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Sunday, June 29, 2014

South Africa stun Scotland with eight-try romp in Port Elizabeth

South African handed debuts to six players en route to a 55-6, eight try victory over Scotland at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. The win completes the Springboks' clean sweep in the June International window.

Young Handre Pollard started at flyhalf for the hosts, after having captained the Under 20 South African side in the Junior World Cup final just a week ago. He was one of multiple players that coach Heyneke Meyer handed debuts too for this once-off Test.

Marcell Coetzee, Lwazi Mvovo and Lood de Jager scored two tries apiece as South Africa powered past a Scotland side that won their three previous Tests, but weren't all that convincing. New coach Vern Cotter has remained postive however, stating that fatigue contributed to the heavy loss.

"There was a little bit of fatigue. We came across a powerful side. I thought the guys showed character. It's been a positive tour. For players and staff, it's been good."

The Springboks were missing numerous players to injury and unavailability due to English and French club commitments, but pulled together nicely as new combinations were explored.

Pollard was impressive in his first senior outing, justifying his rapid rise to the top. He kicked five conversions and a penalty, while the other two tries were scored by Willie le Roux and JP Pietersen.

"We are very happy with the game, just in the 15 minutes before halftime we got a bit loose and made some mistakes. But after halftime we pulled it together and started playing well again," said captain Victor Matfield post match.

Quick highlights from the match are below and will be replaced with a longer video when possible

Posted by Rugbydump at 8:32 pm | View Comments (37)

Viewing 37 comments

UpTheLowEnd June 29, 2014 11:07 pm

Jeez how good does Pollard look?! On another note... not sure how to feel about the state of Scottish rugby. Too early to write off Vern Cotter because he's got results from faltering sides in the past but I can't say the future looks massively bright.

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10stonenumber10 June 30, 2014 12:54 am

It is good to see SA picking outside their usual choice of Long Range Gunners at 10 and 15.

Le Roux has lit the team up too, it is good to see a 15 running it back rather than banging a drop goal over from his own half (as impressive as that is)

Maybe mixing it up with Argentina in the Championship has allowed them to broaden their game, as good a team as the pumas are, let's be fair, they don't impose the same sort of threat as NZ or Oz. SA seemed to enjoy playing with the ball.

Scotland were a little off the boil, with the player depth they have, you can only really select on the solidarity of a player rather than their 'talent' so to speak. It is all well and good selecting players outside the Rabo, but the gap between them and the home players only increases, and they lack the vital combinations to keep a team together when the sh*te hits the fan. Like Stuart Hogg, he was not found lagging when surrounded by the talent of the lions, but he can only reach that level when surrounded by that calibre of player.

It is an uphill battle for Scotland. They need to be realistic. This day 2 years ago the scottish chief exec revealed the plan they had for the team, which was to "Win a 6 Nations" and "Win the World Cup" by 2016.

"No Comment."

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DrG June 30, 2014 1:20 am

Couldn't agree more, Scotland look like they have one heck of a struggle - Although that sounds like a scratched record, I think that's more or less the same thing that's been said for how many years now?

Martin Johnson tried picking players based on their 'talent' and sadly when they had off periods they were still picked ahead of players who were perhaps 'not as talented' but were; at the time, on form and playing better.

Definitely agree with you regarding the likes of Stuart Hogg. I think in some respects he looks like a thoroughly frustrated man at times. He has the sort of talent that means if he was thrown into an amateur team it'd often be the case of 'throw it to Hoggy and he'll do the rest'** But in the International scene, one man can only do so much.

The other frustrating thing about Scotland, is it's not like they don't have talent in the squad. I don't know whether it's unfortunately a case of having say 8/9 talented players, and the rest are making up numbers, or whether you have a good team that aren't gelling well. Italy have had (or still have) this problem, where they are brilliant from 1-8 and then acceptable at 11, 14, and good at 15, and the rest are just plain seat fillers.

