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Andrew Cotter

Scotland reveal their hand? (29)

St Etienne - Scotland continue to draw sizeable crowds of locals to their open training sessions at the St Etienne Football Academy.

Most are there purely to collect autographs and have their photos taken with the lads and they generally give the impression that nobody in this little corner of France has any work to go to.

But if they were paying close attention to Scotland going through their moves over the last couple of days, they would have noticed a likely backline for the game against Romania on Tuesday:

Blair and Parks at 9 and 10, Chris Paterson and Sean Lamont on the wings with Rory Lamont at full-back. And in the centre... drum-roll... Rob Dewey with Simon Webster outside.

The prospective centre partnership is the most intriguing, with a growing clamour for Webster to play 13 and perhaps he will get his chance on Tuesday. Providing, of course, that he hasn’t suffered any serious damage in taking a knock to his right ankle during training which forced him to sit out the rest of the session.

One of the reasons that Dewey and Webster may start is that Andrew Henderson continues to make slow progress from his dead leg picked up against South Africa. It was, as physio Stuart Barton said, one of the worst he has seen. He is now at least running the moves, but Romania and even New Zealand may be too soon.

Yet even without Henderson there is a potentially lively looking back-line waiting to take to the field against Romania.

If it’s right, remember you read it here first.

If wrong, then please ignore and we’ve never met… ok?

Meanwhile, continuing my theme of the state of Scotland player’s legs (see earlier blogs concerning Jason White’s limbs) I can exclusively report that David Callum’s legs have taken on a ridiculous brown hue.

As he sauntered past I did happen to remark "Wow… Look at your legs!" and realised immediately that I might shortly be heading for a restraining order. But he understood and admitted that he had gone a strange teak colour – indeed he is constantly the butt of many jokes and suggestions from other players that he is a regular user of a sunbed. "But I promise I’ve never been on one in my life" he added, pleadingly.

Get the colour while you can David, back to Edinburgh on Sunday.

Andrew Cotter is a BBC Sport commentator specialising in rugby union and golf. He is covering Scotland at the World Cup for Radio 5live and you can see the station's full broadcast schedule here.


Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:15 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • Finlay wrote:

Would love to see Webster play at centre on Tuesday night, i feel he came into the Portugal match a lot more after Di Rollo exited.

Dewey really needs to prove he is up to International standards in the next 10 days because "Muffles" Henderson is a quality inside centre who never fails to make yards, always looks to off-load and generaly never lets us down.

Hope we get a decent crowd for these two games at Murrayfield as every single game played in France so far has been a near sell-out (Tonga v USA on a Wed 1pm 25,000+ anyone??)
It would be a major embarassment if the All Blacks played in front of the projected 35,000 fans at Murrayfield on Sunday week and would cancel out the supposed home advantage we are meant to have. We'd be better off playing them in Marseille with all the locals behind us.

  • 2.
  • At 07:51 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • Brian King wrote:

Totally agree - all the games should be in france.

Adds to the atmoshpere with all those crazy fans instead of the boring dull half empty cold wet Murrayfield.

If there were 67000 sold out at Murrayfield then it would be a different story. You would have thought they would have learned the lesson of the 99 World Cup and the bad crowds when Scotland played their group mathes there!

  • 3.
  • At 07:59 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • Brian King wrote:

Totally agree - all the games should be in france.

Adds to the atmoshpere with all those crazy fans instead of the boring dull half empty cold wet Murrayfield.

If there were 67000 sold out at Murrayfield then it would be a different story. You would have thought they would have learned the lesson of the 99 World Cup and the poultry crowds when Scotland played their group mathes there!

  • 4.
  • At 07:59 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • Brian King wrote:

Totally agree - all the games should be in france.

Adds to the atmoshpere with all those crazy fans instead of the boring dull half empty cold wet Murrayfield.

If there were 67000 sold out at Murrayfield then it would be a different story. You would have thought they would have learned the lesson of the 99 World Cup and the bad crowds when Scotland played their group mathes there!

  • 5.
  • At 10:33 PM on 14 Sep 2007,
  • rick wrote:

Webster can inject that pace and running line that the Scottish midfield has been lacking. Here's hoping thats the selection. I'd also like to young Barclay and Dickinson make their debuts.

