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Summer wins demonstrate growing Scottish confidence

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John Beattie | 13:01 UK time, Saturday, 16 June 2012

What's the significance of these two wins against Australia and Fiji by Scotland? Isn't it about time we Scots, as a country, kicked off the natural "minnow" status we have and tried to have more confidence.

Isn't confidence the key?

We grow up believing that other sides are bigger, or stronger, or come from bigger rugby countries, and I have used all of those as an argument to explain losing in the past.

But it was Finlay Calder who once said: "Ultimately, it's 15 on 15 so playing depth is irrelevant."

And there is a point to that. Every time Scottish rugby players mingle with opponents it's agreed that our players work the hardest in training when compared to any country.

And yet inside every Scottish rugby player there is a gnawing, teasing, tangible a lack of belief. It's natural. We don't win that often.

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson with stand-off Greig Laidlaw

Scotland head coach Andy Robinson has won two from two on the summer tour

History tells us, as it did in 1978 with "Ally's Army" and our round ball cousins, that things go terribly wrong most of the time if you think you're favourites.

In fact, because I am Scottish, I'm frightened to read too much into these games. I can, for instance, rationalise the win over Australia as down to weather and a complacent Wallaby team.

I could, by the way, say that Fiji had a shocking set piece, poor defensive set up, and a terrible lineout.

But when you think about it we don't win in Australia or Fiji much so these are very, very significant results.

In a playing sense the games have signalled an improved scrummage for starters. Ryan Grant has provided much needed stability on the loosehead and Euan Murray has done what we all knew he could on the other side.

Interestingly, the Fijian commentator talked about how "intimidating" it was to be out-scrummed by Scotland. And about how the Scottish "bullied" the local boys.

I don't think we ever view ourselves as capable of bullying a bunch of Fijians. It's good to see ourselves as others do.

The second thing I've picked up on is on an improving defensive effort too. In the dying minutes of the game Scottish kicks were chased by a line of blue jerseys.

Line speed was extremely fast. Tackling, perhaps under Scott Johnson, is more abrasive with an attempt to drive the players back.

Another plus is that a proven finisher is in the side. Tim Visser scored two tries on his debut, but frankly that's routine. His first was from a miss- pass by Nick de Luca, but the second was a poacher's try if ever there was one. Coasting ahead of an up-and-under the erratic tap back came from a hapless Fijian and Visser was in.

He is going to be an asset to the team.

And, again in the final minutes, Stuart Hogg brought pace to the proceedings to chase back and thwart a Fiji attack. This is one of the fastest Scottish teams around the pitch, man-for-man, for a while.

Andy Robinson's effect on all of this can't be underestimated. He is a winner.

Oh, and before I finish, the end of the game with both teams gathered together in in one big circle on the pitch is one more reason why I love rugby.

I am confident of that.

Do you agree, is it down to confidence or am I reading too much into two wins on a summer tour?


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  • Comment number 1.

    i think these are great results that bring us up to ninth in the world now, and with the world cup placements coming later this, this is very important. It's just a shame we can't have these results in the six nations or the world cup!

  • Comment number 2.

    Beating Fiji in Fiji with what seems like a strong display by the pack and with the backs getting tries, all after beating the Aussies, must give a huge boost to the confidence levels.
    We needed confidence levels lifted after the 6Ns (especially after that final game in Rome!) and if we can keep improving/winning together with strong performances, has to bode well for games to come.
    Let's not get over confident for the Samoa game as 3 wins would be a great result.

  • Comment number 3.

    Well done Scotland. Now undefeated in two consecutive games in the Southern hemisphere. I have to take back most of what I have blogged about Andy Robinson in the recent past. Scott Johnson has undoubtedly helped.
    Can't help but think there is a connection between experience 'down under' and results. The country which has beaten the All Blacks the most is Australia - because they play each other the most. Means regular tours there will improve a teams performance out of all recognition. Argentina must improve now they are part of the 'quad' nations. Discuss.

  • Comment number 4.

    Although these two results are good for our ranking, there is no point getting carried away imo. Scottish rugby is working hard to develop the game at grass roots but will never succeed and get any better than we are if we continue with the mentality that a player has to attend a certain school.
    Look at the SRU website and go to the pathway section, look at the players and the schools they attend.
    Where is when Jimmy from the Gorbals or Jonny from Craigmiller?

    Speak to the man in the street and he will know very little about club rugby, some will know when Scotland are playing but would hardly be able to name 10 rugby clubs.

    Yip great result for the current squad and very well deserved, I am glad we stuck with Andy Robinson as he is an excellent coach and should take us forward in the short term.

    Long term we need to look at the grass roots and have a level playing field for young players.

    John, Confidence is great, Natural talent is what we need to move forwards and catch the likes of France, Ireland, Wales, England and Italy for starters.

  • Comment number 5.

    Anyone know why the teams gathered together in 1 big circle ?
    We didnt use to do that until after 10 pints and the brooms came out

  • Comment number 6.

    Well done Scotland, and about bloody time too !. Haven't seen the game yet and will have to wait until some nice person uploads it on to You tube..............just like with the Australian game. Winning is the most important thing in any sport and it doesn't matter how or who. We've got to get ruthless like we used to be in the 80s and 90s with Fin Caulder and his gang of Yobs, so it was nice to hear that the pack bullied and intimidated. Look at the AB's, they try and destroy every team they play against and show no mercy. Another good point was about self belief. Tim Visser has it in spades and I hope that it rubs off on the rest of the team. PS I still think that Al Kellock should be captain of the team. He is a natural leader which unfortunately Ross isn't. I love seeing him prowl about barking at the guys. And if AR wants a captain that will be on the pitch for 80 mins then he should choose a back.

  • Comment number 7.

    #4 Scottie3999 - I've said before on this blog, until more state schools play rugby we will always see a large percentage of players coming from the private sector. In Motherwell and surrounding area there are 9 schools I can think of, and of those only one has its own Rugby team (Dalziel HS), while another 4 (Bellshill, Brannock, Taylor and Cardinal Newman) have a joint team at S1 level only. We hope that with starting the joint team that more will want to play rugby and will come through the club game, but there just isn't the same appetite for rugby in the state sector.

    #5 Scoosh - saw somewhere that they gathered together for a short prayer.

  • Comment number 8.

    well worth getting up at 2.30 and perhaps it will get some of the idiots off ARs back, especially that Kevin Ferrie of the Herald. we still need to learn how to put teams away, but it is coming, a big ball carrier like Denton would have helped, and if Blair & Cusiter would stop giving the opposition a ball to run at us with every time they try a box kick it would make life easier. Still like to see Laidlaw at 9 with Weir at 10.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well, first of all, well done to Scotland - I watched the match in the pub and it had me on tenterhooks the whole way (I'd avoided finding out the result) and on the verge of pulling out my mobile and going online just to know once and for all, but held out. I can't imagine what it must have been like playing in that heat against guys whose legs seemed as long as Ritchie Gray is tall. They looked like they could score at any time. And at last a back who feels comfortable scoring tries! Roll on Samoa!

    Scottie3999, rawxing is quite right. It really depends where you are. In the Borders, state schools DO play rugby. The issue is getting the game into state schools across the central belt. I don't know about 'Caledonia' but I'm sure others can comment. Again in the Borders, club mini rugby is thriving. Perhaps one of the issues in those state schools that do play rugby and in club mini rugby, is the possible lack of intensity. The independent sector definitely play more rugby, field selected teams and thus thrash the other schools and clubs who perhaps adopt a more inclusive (ie everyone has a chance to play) policy towards selection for games. It goes without saying then that independent schools probably feel they get more competitive games from other independent schools. Touch rugby, with its focus on skills rather than grunt, is perhaps the version that should be introduced in schools. Another thing is to use guys like Duncan Weir as role models but it doesn't help if he's left languishing on the bench.