I wonder whether (Southern Hemisphere fans please don't shoot me down), this fixture was just too much for Scotland? Lots of travelling, lots of close calls, tired bodies and an opponent; that whilst understrength, was just far too good for them?

**(we've definitely had a similar conversation before!!)

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Badge June 30, 2014 5:46 am

I thoroughly enjoyed the game and I'm really excited to see what the Boks can achieve over the next year heading into the WC. I do feel for Scotland because after a touring leg that stretched four different countries on three different continents, I'm sure they were beat to hell by the time they ran out in NM Bay Stadium. Scotland were beaten physically from the opening whistle (...mostly, I really hope Coenie can step his game up).

I didn't appreciate the shot on le Roux, and I'm sure he didn't either, which caused him to leave the field for a bit. I'm terribly one-sided with the Boks so maybe it wasn't on purpose. But I sure felt like it was at the time. Fair play to Scotland overall, I hope they continue to improve and start seeing some favorable results.

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10stonenumber10 June 30, 2014 10:12 am

SA would be the last place on earth I would want for a final tour date. Very few supporters will make it for you, the whole stadium will be green and gold, and everybody from the guy at the airport unloading the bags to the corporate boxes will not just want SA to win, but it seems they HOPE you lose!!

Apparently it is one of the most hostile environments to play, against a team that even understrength will dwarf you physically, and a pack that can bully the best round the park... they stood no chance

It is like going to the Dentist. Never a case of "will it hurt?", always a case of "how much?".

Demoralising all round for Scotland, I'd like to see them turn it round, but I am an avid Italy fan, we need the 6N win!

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MattyJ June 30, 2014 11:44 am

poor poor scotland, even on their best day it was going to be a pasting! good luck with independance that'll help your rugby...

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DrG June 30, 2014 3:35 pm

Firstly, it's wise to keep politics out of these sorts of places seeing as we all have one thing in common (rugby) which you, I and everyone else all have differing opinions about i.e. we already have enough to argue about without the added extra of politics, religion, sexual orientation or whether or not the earth goes round the sun or vice versa...

Secondly, being hypocritical and taking the bait regarding your comment, how would their independence in anyway hinder their rugby? Vern Cotter is a New Zealander, so that makes no difference there.... Beyond ability and form, players are selected due to whether they qualify to play for Scotland.. not the United Kingdom, not Great Britain and certainly not England, Wales and Ireland... So unless you're referring to a long chain reaction whereby you might view things like funding for rugby becoming less available, that comment; which as I said has no place on a rugby site, was baseless and about as useful as a kick in the arse...

All from someone that has no interest one way or the other regarding their independence...

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finedisregard June 30, 2014 1:36 pm

Well, what did you expect?

I'm ready for Scotland to get good again.

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Reality June 30, 2014 2:15 pm

I think the seemingly hapless performance here from Scotland isn't actually as negative as it may seem, because most of the tries scored looked to be the result of a defence that just couldn't have been bothered at the end of a long season, so come crunch time in the Six Nations/World Cup I really don't think they'll be as poor as that. Realistically, no top-flight team in international rugby lets the other team drive over from five metres out, so in matches where Scotland actually make an effort the other teams will have to work a lot harder and won't get the armchair ride that SA did.

Having said that, I still think that they'll suffer in tournaments because of a lack of top-class players.

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DrG June 30, 2014 3:38 pm

Only thing is, if that is the case it's worrying that anyone playing in an International jersey could 'not be bothered.' Whether or not they're tired, have anything to play for etc etc, surely pulling on your Scottish jersey (or any other team jersey) would make you want to play to the best of your ability... I mean if they're out there just f*****g about, then why not just call up 15 random Scotsman who play for Scottish clubs and just give them a random runabout... Can't do much worse than they did anyway...

