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Can Scotland start afresh with youngsters?

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John Beattie | 16:35 UK time, Thursday, 5 January 2012

So, Andy Robinson has picked his squad for the Six Nations campaign - and no doubt beyond. What do you think of it?

It's a powerful squad with some outstanding prospects but as I see it there are three problem areas.

The first one is captain. Who is he going to pick as captain? Robinson picked Al Kellock then dropped him for a key game at the World Cup.

Chris Cusiter and Mike Blair have been joint captains in the past, but the unpredictability of form means neither can be named as captain yet.

In the back of his head the coach might be viewing a heavy duty second row partnership of Jim Hamilton and Richie Gray.

I see some are saying that John Barclay, Kelly Brown and Ross Ford are captains, but I like my captains to do it week-in, week-out. To me the best captain is Al Kellock.

The second headache area is stand off with no fewer than four picked in Duncan Weir, Rhuaridh Jackson, Greig Laidlaw and Dan Parks.

I'll leave you to pick one of those and Parks has to have been selected as his rivals have yet to put their hands up to demand selection.

And the third is at number 8. Richie Vernon isn't playing for Sale, Kelly Brown is an excellent 8 but is playing at wing forward for Saracens, and David Denton is the best ball carrier but, as with the others, isn't playing.

My suspicion is that it's a choice between Vernon and Brown, both excellent players, though Denton knows there is a gap there should he wish to fill it.

There are young players who may end up being versatile.

Robert Harley could end up in the second row at some stage in his career, and I am surprised that Jon Welsh has not made it into the squad.

It's a good squad with good players.

But I think the Six Nations games will be up a notch this year with England under a new coach especially dangerous at Murrayfield.

Let me go and think of a starting fifteen, I'll write it down here later, but tell me what you think of the squad and what would be your starting fifteen if the first game was next week?


  • Comment number 1.

    Anyone know much about Shingler?!

  • Comment number 2.

    I would go with the following team against England

    15 - R Lamont,
    14 - S Lamont, 11 - Danielli
    12- Ansbro,13 - Evans
    10 - Weir, 9 - Cusiter
    8 - Brown, 7 - Denton, 6 - Harley
    5 - Kellock, 4 - Gray
    3 - Cross, 2 - Ford, 1 - Jacobsen

  • Comment number 3.

    To win against England and begin our Grand Slam, Robinson should select thusly:

    1 - Chunk
    2 - Ford
    3 - Murray
    4 - Gray
    5 - Kellock
    6 - Strokosch
    7 - Rennie
    8 - Brown
    9 - Cusiter
    10 - Weir
    11 - Danielli
    12 - Ansbro
    13 - S. Lamont
    14 - Evans
    15 - R. Lamont

    SUBS: Cross, Barclay, Lawson, Denton, Hogg, Harley and McKenzie.

    Incidentally, Robinson's with us until after the 2015 World Cup so blooding new players - evolution rather than revolution - seems sensible.

    Scotland for the 2012 Championship!

    COME. ON.

  • Comment number 4.

    And Kelly Brown for Captain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Isn't Ansbro an outside rather than inside centre?

  • Comment number 6.

    Yes but he'd partner well with Sean Lamont at outside.

    The armchair critics' creative licence!

  • Comment number 7.

    Have to agree with "Dave"s line-up, for subs I'd opt for Vernon for versatility and pace instead of Harley. Would also like to see how Lee Jones copes on the international stage.

  • Comment number 8.

    Still thinking of my starting team, but this news about Shingler is interesting with his selection being challenged by the Welsh

  • Comment number 9.

    It would appear that the Boyos are a bit upset that Shingler has opted for Scotland. Really can't see what their beef is, yes he played for Wales U20 but all the teams he played against had A sides so u20 representation doesn't tie you to that country - besides the rather tacky form that the Welsh U20 lads had to sign during that season went unsigned by Shingler. I think that the Welsh are still agrieved that Morgan has chosen England as his country of choice and don't want another high profile defector in the space of a few days.

    Other than that JB, i can't agree with you on Kellock. He's probably the 4th best 2nd row we have behind Gray,Hamilton and Mckenzie and as such we can't go down the same route of electing a captain that is sweating over selection to such an extent.

    At No8 i reckon we need to build for the future and select Denton, he has the dynamism that is lacking in the Scottish pack, i look at the Irish backrow trio with real jealousy knowing that they'll smash over the game-line every time they get the ball so creating quick ball for the backs.