    Over to the SRU to continue more aggressively and creatively its drive into schools.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh and it's beginning to look like another southern hemisphere clean sweep - just one fly in the ointment: Scotland. Wooden spooners.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well done Scotland the only team to win down south so far.
    I know it was only Fiji but we MUST win next weekend.
    The SRU are not interested in the state schools and never have been.
    They are just catching up with the game turning pro
    We will always be a second rate country because of the suits at the SRU.
    If we could get into the state school then we could improve but it would take years.

  • Comment number 12.

    Great results so far over a decent Aussie team and a match ready Fiji team. Only Samoa left in the way of a clean sweep of decent victories.

    I'm really pleased to see the confidence coming back to the Scottish international game as I felt they should have beaten England and France in the 6N and lacked the composure to seal a QF place in the WC.

    I just wish Wales could beat the Aussies in Australia, or New Zealand, or even back home in Cardiff. That's our 6th straight defeat against them since our last win in Nov 2008. Scotland however can now claim back to back wins.

  • Comment number 13.

    I totally agree about bullying opposition packs. We've had a few enforcers over the last decade (Hines, White, Murray) but if we could get 7-8 of our pack puffing their collective chests our and niggling away at their opposite numbers then we'd make huge strides.

    The team is looking the best it has since 1999, there's quality from 1-15 and youthful exuberance, and I'd be surprised if players like Richie Gray, Tim Visser, Stuart Hogg, Ross Ford, David Denton and Greig Laidlaw don't go onto play for the Lions next year.

    On a separate note, is there any way you could have a word with the BBC team about their obsession with Tim Visser's nationality. You don't hear the same about Botha, Barritt, Hartley, Faletau, Waldrom and Tuilagi etc, no asking if they know the national anthem. Seems a bit off to me.

  • Comment number 14.

    We've been improving under Robinson, without getting the results in the Six Nations or the World Cup. Hopefully we can build a bit of momentum, and, more importantly, an expecation of success into our side. Visser being on the pitch seems to have lifted everyone and taken away a bit of the white line panic we get in the opponents 22.

    It's been frustratingly close for Scotland - could easily have beaten Argentina and England in World Cup, and close games with England and Wales in 6 Nations for that matter. Hopefully we're erasing the problems that saw us dip in the last 3 halves played in the six nations.

    Anyhow, well done lads, good results, tough assignment next week, good luck with that.

  • Comment number 15.

    I don't think we want to get too carried away with dominating the Fijian scrum. Traditionally the weakest part of their game, I thought the performance over the Aussies in that respect was far better.
    (The Welsh have a good scrum and haven't imposed themselves any better in the scrums than we did in Newcastle).

    The real plus points for me from this game was coping admirably in defence against the Fijians, who have probably the most naturally talented backline in world rugby.
    It was nice to see us taking our chances, and I think the starting of the Johnson influence is appearing where we don't camp out in an opposition 22. We get a score and get back on with the game.
    10 minutes of sustained pressure only to get help up or knock on is meaningless, and nice to see very little of that.
    (Albeit against a relatively disorganised defence).

    As for Tim Vissier, I'm with the "get over it" brigade. He was signing his heart out for the anthem, and has more links to Scotland than some of the ringer imports we've had over the years.
    Everyone is at it, so let's not get hung up about it.
    England have players born in South Africa, NZ and the USA.
    Oz has kiwis, and NZ have players from all over the South Pacific.

    Denton is of Zimbabwean birth, and he evades the stick but having a storming first game. So with Visser knocking in 2 tries on his debut, let's just embrace him as one of us.
    May he have a long and successful Scotland career.

    Bring on the clean sweep in the tour, and would be nice to roll the Boks in the Autumn tests to get us up into the top 2 pools of seeds for the RWC draw.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ madmac
    Get used to it the visser question add that to the SRU potential player imports will only make it worse still. However as far as the other players are concerned, Tuilagi and Faletau, although born overseas have played their rugby and been raised in the countries they now represent. Hartley i believe was born in England but moved to NZ as a child as for the SA born players i do not know. Just remember the media will always be english orientated as they represent the majority, only recentley they spoke about George North and Alex Cuthbert ( both born outside wales) as potential english players at one point. However both players stated that they never had any interest in playing for england, (shock horror) and wished to play for the country in which they were raised and where at least one parent was from in Norths case he is even a welsh speaker, they asked this once in an interview and the answers being so emphatic it has never been asked again. The real issue for the english media, is why they struggle to understand that Denton or Visser would choose Scotland and North and Cuthbert go for Wales etc If its any consaltion they will be obsessed by football and 1966 for a "little" yet.

  • Comment number 17.

    So after 8 games, the only home nation to have won a game so far this tour is?

  • Comment number 18.

    Mr Beattie as much as i would like these games to Herald a new dawn for the Scottish team reality must bite (as it did for Ireland Wales and England today firmly on the posterior) In competitive games at the world cup Fiji were blown away wales beat them 66 - 0, so the fact that you won albeit good. You still shipped enough points to a weak Fiji that any decent team wouldn't be to worried about playing you as for the Australian game it goes doown as a win which is great but like the Wales under 20's against NZ the win had more to do with the weather and in Scotlands case a severley depleted Australia which itself was within a hairs breadth of winning the game. I know one poster said that you would now win the 6N tongue in cheek i am sure, but it must give confidence and should you get a good win against Samoa i would say the building blocks are finally being laid but lets be real about it otherwise the habit of building something up to what it's not only leads to big fall. Rugby needs a strong Scotland so come on the jocks

  • Comment number 19.

    The BBC really is ridiculous and disappointing. Why was the game not televised! Scotland have recently beaten AUSTRALIA away and are playing Fiji, a game with the best player in Scottish rugby ATM making his debut! Furthermore, there was no competition as ESPN only jumped in at the last moment. This was a highly anticipated game and would probably have cost less than televising a 6N match.

    Scottish rugby is at its prime and a game which would have been cheap is not being shown. Instead we get EURO 2012 games like the Czech Rep. vs Russia - who really wants to watch that!

    Get your act together BBC. Instead of filming a flame for over 70 days at godknows what price and then millions for archery and table tennis (come on!), give us something decent like this. If you don't, it'll be you chasing ITV.

    And what happened to the sportsound rugby podcast...

  • Comment number 20.

    Scotlands win over Australia is probably Scotland's greatest sporting achievement ever... just about eclipsing their football european qualification victory over San Marino. I can imagine this is a proud moment for all you Scots. Savour these moments, it is highly unlikely you will ever experience them again

  • Comment number 21.

    @20: Hey, we beat Macedonia as well, once!

  • Comment number 22.

    Great win for Scotland. The summer tours are starting to be an excellent route for building confidence and showing what we can do - remember Argentina last year too.

    I really hope we can win in Samoa too (but that will be extremely difficult). It is great to be the NH team with the best record so far.

    So, congratulations to the team and the management. Keep it up!

  • Comment number 23.

    Firstly,again WELL DONE SCOTLAND,FANTASTIC game and result.Its all coming together now,The whole package of scottish rugby is on the up and deservedly so.Spirit,passion,patience,determination,teamwork and leadership,oh and we are still the only British side to beat a southern hemisphere side this tour!!!Keep it going guys and make the others eat there words!!

  • Comment number 24.