  • 6.
  • At 01:54 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • pete wrote:

Murrayfield would be sell out if it wasn't £150 for a ticket. Dad taking his 2 kids £350. Don't think so. Disgraceful prices. Is it the IRB that sets the prices? Hope they let folk in on the day for sensible money and partially refund the supporters that have paid over inflated ticket prices.

  • 7.
  • At 02:36 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Mr Biscuits wrote:

Let's face it, although everyone wants to see scotland vs new zealand,the ticket prices are far too high. just like '99, the murrayfield roar will become the murrayfield four...

personaly, I will be attending the Romania game and cheering my loudest, and encouraging my mates to tag along, but the new zealand game is asking to much. Is it the SRU's fault or the IRB's? I dont know, but what is for certain is that many a supporter is being turned away by the scary prices.


On the subject of selection, I am quite happy for simon webster to start at 13, as I believe against Romania our chances will come out wide, and the more pace and trickery the better. Underestimate their forwards at our peril!

  • 8.
  • At 08:40 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Sheumais wrote:

I hope there's a good crowd at the All Blacks game, but the cheapest ticket I've seen available is £80+ and the dearest £360. Romania tickets are more reasonably priced, but the ground won't be full unless a miracle happens. Still, there should be more than the 700 who turned out for the Scotland warm-up game against Romania at Hampden a few years ago. It would be better if all the games were in France, but politics don't allow that. France needed the votes from Scotland and Wales to win the hosting of the championship and that was the price to be paid for getting them.

I hope Cusiter gets a run in the next game, as I still prefer him to Blair. Paterson's experiment at 10 has failed to get the backs moving forward and seems to leave a gaping hole in the defence, which we most certainly can't have against New Zealand and Italy. I would also like to see a genuine 7 on the pitch, as a bit more pace would be preferable to playing two number eights.

  • 9.
  • At 10:38 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Arm wrote:

Re ticket prices: Romania game tickets are available from £9, Top price £43. So reasonably priced - and plenty still available.

NZ game is expensive...IRB set the prices, not the SRU...but I believe it may be close to a sell-out, so vindication of sorts?

Back to the team - given the injury ro Henderson I think we have to play Webster in the centre as Di Rollo put in another inspipd display against the might of Portugal. Would rather Paterson got a shot at 10 for this game, with a back three of the two Lamonts and Southwell, but could live with the line-up that Andrew Cotter has outlined.

Need a big performance on Tuesday - none of the NH teams has fired any shots yet. Wales, over to you today.

  • 10.
  • At 11:12 AM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Simon Ellis wrote:

I went to a couple of the games in '99 and didn't see any chickens #4, or perhaps you meant paltry?

Webster at outside centre = good call. Concerned to see Paterson at wing though. How about giving Walker a run out?

  • 11.
  • At 12:20 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Monkey_cone wrote:

Sorry to go off point, but none of the blogs seemed appropiate. Am a novice to rugby and was wondering why other teams have to watch the New Zealand haka (pacific island haka)? Surely that gives them an advantage not just cause you have stood there muscles cooling down but the phsychological aspect must affect players.

Can the Scots come up with there own version maybe a song about loving fish suppers and irn bru? Or beating the French twice?

  • 12.
  • At 02:53 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • paul wrote:

Good call to see Webster at centre. I hope Paterson playing on the wing means he is keeping his powder dry for 10 against Italy.

Re #8 - Good call. Seeing NZ at the breakdown today, we really need a specialist No 7 to compete. Bring back Donnie McFadgen...

  • 13.
  • At 05:41 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

Wait up #8/12, did you not see Hogg easily get round burger in the warm up just as he did chabal against france in paris a couple of years back and even giteau the summer before? The only pace problem I'm worried about in the forwards is Taylor who I'm sure used to be a lot quicker than he is these days. By the way, now that Southwell can tackle why on earth is he not back in the centre, he should play inside until henderson's back and then they should move him outside, he's got really good hands and a great boot but we've already got a great fullback. Neither dirollo or dewey should be here but maybe the romanians will help dewey remember whata big bloke he is and build back his confidence.

  • 14.
  • At 10:01 PM on 15 Sep 2007,
  • BUSHY wrote:

No "real" fan has any excuse not to go to the Romania match as prices are brill + Romania will give us a tough game. A bit more composure and they would have beaten Italy - who not only beat us comfortably at home this year but are higher than us in the IRB rankings. Hadden MUST play his top team v Romania then rest them all v ABs so they are fresh for the game that really matters i.e. v Italy.