  • Comment number 10.

    As a Warriors fan I am pleased to see youngsters such as Weir, Harley and Hogg being selected. I think it in general has been a good selection, however, some omissions such as Ryan Grant, Ryan Wilson and Johnnie B have left me feeling a bit surprised. Correct me if I'm wrong but not many changes have been made given the downhearted feeling after the RWC. Also, on captaincy I would stick with Kellock. He is a natural born leader. However, maybe after the RWC dropping, he himself, may not want it. ( Still cannot to this day believe that Robinson did that)

  • Comment number 11.

    Dave, is Scott or Rory Lawson on the bench? Either way you're short either a hooker or scrum half

    I like the look of your starting pack but I'd prefer Dickinson on the bench instead of Cross, not normally a Dickinson fan but he's been very good of late, personally I like Scott Lawson as a replacement I think he gets around the park well and as long he doesn't have a crazy moment and start giving away penalties left, right & centre - anyway my team

    1. Chunk
    2. Ford
    3. Murray
    4. Gray
    5. Hamilton
    6. Brown
    7. Rennie
    8. Denton

    9. Cusiter
    10. Weir

    11. Jones
    12. Shingler (real lack of options here, desperately need creativity)
    13. Ansbro
    14. Sean Lamont
    15. Rory Lamont

    16. Lawson
    17. Dickinson
    18. Low
    19. Kellock
    20. Rennie
    21. Laidlaw
    22. Hogg

    Leaving us short in the backs I know but if there's an injury to Murray we are knackered, against England the pack is going to be critical, I think there's room for invention later in the tournament but it's important to get a strong, steady start

  • Comment number 12.

    Tough to decide on the team to pick - mainly due to the lack of options at 12 - but I'd probably go something along the lines of:

    15 - Rory Lamont
    14 - Lee Jones
    13 - Joe Ansbro/Nick De Luca
    12 - Sean Lamont/Joe Ansbro
    11 - Max Evans
    10 - Ruaridh Jackson
    9 - Chris Cusiter
    1 - Allan Jacobsen
    2 - Ross Ford
    3 - Euan Murray
    4 - Richie Gray
    5 - Jim Hmailton
    6 - David Denton
    7 - Ross Rennie
    8 - Kelly Brown

    Subs: Cross, S. Lawson, Vernon, Dickinson, Laidlaw, Danielli, Barclay

    Picking Jones at 14 is probably controversial - but, in the same way as I don't like the look of the options at 12, the wing options are thin on the ground too.

    As for captain - tough one, but it's got to be someone who is going to play. I don't see many in the backs that are guaranteed starters, so probably looking at someone in the forwards - Brown, Ford, Chunk?

    It's good to see that we seem to have some strength in depth - I think you could pick 2 reasonable teams out of the squad. The question is, however - can they perform to the level that they are capable of as a unit?

    Slightly surprised not to see James King in the squad - he's been very good for Edinburgh this season, and would give something different from Morrison.

  • Comment number 13.

    Agree completely Skhovdahl, the qualification of Visser can't come soon enough to be honest but inside centre is a real problem at the moment

  • Comment number 14.

    To 'abzrugby', it'd be Rory Lawson on the bench for my line-up.

    I appreciate we'd be short a forward in reserve but I think the attrition - in the England match specifically - will be found (bucking the trend of their style of play of the last decade) in the backs.

    I reckon, under their new management, they'll commit more to their backline. We'll dominate their pack.

    Therefore, a big, strong centre pairing for us, pace out wide, Rory at the back and replacements at the ready.

    And a few of the lads can interchange between positions if required.

    I cannot wait!

  • Comment number 15.

    Hooker is a specialist position though so you'll have to stick one on the bench!!

    I too cannot wait but I'm not convinced England have the potent back line required for a change of tactics completely.

    I'd have liked to see Morrison, Vernon, Parks left at home, not convinced any of the 3 of them offer much, particularly not when compared to Grove, Mcinally and alright there's maybe not a direct replacement for Parks but the spot could have been better used!

  • Comment number 16.