    I clicked on sport then rugby union first thing i see is england lose then wales then ireland all with headline pictures and text while scotland win and i have to find the text on john beatties blog surely the winning team out of all these 'great' rugby teams that should have won there games should have there picture on the main rugby news and not have to find it in the scottish rugby section. Come on we have to see everyone elses great achievements instantly while we have to search for our own

  • Comment number 25.

    @19 & 24, the disdain that the BBC treats Scottish rugby fans with is breathtaking. I logged on just after 7 this morning (2hours after match had finished) expecting to read a match report but there wasn't one. As if this isn't bad enough there was no mention of the score on the website which is an utter disgrace.

    John, can you find out why Scottish rugby is treated as such by the BBC?

    Good to see improvements being made on this tour. I believe in Gray,Denton,Rennie,Visser and Hogg we have some stellar players. The other players in the side need to raise their performances to get near those 5, if they do then Scottish rugby is in rude health for many years to come.

    As an aside, great to see the scrum going so well. Is there any coincidence that Jacobsen and Cross haven't played? I certainly believe so.

  • Comment number 26.

    Mr Cougar @ 20: Your first name tells all Scots all they need to know about you. Scotland have done, so far, much that has eluded the other home nations on this tour ie winning matches. You can only play what is in front of you and neither teams Scotland have played so far have been second rate or poor. We Scots well know the the bitterness of falling short by a small margin, however you do yourself no favours with your self imagined wit. Do get over your self and leave this site to rugby followers.

  • Comment number 27.

    mentaljonni and hewittextratime83: I was up last night and expected to be able to watch the game via the live score section of the BBC website. No usch luck. They had a game preview but no live scores. And didnt see the result on the website till 0830. Shambles.

    Their games maybe viewed as less important than the others due to weaker oposition. Whilst it is true that they are playing "weaker" teams, Scotland themselves before the Summer Tour found themselves lingering with the IRB Ranking of 12. So put into perspective these are massive games, and really good results!

    Ireland did fantastic today and really troubled the ABs. Great to see. So so close to making history.
    Wales yet again stumble against the SH. Didn't see the game so can't comment too much, but what is it gonna take for them to get that win?
    England need to find tempo for the full 80 mins. Lost it in the first half. Can do better.
    Scotland won. Can't knock them for that. Let's see it more often!

  • Comment number 28.

    It's worth keeping in mind two things. First, Australian teams may underestimate their opponents from time to time; but they are still always hugely motivated ( and I speak as a Scot with a whole clan of Aussie in-laws!). Second, highly rated Wales have just lost to the Wallabees twice. So let's give this Scottish team credit where it's due - in relative terms (if not absolute) they may be our best in 20 years.

  • Comment number 29.

    15. "Oz has kiwis, and NZ have players from all over the South Pacific"

    Perhaps you might name them. The only player in the All Blacks 22 todaywho was not born in NZ was Ben Franks who was bonn in Australia and came bak to NZ with his parents as a toddler. Where are all these players from the Pacific Islands?

    As fro Hartley born in NZ and went to Rotorua Boys' High School.

  • Comment number 30.

    jkirpatrick ..."a severely depleted Australia"

    are you referring to the team, 15 of whom were in the 22 who beat Wales after losing the Scotland game? As someone else has said, you can only play who is in front of you. Australia played in the same conditions as Scotland. Scotland just did so better on the day. They've now beaten Australia two games on the trot.

    I don't think you can accuse the Scotland fans here of getting carried away with the two victories on this current tour, though we could be forgiven for being so given the run of eight or so defeats we've endured. It's more the ironic amusement perhaps of being the wooden spooners and the only winners - so far - in the SH. We also bear the scars of many a disappointment and false dawn. If you're looking for hot air and puffed out chests, I'd suggest a look at Wales...who finally got a taste of the other side of the usually unacknowledged luck they've all too often ridden to victory.

  • Comment number 31.

    @29 FallingTP:

    Does it really matter where you are born? i would say that has the smallest factor of what nationallity you feel you belong to!
    Everyone plays by the same rules. And I think the rules are pretty fair!

  • Comment number 32.

    as fitzpatrick the great all black captain said you make your own luck, did i write of any complaints concerning the refs in this series so far ? As for riding your luck, come on if a team is on top the bounce and the decisions often go with them. Scotlands poor run in the 6N was down to them as individuals and as a team, exactly as it is for wales in Australia now, they only have themselves to blame for losing the second game, something they admitted to straight away, they said we were not good enough, hardly a statement of arrogance. As for the alledged arrogance that people are laying at the door of this welsh team, its nonsense there are some people in wales who definately have a stupid arrogance when talking of the welsh team, but not those players. Most certainly not any one old enough to have lived through the extremely barren times, when wales were the whipping boys of international rugby. As for my comment about a depleted Aussie team they were valid (15 of a 22 do not constitute a starting 15 particularly when you look at the make up of the forward unit so you bullied fiji whoo hoo, not "the force they were once eh" read on read see the comment i make about wales and their recent past in terms of teams whipping them)and to Scotlands credit as "I" have previously written, you can only beat whats in front of you and they did -just- history will record the win as just that, not the standard of opposition. All i was alluding to was the belief shown by some that all is good, now that a SH team has been beaten, when it is obvious to all but the most cyclopean patriot that it will take more. As a welsh man "yes" with strong scottish roots (check the name i proudly display) i want Scotland to do well, i just do not want them to waste time on delusions, as the welsh rugby fraternity did for so many years. I live in the highlands and would love to see more development and input up here, god knows there is some untapped potential. So just remember good teams make their luck and by virtue of doing so can ride it wherever they want. Which makes the whinger and poor loser happy because he can blame his misfortune on someone else, i never heard Warbuton complain about the ref after or during the world cup something many a player and coach (from all countries) could learn from.

  • Comment number 33.

    @32 jkirpatrick : i think the arrogance that people give to this welsh team is sometimes misguided as it does not come from the players as you mention. My perception of it comes from the media and some vocal fans that cant come up with their own opinion. So often Wales have be lauded as with playing the best rugby, and unlucky winners.......which in my opinion means they acheived nothing. Their is so much talk of their successful WC, where they only really beat Ireland, and time and time again we have seen them lack that killer edge (bar 6N 2012) that makes a team great (eg All Blacks V ireland yesterday). Anyway, thats where I think it came from.

  • Comment number 34.

    Scotland need to be given credit for touring the Pacific Islands. I think it is good for Scotland to play teams they have a good chance of beating in order to build confidence. And it is good for Fiji to host tier 1 teams. It benefits their team, their supporters and their economy. Hopefully more teams will follow Scotland's lead and help raise standards in the South Pacific. Well done ESPN for showing the game. The picture and sound quality were not what what we have become accustomed to but that did not in any way detract from the rugby. I hope that does not deter broadcasters from showing future games in Fiji. I think the Pacific Nations Cup should be televised. It is the third strongest international rugby tournament and the games are usually pretty close.

  • Comment number 35.

    @33 agree totally to often in this country (all of the home nations) we talk up rubbish as good. when in contrast the SH are realists which is why they win the games that count. People in wales rave about the potential of this team, me outside of the gold fish bowl can be more objective 6N titles are ok but until you consistently beat genuine world class teams you are still second rate, which as much as it pains me to say it, shows how well England did when they won the world cup and the victories preceding it. The media are like internet trolls who have little better to do with their stunted intellects than spout rubbish in the form of cultural / racial sterotypes, basically lazy and many of them lack the love of the game Please ITV leave the world cup alone PLEASEEEEE

  • Comment number 36.

    like the sound of that i would watch any rugby (even newtonmore) it would be good to broaden my little knowledge of the game and have always enjoyed watching the islands rightly regarded as the greatest natural pool of talent in the world.