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Ireland West June 30, 2014 3:09 pm

Have to compliment SA for selecting Handre Pollard, and 5 other debutants, for this fixture. Scotland (the last NH side to beat SA) would have looked to front up in an extremely physical 10 man rugby type game and hope to convert the penalties won at the breakdown. Instead SA put pace on the ball (their handling is increasingly impressive) and ran around & through them. If anyone can draw positives from this hammering it's Vern Cotter. Scotland have done extremely well to recruit him & I wish him and Scotland well. Also nice to see SA play a more expansive game.

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Eddie-g June 30, 2014 3:50 pm

Whoever's idea it was to have Scotland play SA as the final match of a four week tour which crossed three continents... that was madness.

Problem really for the Scots was that they just don't have the players to attack good opposition. And if you can't generate pressure against a Bok side, you pay. Handre Pollard and Jan Serfontein, however, those guys are the future, they should be an outstanding 10-12 combination for a long time.

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SCOT7AND June 30, 2014 3:51 pm

Having watched the game live and the rest of the tour, scotland were resoundingly beaten by a far better boks team. However there are a couple of points that need mentioning. This tour was a development tour in all honesty for Scotland with Tyrone Holmes, Adam Ashe, Blair Cowan, Finn Russell, Kieran low, Grayson hart, Alex Allan, Kevin Bryce, Gordon Reid all making their debuts as well as Jonny Gray making his first start.

The tour was stupidly organised, shame on the person for putting Scotland in a position to play the 2nd best team in the world minus their English and French based players! I'm not by any chance saying they would have won but that would have at least not made the scoreboard so dramatically one sided. Look at the players missing for the final test. Shorne of Brown (before injury) vs Canada, Beattie, Laidlaw, Hamilton, Richie gray, Jackson, lamont (7s) Denton injured, strokosh (injured), Kellock injured, Dunbar, Scott, cusiter injured and Barclay injured. Scotland were always on a hiding to nothing.

At least this tour has shown who is going to be capable at this level from the back ups if nothing else. With it's lack of player numbers scotland should never have had to play this match without so many first choices. Gilchrist was a big plus as was Seymour showing up really well over the whole tour.

Really demoralising defeat but saw it coming. Whole tour we only just had enough to scrape by. We need a third pro team urgently to give more opportunities and playing time and greater emphasis on creating more 'quality' coaches.

Scotland fan, PE teacher and rugby coach.

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10stonenumber10 June 30, 2014 4:28 pm

Get 7s into the schools.

Let us little ones run rings around you big lads when the weather warms up.

You don't need anywhere near the depth of players to make a 7s team, if you can run and tackle, you can be taught to pass. With only 12 men in a squad everybody plays every position (unless you are really small, then you won't ever be in the scrum), you can hold a single training session involving all players, and it focuses far more on the core skills rather than picking the big lads who can only rumble.

I've talked until I am blue in the face about grassroots focussing on results. Most age grade teams pick on size rather than skill, big lads who can bash about get found out when they step up. Everybody is their size and bigger, AND they can kick, pass, run and score, rather than rumble with 3 people hanging off him on a wet day in the Highlands. And the little guy banging over drop goals from half way and scoring 10 tries a season from his own half never gets a look in, because he goes backwards to someone 5 stone heavier than him.


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DrG June 30, 2014 9:24 pm

Couldn't agree more, being one of the 'big lads' at colts grade and a smidge before, I found my height and weight for that age group was pretty easy to use to my advantage and without sounding like a dick, looking back, I found the game 'easy'. I did my job as a second row/back row and that was it, I could 'grab' the younger guys and throw my weight around (in a positive manner) as soon as I stepped up into senior rugby, I realised how much more I enjoyed rugby when I had to work at it, I couldn't rely on 'grabbing' guys, I had to actually TACKLE them, I had to work hard and had to fight for everything. My tackling and running improved ten fold, handling was still needs more work, kicking...well...kicking RARELY happens, I've chipped through once or twice, fortunately I was able to chase on and get a try from one, the other we shall not speak about...