    15 R Lamont
    14 Ansbro
    13 Evans
    12 De Luca
    11 S Lamont
    10 Weir
    9 Cusiter
    8 Denton
    7 Rennie
    6 Brown (c)
    5 Kellock
    4 Gray
    3 Murray
    2 Ford
    1 Chunk

    Subs: Hall, Cross, Harley, Barclay, Laidlaw, Shingler, Danielli

    Shingler is a last minute inclusion, he must be good if its annoying the Welsh so much! Agree with Dave, Brown is the only choice for captain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Would love to see Prob will be
    15 - R Lamont 15 - R Lamont
    14 - M Evans 14 - Evans
    13 - Ansbro 13 - D'Luca
    12 - Shingler 12 - Morrison
    11 - Jones 11 - Danielli
    10 - Weir 10 - Jackson
    9 - Cusiter 9 - Blair
    8 - Brown 8 - Vernon
    7 - Barclay 7 - Barclay
    6 - Denton 6 - Brown
    5 - Hamilton 5 - Kellock
    4 - Gray 4 - Gray
    3 - Murray 3 - Murray
    2 - Ford 2 - Ford
    1 - Jacobson 1 - Jacobson

  • Comment number 18.

    Abzrugby - yes, can't wait till Tim is eligible to play for Scotland, but I don't think we should expect him to solve all our ill's. Yes, he's a great finisher - almost unstoppable with any space in the 22 - but he needs to get the right service. Think of it like knowing the lottery numbers, but not able to get anywhere to put them on!

    Also think he needs to work on his defence a bit more - though it improved substantially towards the end of last season when Scriv was in charge of Edinburgh. Seems to have kept it this season, too - don't see him rushing out the defensive line like he used to any more - with one amazing tackle against Cardiff(?) early in the season.

  • Comment number 19.


    That's why I put Shingler at 12, need to get the ball past first receiver before we can create anything for the wings, choice of Shingler or Jackson for 12 I reckon

  • Comment number 20.

    Abz, that's exactly the reason why Morrison is not in my team - doesn't seem to be able to pass. Also why I'm not sure about SL@12, and might have Ansbro there - and why I'm surprised (& disappointed) that James King isn't at least in the squad.

    Jackson at 12 could be interesting - if we had warm up games, would be worth a try, but can't see it happening in 6N.

  • Comment number 21.

    Our biggest problem has been our inability to win matches because we can't score tries and I'm not convinced Weir is the man to change that. I'd prefer to give Laidlaw a start at 10, with de Luca outside him. Weir has scored a lot of points for Glasgow, but with the boot and, whilst Edinburgh haven't matched Glasgow's performances this season, Laidlaw strikes me as an intelligent and flexible player, who Robinson was foolish to ignore for the World Cup. Whilst I do prefer Jackson to Parks, I don't think he's good enough to play international rugby at present, too often displaying a lack of awareness of his surroundings and poor judgement. Weir keeps him out of the Glasgow side for good reason and Laidlaw is a far better prospect.

    Having found de Luca's international performances very disappointing in the past, he began to show his abilities in the World Cup warm-up and regularly makes ground this season. His defence is good enough (I hope) and I suspect he could develop a partnership with Ansbro to unlock the tries we desperately need. Shingler may be a better option, but I hadn't heard of him before the squad was announced, so can't comment.

    Kellock can't be captain because his place is not certain. Any doubt of that should have been washed away by Robinson's World Cup eccentricities, so it has to be someone Robinson has to be confident will start when fit. There aren't many candidates outside Ford, Jacobson and Sean Lamont and I'm not convinced any of them are captaincy material. That leaves established captains and, perhaps with the long-term in mind, suggests Harley might warrant consideration. He's used to captaincy with Glasgow and will have plenty of experience around him irrespective of the starting XV selected.

    Rennie made a difference when he was allowed to play in the World Cup and the failure to recognise that is another reason Robinson worries me. Brown may not be playing No. 8 at present, but has surely done so often enough that it holds no mystery for him.

    To me, Lamont is not a centre and should be played on the wing, with Evans on the other wing. Both can make breaks, but both also possess the ability to throw the ball away in tight positions, so I'd prefer they have more chance to show their skills in more broken play, or where their turnovers give the other team less room to work with. I'd consider Hogg for starting at full back, but maybe it's too early, so Rory Lamont would be my choice, with Hogg on the bench to cover various positions.