  • Comment number 37.

    I don't see anyone getting over excited by these 2 Scottish victories. There is no arrogance in Scottish sport due to very little success. Wales have a very successful rugby team. Ireland do very well at international sport, regularly qualifying for international tournaments (cricket world cup, Euros etc). They regularly enjoy success at rugby and have some decent golfers too. Not bad when you consider that their most popular sports are gaelic games and horse racing. I don't know why Scotland have so little success at sport. As I have never been to Scotland I do not feel qualified to have an opinion on the reasons for this. However, I do believe that in England the majority of sportsmen come from private schools where there is more emphasis and opportunity to succeed at sport. In England we have a big enough population of public school boys to achieve sporting success for all of us whilst the rest of us bask in their glory from our pubs and armchairs. So whilst a large population is no guaranty of sporting success and a small population is no excuse for failure, I can see that if the social structure in Scotland is similar to that of England, due to its smaller population, this could result in a lack of sporting tallent. Whatever the reasons, it must be pretty depressing most of the time to be a Scottish sports fan. So enjoy this success for what it is.

  • Comment number 38.

    @ 37

    "However, I do believe that in England the majority of sportsmen come from private schools"

    Do you really believe this? I think you should look at the number of Englishmen who play football and decide how many of them have come from private schools. I'm pretty sure none of the current english starting XI had a private education. There may be a few more in rugby but certainly not a majority of sportsmen.

    Athletics may have a few and cricket probably has a high number, but I very much doubt the majority do.

  • Comment number 39.

    I appologise for my last post. I don't want to put a downer on Scotland's victory. It was a good game of rugby. Scotland should enjoy the win. And they should expect acknowedgement from the British press and will be deserving of a heroes welcome home from the Scottish public should they make it 3 from 3. Samoa will be favourites for the final game of the tour. Win that game John, then you can start reading more into it.

  • Comment number 40.

    @37 MovingForward:


    "in England the majority of sportsmen come from private schools "

    In rugby yes that might be true, but as the years go by that will get less.

    In football (which probably has the highest number of sportsmen in), athletics, boxing........I would doubt very much that the majority went to private school.
    Very strange perception. You add to much emphasis on the private schools and ignore that raw talent will acheive much more. I would say there is more raw talent out of private schools than in them!

  • Comment number 41.

    Liverpaul85. I was referring to sportsmen and women who represent England, or GB in the case of the Olympics. I'm pretty sure Zara Phillips or any of the rowing, sailing or equestrium teams didn't attend a local comprehensive. We win gold medals for sports that require investment and expensive equipment like horses and boats. We have not won any tournaments in international football since 1966. I don't have any stats to support my claim of a majority. I was just making the point that England can have a situation where the majority don't have any real opportunity to succeed at sport but we can still have some international success due to our large population. Wales obviously focus on rugby as a nation. Ireland must be doing something differently to Britain. But Scotland, if it is just like England but on a smaller scale, are not going to have much success due to its small population. I don't know if this is the case, but from reading other comments, it does seem that other people do feel that the majority of potential sporting tallent in Scotland is not being tapped into.

  • Comment number 42.

    Mr Ichallen. I agree that more raw tallent exists outside of public schools than within them. But with the non-competitive culture of comprehensive schools with no emphasis on sport, and the selling off of playing fields, I do not neccessarily agree with your assumption that the importance of private schools in producing the sportsmen of the future will reduce. I have experience of both private and state education and they are worlds apart. A child is not going to know if he has a tallent for a particular sport if he never tries it. And he is not likely to develop a tallent to a world class level without encouragement, training, competition and support.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done Scotland, 2 games 2 wins pleases me no end. However I seem to remember the same last year in Argentina giving all us long suffering Scotland fans hope for the future, only to return to the usual valliant losers tag in the World Cup and the 6 Nations. We need more consistancy and far less unforced errors which cost us dearly especially in the 6Ns. On a brighter note, the new names in the squad seem to be worthy additions, so as with any Scotland sports fan whether it be the football or rugby side I remain ever the optomist.

  • Comment number 44.

    Pretty good discussion so far, most start off well & simply degenerate into a slagging match.

    As regards John's original question, there's no doubt confidence is crucial. ABs, SA & Australia will generally go into matches expecting to beat minor teams quite easily & have a very good chance when playing each other. As one of the lower "top tier" teams, Scotland will have a different mindset; "if we do all the technical stuff right, show commitment & maybe get the odd favourable decision, we have a good chance". Pretty sure that's not the Springbok's mindset...

    Much as it hurts to say it, the northern hemisphere teams are generally weaker than their southern compatriots. Sure, they might dislodge numbers 2 & 3 in the world now & again, but generally, things settle back down to their "normal" pattern. Until the strong NH teams start beating the big 3 on a much more regular basis, we're all going to have lower confidence levels than them.

    P.S. Also pretty disgusted with the BBC's treatment of the Scotland game. I had to trawl through the Sky Sports website to find out the result. Yes, we are a lower ranked team; yes, we weren't playing one of the "big 3", but still, to highlight the three home nations that lost & relegate Scotland's endeavors to the side is simply wrong.

  • Comment number 45.

    Just because you are born in a stable, doesn't make you a horse. As has been mentioned often so far, lots of teams have players from other countries. Get over it! Tim McVisser is one of us now.

    I agree with the poor coverage of Scotland on the BBC, but as someone else has pointed out, there is a lack of Scots who are genuinely interested in rugby. A few years ago, I was in a working mans club in Lanarkshire and was watching the Calcutta Cup match on the TV. Scotland had a 5 metre scrum and England were panicking. Mike Teague detached himself from the scrum wary of Calder, White and Jeffrey. Scotland went and scored a pushover try. At that moment, there was a big shout from the rest of the people in the club - for the briefest moment, I thought we had some rugby fans, but they wanted the TV turned over for a horse race. We do need to educate our children about rugby, or we will continue to play second fiddle to the rest of world rugby and horse racing!!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    These results mean absolutely nothing. When it really matters, in the Six Nations or the World Cup, we just can't and don't perform. When this team wins in a meaningful situation, perhaps then I'll start applauding.

  • Comment number 47.

    Ahh Mike Teague what a great player - Findlay Calder rucking white shirts out of the I used to love watching Scottish Rugby back in the day (even when they were beating England)...
    Well done Scotland - regardless of the weather beating Austraila at home is some acheivement and Fiji are no mugs. I too was a little perplexed at the lack of comment on the Scottish game, I logged on to read the England v SA report and just happened to see the Scottish result by chance. The BBC does seem a tad anglo centered and I can start to see why there is so much resentment of us up north if this is anything to go by.
    Samoa will be tough but good luck Scotland.

  • Comment number 48.

    No doubt winning is better than losing. Makes you want more. AR is building solid foundations and doing a grand job and Johnson will be good for us too. As it stands, whatever the recent results, all of us who love rugby know we're just a wee bit off the pace at the moment. However, we're on the up and we win more and no-one cares about the sniping from the sidelines.

    At the moment we win and lose games mostly by narrow margins. Being a Scottish supporter means you also have to be able to go the full 80 minutes. We have a 1st rate pack but the backs are peppered with weak spots and aren't the real deal yet.

    In the pack Ford is an excellent all round player but his throws to the lineout are suspect when the pressure is on and it matters. He needs to sort that out otherwise he has little chance of a Lions jersey next year. I would have loved to have seen Denton on this tour although the Rennie/Barclay combo for Australia was spot on.