A pack weighing in at a metric ton is all very well and good, but if they look at the ball through their monobrows with confusion and aren't sure whether to sit on it to keep it warm or try and cook it then they're going to get shown up badly by a pack half the size!

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I_bleed_green_and_gold June 30, 2014 5:14 pm

Is it just me or do these June internationals mean more to the home nations than the visiting ones? ( bar the Lions tours)
these tours always seem to be sure bets with the occasional matchup that looked like an even contest. It is a great way to blood new players into the system but both these and the end of year tours just seem like warm ups for the real competition (i.e. championship down south and 6 nations up north).
Granted there is a lot more rugby now than in previous years and so injuries do force the coaches hand but the will to win (or a belief that they can win) does not seem there from the touring teams. ( in general, wales were unlucky last week)

one other unrelated comment:
Why in the world cup draw does the 1st and 2nd ranked teams get pitted against each other in a semi ( if they win all their matches to that point); shouldn't the pools be set up such that the first and second probably end up in a final together?

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Reality June 30, 2014 7:33 pm

Maybe I've misunderstood so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's exactly the opposite to what you said in the knockout stages of the world cup. For example, pool A, let's say Australia goes through first and England second, England will be put in quarter final 1 and Australia in QF4, then assuming they both win Australia will then play the winner of QF3 and England will play the winner of QF2. I assume you're talking about the first and second-ranked teams of a pool, i.e. the winners, because otherwise I've misunderstood.

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DrG June 30, 2014 9:15 pm

I think he is referring to IRB rankings at the moment which puts NZ at 1 and SA at 2 and how it will pan out in the RWC...

I took the liberty of guessing the winners of pool A, B, C, D and base this on nothing other than 'filling in' so apologies if I've included teams that people do not agree with...

Capital A, B, C, D denotes the winner of the group, lower case denotes runner up of the group..

A-Aus v b-Scot ------- Aus

C-NZ v d-Ire ------- NZ

B-SA v a-Eng ------- SA

D-Fra v c-Arg ------- FRA

I've picked all the winners of their own groups at this stage just for ease, so Australia, NZ, SA and FRA all 'won' their games in the quarters...

So then if all turns out like the above, we'd get; in the semi:

NZ vs SA
Fra vs Aus

Hence rank 1 and 2 vs each other in the semi - I'll go no further in my guessing :D

So to answer the question... No idea - I'm not sure if that is how the teams are drawn and whether it's luck of the draw as such or whether it's the IRB using their brains...

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Pipo July 01, 2014 5:11 am

I remember at least for RWC 2011 the four group leaders were chosen for being the first 4 in the rankings at some specific point (NZ, RSA, AUS, ARG). It was the same for England 2015 (the same but replace ARG with FRA).

In any case, it is idiotic that the first and second ranked teams don't get a shot at facing each other at the final if they win all their games. To borrow from DrG: the IRB using their brains...

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I_bleed_green_and_gold July 01, 2014 2:38 pm

@ DrG. Yes, that is where I was going with that statement. The rankings were the same when the draw was done where they not? It seems that the rankings only set up the pools but after that, the powers that be can structure the tournament as they like (winner A vs runner up B) or winner A vs runner up C etc.
I know that all roads to the final are tough but this one is pretty bad for group A ( on current form). The winner of A will have to put in some serious effort against tough opposition in the pool stages then play a fairly competitive quarter final, the winners of pool B, C and D have relatively easier pool games but tough second stages. lets face it, no one wants to play NZ in a semi after playing (aus,wales, England, or Boks (if you are not a supporter which is a crazy notion :) ) in a quarter final)
It seems that winning group D is the easiest path to the finals (probably France).

Not to start a north Vs south debate or a conspiracy theory but does it seem that, as a commercial product, a rugby final would want to pit a northern team in the final ? and having the southern Giants fight it out earlier on? Having SA vs NZ in the final wont garner as many viewers ( people who wouldn't normally watch the game otherwise) as a Fr vs Nz rematch (probably Aus/england vs SA- my biased opinion) or Aus/england?? vs NZ
It seems that a NZ vs SA semi would seriously deplete the winning team more so than a france v aus semi.