    1. Chunk
    2. Ford
    3. Murray
    4. Gray
    5. Hamilton
    6. Harley
    7. Rennie
    8. Brown

    9 - Cusiter
    10 - Laidlaw
    11 - S. Lamont
    12 - de Luca
    13 - Ansbro
    14 - Evans
    15 - R. Lamont

    I would hope the autumn international starting XV would look quite different, following a summer tour which should offer many of the younger players a chance to show what they can do. I have less hope Robinson will finally accept form is better than familiarity. In the cold light of day, his teams have not delivered and that has to change.

  • Comment number 22.

    Definitely Weir for number 10. He's put in some pretty strong games and Jackson is looking ineffectual in comparison to him. I'd then follow that with Laidlaw who has been impressive looking for a while now. Then Jackson, then Parks.

    Where's Visser by the way? Is he not able to be in the Six Nations this year?

  • Comment number 23.

    Visser doesn't qualify on residency grounds until this summer, when he should be in the touring squad.

  • Comment number 24.

    To start against England
    12.De Luca

    Just reading about the Shingler situation.There has already been a legal precedent set, as 2 other players (with duel nationality) that played for wales U20 v france u20 in the same game last year have since moved to Conaught and have been advised they are eligible for Ireland. I think Wales have lost this one.

  • Comment number 25.

    Well a few opening in the squad I think now just with retirements and form coming into play. Personally my team would most likely be along the lines of this:

    1 Chunk
    2 Ford
    3 Murray
    4 Gray
    5 Hamilton
    6 Brown/ Stroks
    7 Rennie
    8 Brown/Denton

    9 Lawson/Cusiter
    10 Jackson
    11 Evans
    12 S Lamont
    13 Ansbro
    14 R Lamont
    15 Hogg

    Replacements: Cross, S Lawson, Kellock, Either of Denton or Stroks that didn't make the starting lineup, Laidlaw, De Luca, Jones

    The front five pretty much picks itself as our strongest unit with Cross offering cover for both prop sides off the bench. Currently I think Reenie pips Barclay for 7 and currently err with Stroks for experience with Brown at 8 but Denton would offer the ball carrying option probably more effectively. I'd say Capt would be between Brown and Ford as they are the 2 main stick ons for every selection but given Ford usually leave at 60 minutes every game think Brown is the man for this campaign.

    9 is a flip of the coin to me like both and happy if either were to start. Jackson continues at 10 whatever people say about Weir at Glasgow I saw the change in fortunes that Jackson brought when he came on in the first Edinburgh game and pretty much waas responsible for them coming back to take the draw. Parks would be a step backwords and we need to really look to the next generation. Sean at 12 is mainly as we have better options at wing than at 12 and he can actually pass to his 13 allowing us to move the ball, however if we can have anyone else to do it then wouldn't complain in seeing them in there it is our main problem position. Morrison whilst defensively solid just results in our attack play stuttering to often if not totally! With 14/15 I'd go with a debutant with Rory filling the other berth (injuries permitting as always) From what I've seen and heard Hogg currently looks like the better form between himself and Jones so that's who I'd start with. Laidlaw offers better cover from the bench at 9 and 10 so opens up that extra back substitute we can utilise to our advantage late in the game with tired legs.

    Only a few months until Vissers passport comes through (June I as understand it) so hopefully by then we can get our midfield in order to fully utilise the big man's finishing prowess. Personally feel happier to be going up against the English first this year rather than the French who I think with their new 'full time' coach are going to be odds on favourites for the championship if not the slam

  • Comment number 26.

    The first name down on everyone's team sheet seems to be Chunk.

    Therefore, make him Captain.

    I read in 'Rugby World' about his attitude after the Georgia or Romania game, so he may have to curb his language for the press slightly, but he is committed, assumes he won't be picked so tries hard to show in each game that he is good enough to be picked, the fans love him and would be a no-nonsense captain.

    Kellock is a good captain, and I would be happy with that, but there are a lot of good 2nd rows around.

  • Comment number 27.

    Whilst Chunk is a mainstay player I wouldn't pick him as captain based on a few factors.

    1) First and foremost he does get caught a fair few times for infringments at the breakdown and to my mind that's not great for a captain. He also does seem to have a habit of mouthing off after being caught (you can usually see him on the screens/TV doing it) not a problem as he keeps it to himself walking away but if he has to talk to the ref about it not so good.

    2) Chunk is already 33 and realistically might have another 2 years top flight left in him if that. We've shuffled our captains alot over the last few years and think we should try and find ourselves a set captain that might be around for a while.