    In the back division I'd like to see Cusiter before Blair. He's work rate is better, his turnovers contributed to the win against Australia and he's just a lot more solid behind the pack in the same way Armstrong was. He works well enough with Laidlaw. Blair flashes brilliance from time to time but doesn't give consistency; some of his passing is woeful in the "call me a taxi I need to go to hospital sort of way" and doesn't allow the line enough time.

    Laidlaw is an intelligent player and has bottle. Small but good value.

    I don't want to diss NDL as he has quality but he also has mad moments and should make room. Townsend also had mad moments but could win games as well as lose them and I don't think NDL has the upside. Ansbro should get an opportunity in the middle. Otherwise lots of bright light with Hogg, Visser and Evans. This trip will be really good for everyone both on and off the pitch. Maybe I might be emptying out the kitchen draws soon....and maybe even a few more players in the Lions mix next year...!

  • Comment number 49.

    I watched the whole game via a web page called firstrow.(
    The quality is poor but if you can put up with it it works a treat. I put it on full screen and watch it from about ten feet away and its ok.
    Other sports are shown... I also watch the two Argentina games when bbc or sky werent showing them... Its also free!

  • Comment number 50.

    Two good results. Another against Samoa and we should be back in the top ten rankings. If we had added a game against Tonga we might go further up the list.
    However, the weather has to take some part in the victory over Austrailia.

    With regard to Fiji, I suspect that this is the first time an almost full first team squad has played there. My impression has been that the South Seas tour up until now was used to develop up and coming players and to see how they fitted into the Scotland set up, hence the mixed results. With Scotland chasing ranking points for all its worth to guarantee seeding at the next world cup, these development tours seem to be a thing of the past.

    What is really worrying is the cuffings our under 20 team are getting. At that level we are regularly being beaten by other nations. I have yet to see an under 20 score were the losing margin has been less than 30 points. you also find that most of the Scotland squad are selected from a small number of public schools or FP teams. It's seems the SRU's answer is to bring in players under the three year residency rule. They have even given up looking for Scottish grannies.

    Our under 20's are mainly playing at amateur clubs. Other nations players at that age group are either full time professionals playing for their regions or are playing in professional club's reserves. With only two regions in Scotland, there isn't space for enough young players to develop and to compete for places in the first team.

    Good to see the Scotland squad are seen as hard workers in training but doesn't this lead to an over trained and drilled squad lacking flair and invention? Perhaps over training is the reason we find it so hard to cross the tryline and keep making basic errors?

  • Comment number 51.

    Excellent wins for Scotland away from home and lets hope they can secure a win in Samoa. The SRU never managed the move in to pro rugby properly. They also made a real hash of it trying to grow the game, there are far too many buffties within the game in Scotland not willing to get game out to the wider community.
    Seemingly sport and politics don't mix, but thanks to habitual poor policy from Westminster for decades Scottish School Sport is practically non existant.
    Many Scots rugby fans like to get all watery eyed over Ian McGeechan, but in reality he left Scottish rugby in a right mess... as director of rugby he failed drastcally.

  • Comment number 52.

    @37 moving forward ? where to the 18c come on yes there are public school boys in english sport however a lot of the percieved "posh boys" are judged on accent alone.It's not as easy as it should be getting a good education outside of private schools but there are many good state schools grammer and comp. As for the missing working class boys Jason leonard phil vickery jeremy guscott (can't imagine him doing his bone on a building site but hey fair cop) etc. Here i am accusing the media of pigeon holing us and along comes a statement like that, which decrys all the hard work put in by the true majority of English sportsmen and women who sacrifice a lot to get to the top of their respective games (and who don't have the financial support wealthier families have) so credit where it's due and move into the 21c

  • Comment number 53.

    Two from two, it’s a very good feeling to be winning again. The team is developing nicely and will take time to get challenging for honours in the 6N. I think in the short term it’s about wining when we can, learning when we can't, like playing one of the SH big three. Saturday showed great examples of how to pressurise and squeeze the opposition which hopefully we can adopt and practice when we play one of the big three moving us up the competitive ladder. A good kick off strategy and real ferocity at contact with players piling into the tackle area to slow the ball down disrupting the opposition’s attacking patterns.

    Anyhow we still are building on a shaky foundation, without any real development at u18 and U16 level at schools and club success will not be sustained. Check out landrover college rugby coverage in NZ. Each week a college 1st XV game is covered on tv with full support (High quality commentary team, full match statistics and pre and post interviews). Imagine the motivation to take up rugby and train to perform with this kind of platform to show case skills! I know you cannot go from nothing to an equivalent here in Scotland in one step but surely the long term goal would be to build towards something similar in the future. School and clubs would certainly invest more if that’s where the exposure is.

    I also just had a thought and a very silly one at that. What would happen if the SRU brought in a ruling that all member clubs could only remunerate coaches at U18 and U16 level? Would the outcome drastically redistribute the coaching talent in Scotland to key age groups where quality coaching would make the biggest difference to the ability young rugby players moving into the adult game? Or would it result in the death of club in Scotland! I don’t think the answer is easy, but must be drastic to change behaviours.

  • Comment number 54.

    #50: I agree that our U20s get beaten pretty regularly, but it's not always by 30 points. I watched our game v Wales U20 at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay with my son. It looked like a mismatch to begin with, but our team fought their way back into the game and were rewarded with a fine brace of tries from Jamie Farndale. In the end we lost 28-15; not a humiliation. We also lost narrowly to France (by 9 points) and beat Italy 20-7.

    I'm not claiming that these results consitute success, and we were on the wrong end of a horrible thumping by England at home. I'm just pointing out that our U20s don't get thrashed in *every* game.

    The problem, as others have said, is that our U20 pool is small and playing at a low level. Most of the teams we play have players who are turning out regularly at the highest level, whereas our team v England had (IIRC) fewer than 10 Pro12 appearances between them.

  • Comment number 55.

    Actually, I just went back to check on the results from the IRB U20 championship. Scotland were badly beaten 67-12 by Australia in the first game, but were then edged out 30-29 by France and narrowly beaten 19-12 by Argentina (who won the group). They are currently leading Italy 19-10 in the 9th place semi-final. Could be worse considering.

  • Comment number 56.

    Scotland is a small but proud nation who have not only contributed significantly on the world's sport stage but in terms of technology and advancement. Long may we continue as under dogs who unfortunately have to suffer peaks and troughs in all areas of sport. We had a tough 6N and rebuilt. I hope this couple of games reflects a rugby nation on the rise again. As well as confidence which Mr Beattie refers to, consistency and competence are growing! I enjoyed the game on ESPN - even if all the references to Richie Gray were wrongly associated with Ally Kellock - who the commentator thinks plays for Glasgow Rangers! Only concern was the lapse and change of dominance in the second half where Scotland showed the Flying Fijians too much respect. Come on Scotland!!! Well stated JB and good luck to the future for your son - hopefully with more caps to come!

  • Comment number 57.

    Too often teams try to compete with the very best without building any momentum. If you're struggling then you have to find form by consistently beating those (ranked) below you. They may not be the glamerous fixtures, but they serve many purposes eg. blooding new players, trying combinations and allowing players to gel as a unit (also helping improving lesser nations).

    In Britain we no-longer have a bridge between club and country and place far too much emphasis on the tri-nations teams which further inflates their already arrogant egos. We should look elsewhere, build rugby bridges and build teams rather than throwing players in at the deep end hoping they can swim - a model which only seems to benefit the tri-nation countries. To some it will look like a backward step, but the pathway to rugby success does not always have to lead south. Learning to win is an essential element for any team.

  • Comment number 58.