Regardless the opposition, I am sure it will be a great tournament. just confused still at the structuring. (it is in England so there is a home field advantage, england might just top their pool and have a french English semi)

too many scenarios to play out. the point is it will be a tough road to the top and the first and second place teams wont meet in the final.

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DrG July 01, 2014 5:02 pm

Couldn't agree more. Whether we're right in the theory of NH vs SH or not, it's certainly the case that rugby has become a business for many, it also requires a huge amount of money to keep it up and running.

Think of how many million people in the UK for instance who don't care about rugby will switch off and not bother with the competition if/when England get knocked out. At least if you have a NH side, you may get hangers on wanting to see revenge on the SH bullies...

Plus also it promotes a 'global' feel to the whole tournament, it's the Rugby WORLD cup, not the Rugby Hemisphere cup, so hey, why not make an 'easy' route to get at least one; at the moment, lagging NH side into the final...

Of course as said, it does sound very 'tin hat' but it does make you wonder. I agree that at the time of the draws etc etc, that surely the most sensible routes should be made so that the number 1 and number 2 sides; again at the time of the draw, should meet in the final..

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I_bleed_green_and_gold July 01, 2014 6:09 pm

We can only wait and see. if we get more of the officiating that we have had in the past at crucial stages we may be on to something. the last world cup had SA vs NZ set up for the semi final but Aus spolied the party by placing second in their pool. (some questionable officiating put a much weaker AUS team through against NZ.) again... the top 2 slated against each other in a semi final. the warburton card against wales helped a struggling french team to the final. (one that they should have won - but they probably should not have even been their in the first place.)
In 07 the All blacks had some officiating go against them that knocked them out whereas SA- not ranked in the top 2 had the easier road to the final. The goal i guess it to be ranked 4th or strategically lose a game to be placed as a runner up in a favorable trajectory.
he reality is that England and France command the highest market share so keeping them around makes the most business sense. SA have large volumes of viewers but a much weaker currency. NZ have much fewer numbers but the best team so they would produce the "best opponents" but lets first make them really work hard to get their by playing SA or the Aussies so they are nakked by the time the final comes around.

I think we may be finding correlations where none exist and we can go on naively believing that "the best team won on the day" or " respect the refs decisions" or "everything is "random" and "luck of the draw" etc. Or maybe the game has changed so much that the business is more important than the game?

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stroudos July 02, 2014 6:48 am

Wow. In a little under 25 hours, you went from interesting observation to full deranged nutjob mode! Which, judging from your usual posts, seems out of character.

Your match-fixing accusations seriously undermine the hard work and dedication of players and coaches in all teams.

The refereeing decisions you highlight were not incorrect and in any case teams must be able to cope with those decisions.

Interesting to see a suggestion of France being "helped to the final", considering that of all nations' supporters it's often the French claiming bias against them.

To your final point re NZ, it seems to me the best way to stitch them up is to give them a weak pool, not a hard one. In 2007 they reached the knockout stage completely under-cooked having coasted through their pool games. In 2011, they were battle-hardened and focused.

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I_bleed_green_and_gold July 02, 2014 3:09 pm

I am not suggesting there is match fixing on the part of coaches or players in the teams- if anything, they make the best of the hand they are dealt.

My point was more of assessing whether the governing body perhaps have an agenda. Rugby is a lucrative business and there are many people who want a bigger slice of the pie. as a strategic move does it not makes sense to try to keep the deeper pockets around the longest?

I am still skeptical on some of the refereeing done in some of the high stakes matches. call it "deranged nutjob" if you will but there are many times that I really wonder if what we are watching and enjoying is a game played on a level playing field.
I would like to believe that one the day the best team won a fair contest.