    3) Chunk seems to suffer from concussion a lot - well that's my reasoning as to why he keeps turning up in the midfield trying to play as a half back so often. Not really anything to count against him this but it does do my head in as he gets in the road or drops the ball too much. Add I'd count this against Ford as well in his line-out throwing he has a tendancy to hit a down patch where if he misses 1 he goes on to miss/struggle with the next 3-4 throws. I'd prefer the efficiency of Brown to either of these, I'll hold my hand up in saying that KB has changed my opinion of himself as a player in the last few years where before I wasn't sure he'd ever make the grade.

  • Comment number 28.

    Got to agree with Drowningnotwaving having Laidlaw as No.10 (and his other selections). He is playing really well at present, Murrayfield is his home ground, a better all round player than Weir. I would even make him captain! Also agree with having De Luca at 12 with Ansbro outside him. Kellock not big enough against the sizeable English. Chunks can't be captain. It might tame him!

  • Comment number 29.

    On the Shingler issue I am of the view that the rule of best evidence should be used by the IRB to determine the case. By that, I mean that the WRU must produce a declaration signed by Shinlger that he is committing his future to Wales by playing that game. If they cannot do that then Shingler remains eligible for Scotland and England.

    My reason is that the WRU say that their procedures were followed but it appears that Shingler managed to play without signing the declaration. The whole case that WRU are putting forward rests on them following their own procedures.

  • Comment number 30.

    Been trying to check up a bit on Steve Shingler and physical stats at least look pretty impressive 6ft 3" and around 14 stone is a big frame for a 20 year old lad. Especially for one that prefers to play at 10. Has also played at Centre and Fullback so far this season played 10 games for London Irish (8 starts) Scored 2 tries but not had any kicking duties despite being noted as a good kicker. It's his first breakthough season as far as I can tell so are there any London Irish fans online that can tell us more (this is where I miss 606! JB's blog is rarely on the main rugby page).

    Wales want to guard a potential player which is understandable but someone has made an error on on side or the other. Either Shingler has been poorly advised when playing for the Wales Under 20 (surely a Scotland call up was more likely to come sooner than a Welsh one especially given our midfield deficiencies) and if he wanted to keep his options open shouldn't have played (tough thing to tell a young lad that would just want to play mind you).

    On the other hand given Shingler has mentioned a waiver/disclaimer that he did not sign. My question would be that if playing was all you needed to do in order to relinquish all possible allegancies to other nations why have the need for the player to sign such a thing?

    All we need now is for him to be cleared an put in the squad for the Cardiff game on the 12th Feb...

  • Comment number 31.

    Ok, now to throw a curve ball in

    How about Hamilton as Captain - with Hines retiring, i would expect him to be first choice with either Grey or Kellock. He has improved his game and actually works hard and is a solid player

    He also is a talker (if you watch the Glos matches you will see it is him leading the huddles and doing the talking on the pitch) - which I feel Bracley, Brown and Ford lack

  • Comment number 32.

    I think Kellock is still the best choice for captain, he captains Glasgow well and is by far our best line-out operator, maybe give the armband to Gray in two or three years time, but for me Kellock is the man just now.

    My starting side would be something like:

    15 Hogg
    14 Evans
    13 Ansbro
    12 Morrison
    11 S Lamont

    10 Weir
    9 Laidlaw

    8 Denton
    7 Rennie/Barclay
    6 Brown
    5 Kellock
    4 Gray
    3 Murray/Cross (on sundays)
    2 Ford
    1 CHUNK

    Bench something like: Lawson, Dickinson, MacKenzie, Barclay/Rennie/Strokosch, Cusiter, Shingler/de Luca, R Lamont

    The main talking points are 9, 10 and 12 for me and the back row. Laidlaw has been excellent for Edinburgh in the games I've seen and Weir the same for Glasgow, possibly switch Shingler for Jackson on the bench. Jackson and Weir are good to interchange mid-game, Lineen has done that well when one has lacked inspiration and the other has changed the game, Weir coming on away to Montpellier and Jackson coming on at Murrayfield in the first leg of the 1872 cup. I reckon Morrison at 12 just now, he tackles well, needs to offer more in attack but we're not spoilt for midfield talent at the moment, de Luca is playing well for Edinburgh, has a nice step and defence is much improved, he just is very easily stripped of the ball by an organised defence when in contact.