If he plays any of the top team v ABs he deserves to get sacked - 5 who played v Portugal couldnt train due to "niggles" - not injuries - for 4 days. If any are injured and miss Italy game it will be his fault entirely.

St Etienne here I come - canny wait !!!

  • 15.
  • At 11:23 AM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • robert wrote:

no real fans have any excuse not to attend tuesdays game? what about the large contingent that would have to travel down from up north/islands after work? are they "expected" to take a day of work to go to the game?

  • 16.
  • At 04:41 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Does anyone know if you can get tickets on the gate?

  • 17.
  • At 06:49 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • robert wrote:

i think you can, but worth checking on the SRU site (scottishrugby.org)

  • 18.
  • At 07:03 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Cotter wrote:

For those looking for tickets for the game against Romania, this was the press release from the SRU:

Tickets are still on sale for Scotland’s Rugby World Cup match against Romania at Murrayfield on Tuesday (kick-off 8pm). The Ticket Centre at Murrayfield will be open extended hours until the afternoon of Tuesday’s match.
The open hours are:

Saturday and Sunday - 9.00am to 5.00pm

Monday - 9.00am to 8.00pm

Tuesday - 9.00am to 5.30pm

And also, who would have thought it? I was right about that back-line.

So what about Paterson back on the wing or Webster finally getting a start at centre?

  • 19.
  • At 07:07 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Andrew Cotter wrote:

And one more thing - as the Scotland line-up to play Romania is clearly very close to the first-choice 15, this is a clear indicator that the team to play against New Zealand will be understrength.
Ian McGeechan has been one of many to say that this is the only way to go.
What do you all think?

  • 20.
  • At 11:28 PM on 16 Sep 2007,
  • Rob Roy wrote:

Webster adds pace and guile so should be included. No 10 options still poor but keep Paterson ahead of Parks.

Dewey may have bulk but has not performed......2 x Lamont, Southwell and Paterson 10 + Cusiter 9 gives better options providing Cusiter doesn't go for exuberant long passes.

Isn't it time for Barclay to take a starting berth?

  • 21.
  • At 05:21 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Megs wrote:

I think Scotland are only being sensible with there match selection for the NZ game. If the team selected for Romania is close to there top team them I'm a bit worried. I still think our best team is:
15. R Lamont
14. Webster
13. Southall (best hands for 13 and good boot)
12. Henderson (Solid and effective)
11. S Lamont

10. Patterson
9. Blair/Cusiter (both are class)

8. Taylor (Callam off the bench 55min)
7. Hogg ( he's got great pace)
6. White
5. Hamilton (Biggest and most powerfull locks)
4. Hines
3. Murray
2. Ford
1. Kerr

I guess key points for me is we need a good handler at 13 to give Webster and the Lamonts a fair go. Patterson offers more with ball in hand than Parks ( you don't win rugby matches with kicking the ball away). The pack has been performing well and i like the new power approach to play we just need to offload a bit more to keep teams guessing (as evident by SA match).


  • 22.
  • At 07:20 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Itd be totally illogical for Scotland to field an understrength side against NZ and a first choice 15 against Romania.What are the selectors thinking."Oh we will just do what we can can against the ABs and win over Romania so we can progress through" Cant see Scotland going through to the qfs if thats how they think.Italy will trounce them(Again).Expect a total SH semi and final this year. NH rugby isnt even in the same dimension.But that isnt surprising seeing how its run and the mentality towards it

  • 23.
  • At 10:00 AM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

In reply to #11. You should always face the haka. It shows respect. Italy ignored it at look what happened. It's one of the great things in rugby. Scotland should go out there face up to it and get stuck in - they have little to lose.

Like the backline. Still concerned over the Paterson at 10 debate. I thought Hadden had decide to go with it when we started our warm-up games. Now it's swung back to Parks. I don't think he knows the best way to accomodate Paterson - no wonder we struggle in the backs.

I think Scotland's back line aren't deep enough at times when attacking. Everything lacks pace and is a bit flat. Great if you get your running lines and passing spot on - but this is rare, plus it increases the chances of turnovers and interceptions. Players like Webster, Lamont and Paterson will benefit from having a bit of room. Parks needs to shift it quickly to 12 and none of his awkward, floated passes.