Maybe I have been watching too much fifa world cup which is the most profitable, "non-profit" sporting organization run event that I think the IRB have been drinking the same water.

perhaps it is only luck of of the draw at the time of the rankings and France benefits this time around.

I will return to my normal self now and just discuss on the field events.

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DrG July 02, 2014 4:54 pm

@green and gold and Stroudos.

In all fairness, I don't think either green and gold nor myself were suggesting that anything is fact, indeed he (or she?) did say "I think we may be finding correlations where none exist" - But there is an interesting point made with regards to the most comfortable route to the finals and again above regarding how there are many people WITHIN rugby that might like a bigger slice of pie.

G&G has just put his doubt on match fixing as far as players and coaches, but is it really that hard to believe that indeed players or coaches could be involved in it? I mean match fixing is not too far from the bloodgate scandal now is it? Look how far rugby has moved, coaches have always had opinions but look at Sir Al-oh wait, Richard Cockerill... that guy has a damn big mouth on him and he is not afraid to open it. I know we don't want referees getting away with awful decisions, but I also don't want referees too terrified to make a decision in case loudmouth Cockers gets on the case. - Anyway that is about referees...

G&G did mention a team perhaps dropping one match to make an easier route to the final as a potential but probably unrealistic idea. Of course it sounds far fetched and I don't for a second suggest it would happen but taking NZ for instance and looking at their route you'll see that above in a previous comment I've mapped out possible winners and runners up leading up to the semi's... NZ has to play SA in the semi's this is a hard match, but if NZ dropped one pool match then things could look a lot different - Again capital denotes winner of pool, lower case is runner up.

A-Aus v b-Scot ------- Aus

C-Arg v d-Ire ------- ARG/IRE - Can't choose..

B-SA v a-Eng ------- SA

D-Fra v c-NZ ------- NZ - Potentially difficult?

So the semis become:

ARG/IRE vs SA - Lets say SA win

NZ vs Aus - Current form I'd suggest NZ would win...

So the final is now NZ vs SA.... rather than semi...

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I_bleed_green_and_gold July 02, 2014 6:12 pm

@ DrG.
that is a nice summary and follow up to my comment. I (He/male--> did not know my gender was in question here... haha) think you understood my intentions with the initial comments. I do not think that any coach wants to purposely lose a pool game but it does give the coach more liberty at resting certain players or blooding new ones if they know that a second place finish could be more favorable long term than a first place pool stage finish.

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Dourauldscot July 01, 2014 1:40 pm

Disappointing to lose by this scoreline to any team, ever, but people need to get some perspective. Realistically, this was always going to happen. Only about 5 or 6 of that 23 would have made the Scotland squad had all options been available. The biggest disgrace from this match was the suit that signed off the tour schedule. It was a silly match to play at the end of a logistically challenging tour. With the loss of our English and French based players, on top of injuries, we were literally running on empty. The farce of Ashe being given a first cap, and start, having only played half an hour of top level pro rugby with Glasgow really sums up the situation. I don't think anybody learnt much from that other than the fact that South Africa have much greater strength in depth than Scotland (as you would with their playing numbers and pro teams).

We’ll never know, but if this had been the full Scotland team I doubt they’d have done any worse than the Welsh team did in the first game of their series. I know people who only encounter Scottish players in the 6 nations love to look blankly at the result and bemoan the demise of Scottish rugby but, in my opinion, Scotland are not that far off being genuinely competitive - in the six nations at the very least. Of course this is all just words until these boys start playing to their potential. This is where Cotter needs to come good.

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DrG July 01, 2014 2:06 pm

Firstly SA are number 2 in the world, so the following is not saying that Scotland would have beaten them if/but/when/shouldacouldawoulda etc..