    The back row is fairly tight, Brown is the only player who's guaranteed to start for me, he covers every blade of grass and is probably our most underrated player. Barclay is the best option at 7, just, but it's very positive to see some real competition coming in from Rennie, who always makes a great impact off the bench and gets himself in good support positions. I reckon Denton at 8, big carrier and needs to get some caps and experience. I'd love to see Beattie jnr re-uniting the killer-Bs but hopefully he'll get good game time in the pro12 and heineken cup and get onto the plane to Australia. If he can re-gain the form of the 2010 six nations he'll be our first choice number-8 and with a very real shout of a Lions test jersey come 2013.

    Not picked Hamilton on the bench, a big unit, useful in the line-out, but he always seems to give away needless penalties, which, with our try scoring ability we can't afford.

    On a positive note, consider this, Italy and France have new coaches and are unproven, England are having a torrid time with injuries etc, Ireland have lost O'Driscoll and Wales although they had a superb World Cup, they only top tier team they beat was Ireland, please don't confuse this as me saying they're no good though! There is a chance Scotland can come along and take the tournament by surprise and get some good wins . . . perhaps I'm just an outrageous optimist though!

    I'm sure my comments will take a beating, but that's my thoughts.


  • Comment number 33.


    Why would you pick Rennie over Barclay!?! Rennie is hardly even getting into the Edinburgh 15 atm and Barclay is without doubt our best player!

    The Front five pick themselves more or less. EUAN MURRAY on a saturday, GEOFF CROSS on a sunday and depending on how much physicality Robinson wants over domination in the lineout it would be the enourmous JIM HAMILTON or line-out demon AL KELLOCK.

    1 Cross/Murray
    2 Ford
    3 Chunk
    4 Gray
    5 Kellock/Hamilton

    BACK-ROW is fairly simple. JOHN BARCLAY would start at 7 no doubt about it. KELLY BROWN has to go somewhere whether its 6 or 8 which means do you pick ROB HARLEY or RICHIE VERNON? Considering Vernon cant get a start at Sale you would have to go with Harley at 6 and Brown at 8.

    6 Harley
    7 Barclay
    8 Brown

    HALF BACKS: CHRIS CUSITER is the S-H playing the best atm and I would pair him up with DUNCAN WEIR who is the most in-form Fly Half. He is keeping current scotland 10 RAURIDH JACKSON out of the Glasgow 15 so why not go with him? He will have an experienced and familiar 9 in Cusiter to guide him through it which is why i havent picked GREG LAIDLAW. However laidlaw would definetly be on the bench. Two new half backs could be a recipe for disastour.

    9 Cusiter
    10 Weir

    CENTRE: GRAEME MORRISON has been dreadful fo Glasgow since he got back from the world cup so he cannot be picked at inside centre which leaves a problem as there are no out and out inside centres. However I would pick SEAN LAMONT. Although he may not be the most experienced 12 he would make life easier for weir. If weir ever found himself in trouble he could easily offload a short ball to lamont to smash it straight up over the gain line as we saw with Rhys Preistland, on his debut, and Jamie Roberts.
    Then NICK DE LUCA outside centre as he has been the stand out 13 since the end of the 6 nations last year.

    12 S Lamont
    13 N de Luca

    RORY LAMONT is the only real option at fullback but a good one. He is raring to show what he can do after his absence from the team for a while. STUART HOGG is not quite ready for a start yet but a definite candidate to be eased in off the bench, also a potential 13 anyway not 15. MAX EVANS on one wing and JOE ANSBRO on the other. LEE JONES along with Hogg should both be making an appearance sometime in the championship.

    11 Ansbro
    14 Evans
    15 R Lamont

    That should be the team to start against England but it could be a fairly different team to finish off the championship. HOGG, JONES and potentially SHINGLER could all be looking at strong starting candidates. I have only gone for two new caps in HARLEY and WEIR but there should be more to come.

    And finally CAPTAIN. KELLOCK has been great in his captaincy but is he going to be a definte starter until the 2015 world cup? I dont think so. For me the only real candidate is JOHN BARCLAY, a fantastic leader and one of the best 7s around atm. Although ROSS RENNIE is great I never really see him reaching the heights that barclay could. So for me its out with the old and in with the new. Barclay gets the nod and he should stay until the next world cup.

  • Comment number 34.