    @ 51 Porridge. Mate normally you exhibit a reasonably strong understanding of the game of Rugby. However your assertion that Westminster is to blame for the demise of School Sport in Scotland is almost as ludicrous & factually incorrect as your post World Cup claim last October that Refereeing was not an issue at the 2012 W.C. I think a number of Frenchmen & neutrals who watched the Final that Sunday last October might also have had a contrary view to yours. But Westminster to blame for poor performances on the sports field in Scotland?? Not correct sir.

    Back to yesterday's performance in Fiji, & the tour in general. I'm still filled with joy & glee at our win over The Mighty Wallabies 10 days ago;- not least due to the disrespect shown to us by The A.R.U. in hosting the game on a Tuesday night, & in Newcastle of all venues. Also because of some of the disparaging & condescending post match remarks made in the Australian media. But to back up that performance against Australia with a win over Fiji yesterday was superb. Also very pleasing to see us scoring tries for a change. And the arrival of Tim Visser was also especially welcoming;- he is an exciting & impressive player to watch, and has demonstrated (both in playing for Edinburgh, & yesterday) a fluency in being able to get over the try line. But let's not kid ourselves.... Fiji is not yet a Southern Hemisphere Rugby powerhouse. And any All Black side would have put at least 50 points on the side we faced yesterday. Nevertheless a win is a win, and we seem to have momentum heading in the right direction.

    Also we are the only home nation to have chalked up wins against the southern hemisphere in any of this summer's tours. Having said that I felt so sorry for Ireland yesterday who could have & should have mustered at least a draw again the AB's (who were down to 14 Men for the final 7 minutes) in Christchurch. Also disappointed for Wales. Quite what they were thinking in hoofing the ball downfield with 75 seconds remaining on the clock I don't know. Leading by one point at the time, all they had to do was keep the ball with the forwards until the siren went, and then hoof the ball. Perhaps they have been taking lessons from my beloved NSW Waratahs who have sadly become the best 'kick the ball away team' in the Super 15.

    Anyway onwards & upwards. Samoa will be a step up from Fiji, but bring it on & let's make it 3 from 3!! Good luck boys.

  • Comment number 59.

    Well done Scotland. As an Argentinian I saw one of the two victories of Scotland here in Argentina, and I never understood why they had a poor performance in the RWC or 6 N, with very good players like Laidlaw, Grey or Denton. Visser will be very helpful too.
    Hope you win against Samoa

  • Comment number 60.

    Picking up the theme of participation it really needs schools and education authorities to take a lead as well as clubs and the SRU. The SRU need to make mass participation a long term objective and measure progress towards that. They need to make coaching of skills etc available to schools and education authorities who want to participate. Making mass participation an objective should attract a suitable proportion of the SRU budget. If I could point to a successful example it would be Howe of Fife (winners of National League 3 this season) whose also coaches work with the local high schools team - Bell - Baxter - who became the first non independent school for a long time to won the Scottish Schools championship. Chris Fusaro of Glasgow is an alumni of that team so is living proof that the talent is there if clubs & schools work together. The SRU "development" contracts to atarct more Tim Vissers etc are just a short term fix and need to be very very limited in scope otherwise what is the point of a national side or union? The "kilted Kiwis" we had a few years back did not benefit us in the medium term.

  • Comment number 61.

    As a Hawick bod roostin' on the Oregon Coast of the USA (But want to move back eventually) I would just like to defend the BBC a bit after all the slaggin' it's been getting to say that without the "BEEB" as my homepage, and BBC America coverage of 6N, I'd get little or no rugby news whatsoever, at least from knowledgeable sources (O' how I miss Bill McClaren -I was a pupil o' his and he has set the bar pretty high for rugby commentary in future).
    Question; how do you, Mr. Beattie and others think that the other 6N (or as it currently is "4N") teams would have done in Brisbane and Fiji; same teams and same conditions? AND how about France -at their best- against the southern hemisphere teams? We never hear any speculation about that.

  • Comment number 62.

    John - as a member of the BBC team please can you have a word regarding their disdain for Scottish rugby. We are the only team to have one on the summer tour yet we get a mere footnote on the website. Why? Are we not as equal as the losing sides of England, Wales and Ireland? Given that Scots contribute to the BBC should we not therefore get equal web coverage? Football definitely does get coverage

  • Comment number 63.

    Didn't see the game. have Fiji improved much then? They were woeful in the RWC. 37-25 against a side like that doesn't sound too good. They conceded about 180 points in he world cup and only racked up 59 of their own. 49 of which were against Namibia. One converted try and a penalty was their combined total against South africa (3) Wales (0) and samoa (7)...

  • Comment number 64.

    As others have remarked, the BBC news seemed to think Tim Visser was worthy of a special mention which comprised about a third of the commentary accompanying a brief clip of the Scotland game: '....he's Dutchman who has moved to Edinburgh....seems to be at home anywhere...' (as he touched down). This, after a report on the game which England played with Tuilagi (a Samoan who was due for deportation before receiving a rushed-through UK citizenship), Corbisiero (Italian-American), and Botha (South African). But this is par for the course: the English attitude is that everyone coming to England becomes English if they're good enough - or British, which, chaps, is the same thing - and so can play for England. But anyone who comes to Scotland, Wales or Ireland and opts to play for these countries is something remarkable, a bit bogus, worth commenting on and - if he or she seems talented - shouldn't really be playing.

  • Comment number 65.

    Firstly, congratulations to the lads on the results! It's now up to them to them to show that the courage, determination and concentration they've shown is their true selves and does not constitute yet another false dawn. Personally I think that it is the potential showing through but I, as so many, have been there before.

    On a more enduring subject, it's not the first time that I've read the blog when the subject of youth development in Scotland has been bemoaned. I grew up playing rugby in a state school and it gave me a life-long love of the game. In England, where I currently live, the appetite for the game in state schools depends on where you live. In rugby's heartlands it is the premier winter sport (although not the only option). However, where schools don't deliver, local club mini and junior sections tend to pick up the slack. These are driven by rugby club members, many of whom were beneficiaries at junior level themselves and by committed parents. Help and support is often given by RFU development officers (who are not restricted to pushing the game in schools) and by the local big clubs - including those in the premiership and championship. Then again, it is in all of these clubs' interests to do so. It delivers capable rugby players from the age of sixteen who will find their own level whether it is playing in the premiership or playing for Fumbledown 2nd XV. The approach strengthens the fabric of all rugby union and, from the Scottish perspective, it can deliver exiles' sons and daughters for SRU consideration.

    Some clubs in Scotland show the same vision and put the effort in to the development of the youth game as enlightened self-interest. I can't comment on the role of the SRU because I've been away too long but, when I go back, junior rugby does not seem to have the same levels of organisation and availability it does in the rugby heartlands of the other home nations.

    For Scottish rugby to maintain its status, in needs deep roots and a universal appeal and not just in the borders or in public schools. This is not a question of money, it is more a question of reaching a critical mass of clubs/schools with junior sections in areas where they will be able to compete against each other on a regular basis.

    If you build it, they will come!

  • Comment number 66.

    If you don't think that poor governance down through the years then more fool you. Allowing your jealously of the ABs to cloud your judgement is is also quite sad.

  • Comment number 67.

