I hear you cry, and I shall respond with "What does everyone see in Graeme Morrison?" If you ever mention how he offers nothing in attack, his supporters club immediately pipe up about his defensive qualities, yet as I recall he was one of the numerous players who tried and failed to tackle Semenzato at the weekend, and dont even get me started on his absolute failure to shut down Sonny Bill Williams last year, a player who has since shown that he is still very limited and can be defended against without as much trouble as people would have you believe. Picking a player purely for his defensive qualities in a position that is should be about attack is just so conservative it deserves to fail.

  • Comment number 41.

    xcoach. He is statistically one of the best kickers in the world, does that sound better.

    I think Greig and Johnny should have gone and Cusiter and Murray out. Since we have two in each of the half backs Greig offers better cover whereas if we physically want to chuck the ball away best to have the woeful distribution of Cusiter there, people were going on about blazers and ties there's a guy who has something on the guys in the ivory towers.

  • Comment number 42.


    You are right, but statistics don't win test matches but penalty kicks from the halfway can.

    I think you are right about Cusiter, but according to AR, Beattie has got into the habit of drifting out of games, I would go with the coach on that one. No doubt that if Beattie was the one of 2010 he would be the first name on the sheet. At least he has the comfort of knowing class is permanent, his time will come again.

  • Comment number 43.

    The strongest team for main matches would be 15 r lamont 14 evans 13 ansbro 12 morrison 11 s lamont 10 parks 9 blair 8 brown 7 barclay 6 strokosch 5 kellock 4 gray 3 cross 2 ford 1 jakobson. rory lamont is far better direct full back, blair looks sharp for nine, vernon to light for 8 mobile but need aggressive backrow

  • Comment number 44.

    As a spectator, I'd echo the sentiment of much of the above in terms of the scrum. Not only did it look poor against Italy at the weekend but in terms of what's going on in world rugby right now the amount of time spent on re-sets is a joke.

    As a player, a winger - I don't understand the dark arts of what goes on at the scrum but all I know is, it gets awfully cold standing waiting for the scrum to finally complete (or more often land up in a penalty)!

    With regards to the squad and picking our top picks, I think its great that this debate is even going on, and all the guys in the final 30 (and beyond e.g. JB jnr) could quite easily slot in to a starting XV. Great to see such depth. I think the starting line-up will depend on the opposition (e.g. whether or not the kicking skill of Parks will be more beneficial than the style Jackson has brought to the stand-off role)

    That said.... here goes:

    15. Paterson / although both the Lamonts could step in
    14. Max Evans
    13. Ansbro
    12. Morrison
    11. S. Lamont
    10. Jackson
    9. Cusiter
    8. Brown
    7. Barclay (over Rennie...just)
    6. Strokosch
    5. Kellock
    4. Gray
    3. Cross
    2. Ford
    1. Jacobsen

  • Comment number 45.

    Very unlucky for Beattie Jr. I would have had had him in the squad over Strokosh but he is a young guy and I'm sure he will be back. With the squad that has been picked, the first choice 15 basically picks itself with the only debates being Jackson v Parks and Cross v Murray. I have gone with Jackson over Parks because we need to start moving the ball through the backs quicker and Cross over Murray because I was hugely impressed by him against Ireland. We need to sort the scrum out but if we do I think we have the measure of our opponents in the group. Very glad we have avoided the pacific island teams.

    15. Paterson
    14. Evans
    13. Ansbro
    12. Morrison
    11. S Lamont
    10. Jackson
    9. Cusiter
    8. Vernon
    7. Barclay
    6. Brown
    5. Kellock
    4. Gray
    3. Cross
    2. Ford
    1. Jacobsen

    C'mon Scotland!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    Scottish Rugby Union has identified 2 local chaps as prospective CEO's.

    This is like staring at their navel - what on earth is wrong with these people? Bringing a playground rugby mentality to the boardroom table.

    Why would they not seek individuals with international experience to add value and boost the SRU with new ideas and infuse the clubs with new money and keep our players in Scotland?

  • Comment number 47.

    When some gets injured (not wishing it but it inevitably happens) can we call up additions to the squad? If we can JB could get a reprive and is so injury/rustiness/fitness will have had more time, his distructive attacking play remember try against ireland in Dublin is a massive asset, not dissimilar to england waiting on lewis moody, for one i don't want to see us play an over coached over planned game , we are always at our best when more off the cuff, so my team will be loaded with creatives, Sean Lamont, (Creates Holes), Nick Deluca (Creates Space) Ewan Murray at his best and signs of that returning ) creates havock, Nathan Hines too albeit he may get sent off in the process, but who know he might not. Cusiter to Parks 9/10 Cusiter takes them on more physically, and albeit cocky Parks has the arrogance to control.

  • Comment number 48.

    Blair's perhaps the least inspirational player ever to grace a rugby pitch - he's not a strong player and his ability to do the basics is worrying.

    Jackson should'nt be allowed anywhere near a rugby ball - I appreciate the ball takes a couple of decades to get to him thanks to Blair but he then puts the handbrake on even more before he either spills it or incurrs a charge down.

    That said, I think the rest of the squad could be good.

  • Comment number 49.

    Throwing Kellock the captaincy has to be a huge error - surely the best second row combination is Hines + Gray? The captain should always be a nailed on certainty to start - there is no way kellock should be in the 15, maybe the 22 at a push... Blair is a shadow of the player he used to be, and I'm afraid that Jackson just doesn't yet cut it as an international 10. In Ansbro, Evans and Rory Lamont we have some exciting players, but I'm worried we just won't be able to get the ball to them in areas where they can do some damage.