    My 22 against England would be:

    15. R. Lamont
    14. M. Evans
    13. De Luca
    12. Shingler
    11. S. Lamont
    10. Weir
    9. Cusiter

    1. Jacobsen
    2. Lawson
    3. Murray/Cross
    4. Gray
    5. Harley
    6. Rennie
    7. Barclay
    8. Brown

    16. Hall
    17. Cross
    18. Kellock
    19. Vernon
    20. R. Lawson
    21. Parks
    22. Ansboro

    We need players that are on form and can also live up to the pressure of an international match. Maybe players like Denton and Laidlaw at 10 could start against Italy.

    Choices explained

    15. Offers good attacking qualities and should be rewarded with some game time for re-joining Glasgow. Hogg could replace R. Lamont if need be with R. Lamont replacing Ansboro on the bench.

    11. to 14. This will be a hard hitting back line. 11, 12 and 13 should create space for M. Evans to finish. 11 to 13 can all make big tackles which will be needed.

    10. Weir has been outstanding with kicking and we need that with Paterson gone.
    9. Cusiter is playing well for Glasgow.

    Doubtful players:

    R. Lamont - must make sure his defence is rock solid. Needs to get back to the attacking form he was in at the 2007 RWC.

    M. Evans - I chose him because he scored a great try against England last year (the chip), showing his skill. If he doesn't start well, he should get replaced.

    Players to be considered -

    Jason White - still playing in France, great Captain, tons of experience. Would really like to see him play again. He has been on form. Possible selection for the bench ???

    J. Beattie - Excellent pace, creates space and has been great in all of his appearances. SCORES TRIES!

    D. Parks - Doesn't offer much running in attack but can find excellent touch and is good at goal kicking. DG in RWC aside, he has never let us down (IMO).

    H. Southwell - Great try against Montpellier. Best fullback we have without Chris. Possible selection for 14?

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't understand why so many people on here are thinking that Ruaridh Jackson is useless and has been dropped by Glasgow in favour of Duncan Weir. Ruaridh has struggled with injury since the world cup, hence why he has featured so infrequently. By the 6 nations I would be hoping that he is 100% fit and in that case he should get the nod ahead of Weir. Duncan Weir has a great boot on him, but similarly to Dan Parks this seems to be his first instinct rather than running it. With Weir on the team the scoreboard will keep ticking over - but is this what we want? What about the tries that everyone wants Scotland to start scoring? We have seen from the games that Jackson has featured in, that when he is on the pitch the ball goes through the backs a lot more, and tries are scored.

  • Comment number 36.

    WingMan - I agree, we do need more running rugby, however, Weir was instrumental in Glasgow's crucial try against Montpellier. I think that Jackson is a great 10 and should probably take 21 in my 22. Weir has been on form and is right for the position.

    Finally, although I am all for running rugby, it may be best for Scotland to try and get into the opponents 50 and then go for DG's and penalty's. Weir is great at kicking and to have him getting the scoreboard moving would be beneficial.

    We must not forget the great form we had in the world cup. We went at England and led well in the first half.

    My predictions

    Italy - (W)
    Ireland - (W)
    Wales - (W/D)
    France - (L)
    England - (W)

    Finally, why are people selecting Danielli. He is slow and uncreative with the ball. Granted he scored two tries against Romania, but he is poor in defence.

  • Comment number 37.

    For the first time ever I seem to be more enthusiastic about Scottish club rugby nowadays than its international team. We've averaged less than one try a game in the 6 Nations for the past 4 years. It's beyond ridiculous. We haven't had a menacing creative spark at 10 for what seems like an eternity and a chronic inability to win games has left us stuck in a rut where avoiding the wooden spoon defines the pinnacle of our ambition.

    Furthermore, we're playing a style of rugby which I just don't want to watch any more, let alone pay to watch. The most yawnsome style of a tactical kicking game I've ever witnessed. Every year we pin our hopes afresh to the same feeble formulas
    only to see them dashed again. Well, I'm just not buying that any more. Somebody wake me up when something genuinely exciting happens and I'll re-evaluate my opinion.

    Firstly we need to take a leaf from the current Welsh book (which we're apparently trying to do in the most literal sense, LOL!) and get as much fresh young blood as possible pumping through the team's veins. The established blood has had many a fair crack of the whip without delivering the goods, so be as ruthless and bold as wisdom permits in giving the youngsters a chance.