    @37. i do agree with your point on Ireland being 'successful' in rugby, football, golf etc and also the fact that Scotland underachieve and use their small population as an excuse. however: Ireland have been the worst team in the Euros and Scotland literally missed out on the play off's and a potential place in the Euros by a dive from the Czech player Jan Rezek- i think this is his name off of the top of my head! so these are fine margins. in Rugby Ireland finished quite average in 6n and only got to the quarters- where we could have as we should have had a clear pen when Contopmi strayed offside at death. again small margins. i am not bitter but i believe Scotland are almost there at a number of sports.
    Andy Murray is 4th in the world, where is the nearest Irishman/ Englishman etc? Dario Franchitti is the indy car series champion, Paul Di Resta is one of the best up and coming drivers in f1. Edinburgh got to the Semis of the HC with basically a team of almost all Scottish players. an English team only got to the Semis. we have, arguably, some of the best young players of the home nations in rugby u- i certainly believe we do. we had 7 PL managers last season, probably only around 5 next season but that is still a quarter of managers! more than any other country. Chris Hoy won gold's at the last olympics blah blah blah.
    so basically, Ireland and other countries are better at us at some stuff, but what we have we should be proud of. and btw, good win and Tim Visser is some player! Gray, Rennie, Denton, Laidlaw, Hogg, Visser. these are brilliant players.

  • Comment number 68.

    English team got to quarters* sorry

  • Comment number 69.

    Fife Exile... totally agree with you. Ive been living in NZ for over the last decade and their attitude to sport and rugby in particular is light years in front of what's on offer at home in Scotland.
    In New Zealand all the clubs take kids from age five until 12, from then on its the secondary schools who take control.
    My oldest son attends Hastings Boys High and a member of their rugby academy. They are well coached and play all the schools in the Hawkes Bay region... yes states schools play fee paying schools no hassle. The attitude towards sport in Scotland is shocking and I firmly believe it the powers that be are to blame.
    Scottish people really need to waken up sand up smell the roses, the inferiority complex has got to go... far to many Scots believe they are just too small to compete.

  • Comment number 70.

    Alan Batchelor,

    You are 100% correct. The SRU should be lobbying Holyrood and getting schools and communities the length and breadth of the country promoting the game.

  • Comment number 71.

    @64 freenonbrit: Where have you got this view from? I have not heard one Englishman say that people like Visser can't play for Scotland while Tuilagi can play for England.
    The reason Visser probably gets mentione dmore is because of his promise of what he can do for the scottish game, and his back ground in the international game is slightly more itneresting than if he was just born in Scotland.

    Plus there is a slight difference between British and English!

  • Comment number 72.

    The "kilted Kiwis"

    Ian McGeechan's lasting legacy for Scottish rugby... no dvelopment plan other than scouring the far flung corners of the world looking for a tentative connection.
    Having said that I've no issue with the likes of Visser who has commited himself to Scottish rugby and legally qualifies, but surely the SRU must see that the only way forward is to build the game from the bottom up.

  • Comment number 73.

    Plus there is a slight difference between British and English!

    Yea right, who are you trying to kid. Britain and Enland are one in the same.

  • Comment number 74.

    Right John got a real bee in my bonnet over this now. There's been plenty of discussion over a lack of BBC coverage of the Scotland match and I made the point that fully 2 hours after final whistle in Fiji there wasn't even a report of the full-time score on the BBC site never mind a match report. We've also had people talking about our u20 side at the junior IRB event.

    Can someone at the BBC explain why there are scores and match reports for the English,Irish and Welsh U20 sides but nothing for the Scottish side? No wonder rugby is such a marginalised sport in our country when the largest domestic news Corperation devotes so much time and web space to rugby for the English,Welsh and Irish (half of whom don't even pay a BBC licence fee) yet Scotland are deemed not fit to mention.

  • Comment number 75.

    porridge_times........I usually respect what you have to say......but you seem a bit off.

    Yes if you are English, you are also British. But if you are Scottish you are also Birtish.

    So does that mean if you are Scottish you are also English? No.

    Why? Because they are different. Do I need to draw a van diagram?

  • Comment number 76.

    No offence intended Mr Ichallen... but I've never felt remotely British and resent having it forced upon me. Hence my decision to ventually emigrate.

  • Comment number 77.

    None taken Mr porridge. But just because you don't feel it doesn't stop you being it.
    But if you dont feel british, but you feel scottish, then there must be a difference!

  • Comment number 78.

    Yes but I don't think that difference to the vast majority of English people is there.

  • Comment number 79.

    There may not be as big a difference between English and British as there is between Scottish and British. But there is still a difference.
    And I know plenty of English who hate that they have to have a British passport!

  • Comment number 80.

    @57 Kilpatrick. Jerry Guscott did work on a building site - he worked for a local Bath builders. Well done Scotland on winning but do need to do it on big stage RWC or 6N. lack of numbers playing any sport in Scotland is a problem , not just with rugby. Less schools emphasise sport and not many kids play. This has to be addressedat national level or we will continue to underperform. SRU tries to bring in youth sport in some areas but these mostly only last a couple of years and arent followed up - as schools dont buy into it. You can see this in most sports not just rugby. So until we have a national schools project that includes sport for all. Good to see Scotland win and long may it last.

  • Comment number 81.

    Meant @52 not 57

  • Comment number 82.

    I have no problem with being both English and British. It just depends on the context. For rugby, football and cricket I'm English. For the jubilee and the Olympics I'm British.
    Scottish people are British. Welsh people are British and it many ways English. Obviously in rugby they are not English but for cricket they are. Scotland has historically been a separate country to England, but Wales was part of the Kingdom of England for hundreds of years before Great Britain was formed.
    If the Welsh are not English, does this mean the Cornish are not English?
    Also most symbols of nationality e.g. national dress, national anthems etc are quite recently invented. We shouldn't let these things divide us. It's fun to have our own rugby teams to support but I don't think it's very helpful to think that we are very different from one another.

  • Comment number 83.

    Number 29, if you like.
    Kevin Mealamu - brother played for Samoa
    Sivivatu - born in Fiji
    Muiliaina - born in Samoa
    Kano - born in Samoa
    So'oialo - Samoa
    Rokocoko - Fiji
    Ali Williams qualifies for Scotland by dint of a granny
    Quade Cooper- born in NZ
    Jo Tomane - born in NZ
    Palu - born in Oz but also Tongan qualified
    Polota-Nau - same as Palu
    Mauritz Botha - really need this explained to you? Saffer.
    Brad Barritt - Saffer too
    Corbisiero - born in NYC
    Dylan Hartley - born in NZ
    Tuilagi - Samoan
    Vainikolo - Tongan
    Abendanon - born in SA

    Point made? If 3 out the top 4 ranked nations have to go fishing outside their own pool to get players, then why shouldn't we?

  • Comment number 84.

    This is self-delusional - Scotland were up against the Fiji second team - at best. The weather under which the Australian game was played was undoubtedly a great leveller.

  • Comment number 85.

    Kevin Mealamu - brother played for Samoa . Mealamu was born in NZ
    Sivivatu - born in Fiji, Came to NZ when he was 16
    Muiliaina - born in Samoa. Came to NZ when he was 2 years old
    Kaino - born in Samoa. No born in American Samoa where rugby is not played. Came to NZ when he was 4 years old
    So'oialo - Samoa. Came to NZ when he was 5 years old
    Rokocoko - Came to NZ when he was 5 eyars old

    It's called immigration.

    Hardly "fishing outside pool" and completely different to Scotland's selection of, well, Martin Leslie, John Leslie, Brendan Laney, Sean Lineen, Gordon Simpson, Glenn Metcalfe, Shuan Longstaff, Cameron Mather and Matt Mustchin

  • Comment number 86.