It Andrew is right and Scotland do field a weakened team it will be a shame. It will truely highlight where we see ourselves in world rugby.
If Scotland can put in good performances against Romania and NZ then it'll send a warning to Italy - who look disjointd at the moment. Let's get them worrying about us and not the other way round.

  • 24.
  • At 12:16 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Rory wrote:

I am extremely glad there is a collective opinion about Southwell at 13. I refer to my earlier point, made in the Scotland player ratings after the Portugal game.

Webster is a great attacking player, but I think he is best served on the wing and if he needs to get more ball, he has to do what Joe Rococco (know the spelling is awful and apologise profusely to Kiwis and Fijian in equal measure) does and come in off the wing looking for work. Now there is a novel idea, if the ball doesn't come to you, you go looking for the ball.

  • 25.
  • At 02:22 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Sheumais wrote:

In an ideal world, we'd field an understrength side tomorrow night and give the All Blacks as good a challenge as we can. In the real world, we can't afford any slip-ups tomorrow night, as the so-called "minnows" have proved quite adept at stopping the Northern Hemisphere teams scoring. Portugal's tackling was hopeless and I suspect Romania's will be a bit heavier, so there will be a bit of a battle and knocks to recover from. Recovery time is short for the next game, so choice may be limited anyway, with only another 6 days before the last game. Italy will be no pushover and have a confidence builder against Portugal this week, then a long wait for us at the end of next week. Choice will be a luxury for any of the remaining games.

As far as Hogg is concerned #13, I'd prefer he be selected at 8, but turning Burger or Chabal is not a major achievement. They carry a lot of momentum when travelling in a straight line, but there's a very good reason why you're unlikely to see either of them successfully employing a sidestep.

  • 26.
  • At 03:22 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Jonathan Recaldin wrote:

I concur, Paterson has to have more games at 10 and should play 10 for Italy. We should field a mid-strength team and give young Jonny Barclay a run out against McCaw!

I also like this Southwell at 13 chat. I think he played quite well when "he whose name we dare not mention" put him there. He can pass better than Di Rollo for sure. I'll be interested to see how Webster perfoms. But surely after the World Cup, we could give proven, quality centres like Robbie Kydd and Nick De Luca a run out?

Paterson back to the wing, however is a no no! Haveing said that, asl ong as he moves to FH at around the 50 minute mark, I'm ok with that. We must also give Rory Lawson a start sometime soon!

  • 27.
  • At 10:48 PM on 17 Sep 2007,
  • Phil wrote:

Itd be totally illogical for Scotland to field an understrength side against NZ and a first choice 15 against Romania.What are the selectors thinking."Oh we will just do what we can can against the ABs and win over Romania so we can progress through" Cant see Scotland going through to the qfs if thats how they think.Italy will trounce them(Again).Expect a total SH semi and final this year. NH rugby isnt even in the same dimension.But that isnt surprising seeing how its run and the mentality towards it

  • 28.
  • At 12:47 PM on 19 Sep 2007,
  • Monkey_cone wrote:

cheers 23 but why? Showing respect? Never really understand that. ABs are the best team in the world think we would respect them anyway. Just think it provides another advantage to them. Get into a huddle and pump up the troops we will need it. Is there not also some drama in the past about a scot picking up a bit of grass after the haka. excuse the ignorance. Thought we played well last night against romania, but was a bit worried when they started driving around the breakdown (hope I have the terminology) In any event some tighter handling and a ireland win is surely what is needed now. If argentina are the team that awaits in the quarters then surely we have a chance, we won't underestimate them like the french did. Of course Italy are the hurdle to overcome.

Does anyone think there is an advantage in a second string going out as it will allow these players to show what they can do and put pressure on the first team to keep performing?

  • 29.
  • At 01:16 PM on 20 Sep 2007,
  • Alistair wrote:

Is anybody a bit worried about the Italians lack of form by the way? Perish the thought but it looks to me like for once they're saving themselves for our lot. Still, would prefer a full strength selection (with Southwell in the centre) against the ABs as a good game against them will really worry the Italians. Last thing we need is a superstuffing just before we take them on

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