    I've got a feeling about Laidlaw at 10. I think he's the kind of character who would handle the step up well. Sean Lamont stepped up admirably to his responsibilities at 12 last year and surely he'll start there in the coming tournament. Lord only knows how de Luca got the nod ahead of Ansboro for the RWC debacle. Lamont and Ansboro should be our centres. It's nip and tuck between Hogg and Rory Lamont at 15. I suppose that selection will ultimately depend on how they both fare in the coming weeks.

    As for the captaincy, we need our strongest group leader who's an automatic selection pick on his individual abilities. Ford doesn't have enough fire in his belly. Barclay isn't consistent enough. Would the added responsibility of captaincy crush them, or see them blossom further? Kelly Brown has been our best forward for the past few seasons, but I know nothing of his leadership qualities. I can't help but feel that the remarkable abilities of Barclay and Beattie have gone right off the boil since Brown's move away from the Warriors. Brown's consistency and work rate seemed to give the other two Killer Bs the stability and vital spark to bring out the best in them.

    I rate Kellock highly as a leader, but a creaky scrum at international level is an absolute no-no and Big Al doesn't seem to contribute a great deal in the loose either.

    Even given Scotland's limited resources, we have still been under-performing too much for too long. I put it down to some unfathomable form of mental weakness. I'll cheer them on until the day I die, but it'll be in front of the telly for this year's tournament. There's not a snowball's chance of me paying serious money again only for the expedition to Murrayfield to drive me bananas with the same frustrations for the umpteenth time.

    Still, Visser will be along shortly. And a few of the hungry youngsters might give promising accounts of themselves this spring. There's that to be upbeat about for sure.

  • Comment number 38.

    1st and foremost Jackson is not useless and I do not think Weir is useless at moving the ball, so who do you choose I guess the better point scorer?

    For 10's to do there job well you need the players that can create something around you, however what makes this happen even better is a good forward pack that can gain yardage and create quick ball.

    This has happened at Glasgow most of the season as it has taken the Forwards 60 mins to start making there mark. This is not the 9 or 10's fault but Weir when it is stuffy can convert penalty's into points better than Jackson.

    My team would be as 34 list though I cannot think who apart from Cursiter could be captain. The further exception is that is is time to move on and Jackson definitely in instead of Parks and Hogg in.

    All it seams is to play for according to AR when they meet up on the 23rd we will see?

  • Comment number 39.

    I have to agree with Band of Borthers that there would appear to be a pre-occupation with Ross Rennie in preference to John Barclay, I'm not too sure why that is! Indeed, ABZ likes Rennie so much he has him in the starting 15 and on the bench, a tough ask for anyone.

    In my opinion our pack has been pretty good and doesnt need much of a tweek. They held their own against England in the WC. Its our backs that cause the problem due to their inability to score tries. We have thus relied on the boot of Parks and Mossie to keep us in matches allied to a strong defence organised around and by Graeme Morrison. We need to be bolder!

    As such I would go for:

    1. Jacobson
    2. Ford
    3. Murray

    4. Kellock/Hamilton
    5. Gray

    6. Harley
    7. Barclay
    8. Brown

    9. Cusiter
    10. Weir

    11. Jones
    12. Ansbro
    13. Evans
    14. S Lamont

    15. R lamont

    Bench: Hall, Dickinson, Kellock/Hamilton, Denton, Laidlaw, Jackson, Hogg

    As for captain, whilst i respect Kellock and the job he has done, his place is always under threat. As such, I think Cusiter, Barclay or Ford.

    Happy days that we can have this debate and still have excellent players not even in our proposed 22's!

    Come on the Scots!

  • Comment number 40.

    Please can we give some of these younger guys a run, Hogg, Laidlaw, Denton, Shingler, Weir etc.

    Lets select on form for a change...not history and play some rugby instead of trying to win with kicks!

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 Neville

    Well spotted! I'm so used to assuming Barclay in the starting position and Rennie on the bench that I automatically put Rennie on the bench as well! Barclay is a fantastic player but he's been well below par for some time, the people calling to pick on form need to use the same approach on the back row as they do in the backs, Rennie has been on top form for Edinburgh for some time and played extremely well in the World Cup, Barclay has been the incumbent for some time and been consistently excellent but that level has definitely dipped, some of it is definitely down to his current situation at Glasgow but he can't feel the position is his on past glory and it's time to freshen things up a bit. I'm sure John can appreciate this situation John Beattie jnr is a fantastic player but his form dipped below par and was rightly dropped for it, Barclay is in the same boat


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