    However, I am most worried by the overall appearance of the Scotland team. The combination of Gray's locks, Dan's sideys and Jim Hamilton's sleeve are likely to cause extreme embarrassment on the international stage.

  • Comment number 50.

    As with most posters agree that the likes of Gray, Chunk, 2 B's in the fwds. Just depends on how AR builds/balances this unit to maximise strengths that suit team we play - ie powerful scrum/good lineout/speed to breakdown etc
    The backs are more tricky. IMO its either Parks at 10 and Lamont at 15 or Jackson and Mossy. Also agree that Evans, Ansbro and S Lamont give various options at wing/centre.
    The other key factor is the impact of subs, particularly to change our style of play if required, and in this respect AR would appear to have picked wisely [apart from perhaps JB jr]

  • Comment number 51.

    Don't Cry for Me Argentina.
    This for two reasons:
    1. I'm old enough to remember sitting watching the Scottish Football team in 1978 and the huge disappointment as I as a 12yr old watched us tumble out of the world cup having failed against Peru and Iran. My worry is that we might only manage one win out of our pool games.
    2. Even a lack lustre Argentina side will put us to the sword under the pressure of us having been beaten by either Romania or Georgia and needing a win.

    Sad to say I've grew up watching Scotland, watching some really exciting games, alas no more it would appear (yes I know we only remember the good times but.......). We seem to be stuck in the one pass and dunt style of rugby. Either the players aren't allowed to play their natural game or they don't have the skills to allow them to.

    If we're still even having the debate over who plays at 10 then that's a sad reflection on the amount of talent playing rugby in Scotland and Scottish Rugbys development programmes.

    I don't like admitting the above but until Scottish Rugby wake up and smell the coffee we will never move forward.

  • Comment number 52.

    15. Paterson
    14. Evans
    13. Ansbro
    12. S Lamont
    11. R Lamont
    10. Jackson
    9. Blair
    8. Vernon
    7. Barclay
    6. Brown
    5. Hines
    4. Gray
    3. Cross
    2. Ford
    1. Jacobsen

    De Luca has played well recently and might edge Ansbro. Kellock will hopefully not get the captaincy as i reckon he's probably our 4th choice lock.

    S Lawson has done well in the build up games and might pressurise Ford.

    As others have said though it could be a case of the teams being picked being horses for courses depending on who the opposition is.

  • Comment number 53.

    Reiver7 #51 The only way Scottish Rugby will move on is if the SRU stops the old school tie nonsense and start treating Rugby as a professional sport, like the other nations have. We have almost double the population of Ireland or Wales, but we can only support 2 professional clubs!!!! Utter rubbish......

    OffTheBench #46 wrote "This is like staring at their navel" is a true statement and it has to stop....

    How do you pick 22 international players from a pool of 30 first choice players from 2 clubs?!?!?! Means Edinburgh and Glasgow are left with a basic second string team for most of this season, utter nuts!!!! And to make even more nuts Glasgow has the smallest playing budget of all the RaboDirect Pro12 teams!!! But as out preformed half of them over the last 10 years.....

  • Comment number 54.

    Alex #53 you'll not get any argument from me on this one. There needs to be a better way of introducing more players to pro or semi pro rugby in Scotland. Obviously even the Scottish coach, who I think is doing a fine job with very sparse resources, obviously thinks the selecting 15 players in the final squad that don't play their rugby in Scotland. Can there be a more damning verdict on the Scottish two pro team system than that?

    I could rant on at length but won't and come the first game, despite it all, I will still be shouting at the TV screen like a demon in support of the team.

  • Comment number 55.

    R Lamont; Evans, Ansbro, Morrison, S Lamont; Jackson, Lawson; Vernon, Barclay, Brown; Kellock, Gray; Cross, Ford, Jacobsen.

  • Comment number 56.

    Am i the only one who saw what a significant difference Murray made to the pack against Italy? He helped steady the ship and turned a scrum under extreme pressure in to one that was starting to hold its own. If only he could iron out the inconsistency ! he is a class item.

    For me:

    15. Paterson
    14. Evans
    13. Ansbro
    12. S Lamont
    11. R Lamont
    10. Jackson
    9. Blair
    8. Vernon
    7. Barclay
    6. Brown
    5. Hines
    4. Gray
    3. Murray
    2. Ford
    1. Jacobsen

    Agree with eth comments on JB. He would have been in my squad.

  • Comment number 57.

    I was at the game and to supplement my live experience, I have watched it back on i-player.
    How NDL could be awarded the MOM is beyond me. He remains a competant club player and mediocre international. His (one) fine break was balanced by the ineptitude of spewing the try chance when he clearly had support right and left, by instead choosing to die with the ball. How that constitutes a MOM performance is beyond me.
    For me the clear contenders were Brown, Barclay and Evans, in that order. I didn't notice JB at the match, but his graft all round was something to behold when watching the game back. This was only surpassed by the sheer industry of KB.
    J Beattie should be there, interesting that he didn't play for Glasgow on Friday?? I am not convinced that he won't play some part in the tournament however. (Maybe even a starring role?). We need to utilise our props in games 2, 3 and 4, by 'spelling' them where possible. If that means 5f and 2b, then that's how we should play it. My team would be as follows:

    Patterson (R Lamont too fragile and positioning poor, but on bench)
    Lamont S
    Cusiter (R Lawson on bench)
    Jacobsen (Dickenson on bench)
    Ford (Lawson on bench)
    Cross (Murray or Low on bench deps on day of week)
    Kellock (Hines on bench)
    Brown (Strokosh or Rennie on bench dep on opposition)

    We have backs and forwards versatility that will cover injuries in the game and also the differing styles of the opposition. If we raise our game a little (which there is plenty of room to do), and we have been improving over the last 4 games, then I look forward to a long run in the competition.


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