    Wll done Scotland ,yeah yeah it was a dreich day ,Aussies were a weakened team but wins are wins ,difficult to win in SH , (as Wales and Ireland found out in the last seconds on Sat) so let's enjoy both results.It came as a good time ,particularly after Rome and I really believe that our place in 6N is threatened by the likes of Georgia (phenomenal rise in the last 10 years).Let's develop the game in state schools in the central belt ,this concentration on fee paying schools suffocates us (outwith the Borders of course)Many contribution s here on that subject. Lets not put so much emphasis on the Calcutta cup-a game that England manages to lose occasionally- and NB JB, stop whingeing about refs and "disrespect" to us ,little Scotland etc. Upwards and onwards I say

  • Comment number 87.

    As usual - the blog degenerates into pointless arguments (English/Scottish/British – yawn).. so, back to the rugby. Agree with all the positive comments on the generally improving picture. However, was concerned whilst watching the Fiji game around some of the naive Scotland play – Ritchie Gray’s wild (Fiji style) offload – don’t try and match them – they are masters at it we are not. Also, lots of missed tackles and poor defence (Visser in particular – letting in try) – we should have retained a good lead, but didn’t. So need to REALLY improve for the final Samoa clash – they will be a tough team, massive hits coming... Hats off though to the much maligned NDL – I think that his tackle/10-metre shove, turned, and finally won the match. Finally, I taped, and watched the ESPN coverage – the whole thing was a bit like watching something from about 30 years ago, enchanting with the slow replays (backwards/forwards) and the strangely clipped BBC/South Seas accent on the commentator – “and on comes the replacement scrum half – Cooseetta” – epic.

  • Comment number 88.

    The schools debate is getting a bit irritating. The reason for state schools not supplying rugby players is because they do not teach rugby and the clubs are reluctant to grow their youth sections, where they exist.

    The private schools are businesses and need to attract pupils and some have gone down the route of offering sports scholarships in order to try and do this.

    The school that a prospective player went to has nothing to do with his/her selection for a pro contract or representative honours.

    For those of you complaining about your school not being represented in the pro teams or at representative level I suggest that you get down to your school and/or rugby club and do something about it. Actions speak louder than words.

  • Comment number 89.

    G'day TP

    Have you recovered yet? I haven't heard from the Old Man - I reckon he's holed up in the GI pub with some "hostages" demanding the head of Nigel Owens ( and some curly fries - we're hungry in here ).

    Same old song re the PI's in the All Blacks. Once again, class, Aotearoa is the southermost of the islands in the Polynesian Archipelago and we let people from the other islands come to NZ to do the sorts of jobs that migrants do ( and believe me the overwhelming majority are slogging their guts out in a warehouse in Onehunga rather than playing for the ABs - although there are signs of a PI middle-class developing ). Right, that's the sociology lesson over.

    Some people have dual heritage - my kids probably think they have triple heritage. This happens more these days and nationality becomes fluid. So long as they are proud to wear the jersey, where is the harm?

    Scotland played very well against Aussie and winning in Fiji is no mean feat. This is all good.

    The death of rucking robbed Scotland of one of their major weapons - time to think of a new one. The Welsh ( who have a similarly small population ) seem to have created some monster backs who can run - time to see what they are eating, maybe.

    New Zealand is a Scottish colony so we like to see them do well ( or at least I do ).

  • Comment number 90.


    Ireland played very well, ABs were imprecise, mistake ridden and at times under pretty sustained pressure. That said they had the ball for big chunks of the game (62%) and Irish made twice tackles so in the end the result was probably just about right. Irish were far more effective at slowing AB ball (Owens was relatively tolerant of this). I think his scrum penalty decision was correct but it's always a bit of a lottery. End of Ali Williams career which is probably right (although imposed).

  • Comment number 91.

    Alisdair M...

    I'm ashamed that you as a Scot is pointed an ignorant and lazy finger at New Zealand... how British of you!

  • Comment number 92.

    Incidentally Scotland U20s beat their Italan counterparts 34-17. I guess some on here will try to claim that it wasn't the Italians first choice U20 select!

    Plenty of grounds for optimism after these 2 results. I hope the detractors are made to eat their words in the next 6N.

  • Comment number 93.

    Phiilip the argument of State Schools versus Fee paying schools is not an issue in a small country like New Zealand (4 millioN)... so why is it an issue in Scotland which lets face it is encompassed with an a Union with a pulling power of 60 million?

  • Comment number 94.

    Good wins, but it's tour side and winning friendlies is great but it's the 6 nations and the world cup that count and last season third in the group and didn't qualify for the QF's in the world cup and bottom of the league in the 6 nations with a woodenspoon.

  • Comment number 95.

    "winning friendlies is great "

    An idea that belongs with soccer; not rugby.

  • Comment number 96.

    How's it going TP and Pana? The arugment of PI's in the NZ team is merely a decade away from not being an issue... but I bet the NH countries will still be benefiting the three year qualifying period more than ever.
    There is a young Tongan lad currently going through the grades with my son for the past seven years, who in my opinion has what it takes to make the top level would be deeply offended to know that his right to play for his country is in question, because thousands of miles is too lazy to take the time that he moved to NZ at the age of two.

  • Comment number 97.

    Beer and typing on an iPad not easy so please exuse the poopy grammar.

  • Comment number 98.

    Hi everyone, great comments, and I am not going to get into the private v state school argument save to say that I believe that all schools should provide sport for all pupils. There are great life lessons to be learned from sport.

    But I do take the general point that many of you are making. Wins on summer tours are great for world rankings, but much more important are Six Nations wins. And my point is that you need to be confident for those.

    Having watched England, Ireland and Wales all play I'd still say we will find it hard to beat these teams as all have improved on their respective summer tours.

    Great to have you all interacting here. If you are on twitter so am I, @BBCJohnBeattie

  • Comment number 99.

    @ Porridge. I'm afraid you appear to have missed my point & take me wrong. I have never had anything but the highest regard for The AB's & New Zealand Rugby in general. If you look at the 2nd paragraph of my previous contribution (# 58)that should be clear.

    My two issues were;-

    1/Your point last October that Refereeing was not an "issue" at last year's W.C. Well it certainly was to me, having witnessed so many bad decisions throughout the competition. The Blacks were (and still are) deserved World Champions. However on that Sunday night last October vs France, they were not the best team on the paddock. And Craig Joubert who had the honour of being in charge of that important fixture clearly did not want to bottle it in front of the home crowd that night at Eden Park. France were hard done by & short changed that night by Mr Joubert. But hey... what the heck;- sport is often a good leveller, & maybe it was pay back time for the poor refereeing (or should I say non refereeing) when the two sides met in the 2007 Cup when France came out on top and knocked The All Blacks out of the competition? Remember that game... I'm sure you do mate, and I'm also sure you remember that blatant forward pass that was noticed by many, with the exception of the ref & his assistants.

    2/The structure & management of sport in Scotland (from the grassroots up) leaves alot to be desired and absolutely needs to be overhauled, no question about that. However your assertion that Westminster is to blame for the demise of school sport in Scotland is nothing short of preposterous.

    Otherwise I do enjoy your commentary & many contributions you have made to this blog in the past. That said, I think this is supposed to be a Rugby Blog & not a Political one. However you raised the matter, & I'll put forward my two cents worth by saying that I am extremely proud to be a Scot, and take equal pride at being British at the same time. My parents held the same views, as did my grandparents, and all of them laid their lives on the line in fighting for Britain in 2 World Wars.

    Now time to get back to the Rugby.....

  • Comment number 100.

    Porridge, interesting to hear about your boy's progress at Hasting Boys'. My brother was teacher at the school for number of years (althouh he and I went to high school down the road from HBHS). HB has always had big PI population - primarily Cook Islanders who started to come in big numebrs in the 1960s and 70s to work in the freezing works. They were primary force in starting up a rugby league comeptition in the bay.


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