I don't think anyone would deny this was an 'under strength' Scottish side. That of course; as you mention, does not mean that a full strength Scottish side would have had a great result. It also highlights the differences between the depths of the Scots and the Saffas teams (when you consider this was very much an understrength SA team!), but as you highlighted SA have 6 professional teams in the Super rugby compared to only 2 professional teams in Scotland (I think)... This isn't an excuse it's merely a factor as to why they're not quite the standard that the Scots would like them to be. When you consider that 6 pro teams picking their best players would field a total of 90 players on any given day, of which SA can take pick of, compared to Scotlands dire 30.. I've simplified the matter greatly here I know...

I've mentioned in a previous comment that I'm not sure whether Scotland only has say 8-9 great players and the rest are making up numbers or whether they have 15 decent players but they don't know how to play together...

I find it quite alarming how Scotland dropped so fast and have never quite recovered... They seemed to have a decent run in the 5 nations, dancing around the table from year to year, then in 1999 the last 5N they won it, the following year when Italy joined, the Scots got smashed around the competition and have never quite recovered. There always seems to be a good result which spawns the comments such as "this is it, Scotland now have faith, they know they can WIN matches, they know they can score tries" then the next game it's a hammering followed by "we must do better"... Hopefully Cotter can help them out the rut.

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Ireland West July 01, 2014 9:03 pm

Scotland have 104,000 registered players (NZ have 149,000, SA have 387,000 - all dwarfed by England's over 2 million) and the SRU has been in existence since 1873.
Scotland retain their place in the top 8 in world rugby.
These facts should serve to remind those who would write Scotland's obituary would do so at their peril. The transition to professionalism has not gone well for them, but the game is not quite dead yet !

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stroudos July 02, 2014 7:02 am

According to my source, (IRB via wikipedia), the Scotland figure is only 38,500. Although that's still quite a bit more that Samoa (23k) and more than five times higher than Tonga's (just under 7k) and those teams, especially Samoa seem able to compete on the global stage.

But to be honest, these numbers are probably a bit misleading anyway - for example England's 2million registered rugby players include people like me who play 5 to 10 matches per season for their club's 4th, 5th or Vets team.

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10stonenumber10 July 02, 2014 9:32 am

I'm pretty sure I'm still on a few club's books, I haven't laced a pair of boots for a 15 a side game since my last concussion nearly 4 years ago now

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Ireland West July 02, 2014 7:24 pm

The figures quoted are from the IRB website. They serve only as a rough indicator of 'rugby strength', but are nevertheless useful. Were Scotland to fall below 8th place in the IRB World rankings, currently occupied by Samoa at 9th, Japan at 10th, Fiji at 11th and ARGENTINA at 12th, it would be of real concern.

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DrG July 03, 2014 10:32 pm

I'm not trying to be rude, but I think Scotland are lucky to not have dropped below some of those nations. Japan has grabbed a win against Wales. Argentina have rattled a couple of the 'big boys' recently; not enough to beat them (yet??) but they've made some good ground over a very short period of time. Scotland on the other hand looks like they're heading down and just occasionally managing to grab another gasp of air with lucky wins recently.

Again I'm not meaning to sound rude and I wish Scotland all the best in their rugby future, I sincerely hope Cotter can get them going in the right direction, but being brutally honest, I've felt that almost all the wins I've seen from Scotland recently have been the sorts of wins that you come away with saying "I don't care how awful it was, what we should of done here and there, what we were lucky not to get hit with, it was a WIN and that's all that matters!"

But of course to be optimistic, I wish all the success for Scotland it'd be good to see both them and Italy become strong contenders in the 6N and on the world stage.

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Ireland West July 07, 2014 9:14 pm

In fairness, you make a critical, but fair point. Presently, Scotland are on their way down the rankings, and the teams directly below them are on an upward path. Perhaps it remains the case that unless (and until) Scotland lose their place in the Top 8, the SRU won't act. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see what Cotter's approach will yield.

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DrG July 08, 2014 10:50 am

I'd love to see Scotland improve, I remember watching the very last 5 nations as a kiddy and seeing Scotland win it. I suppose it was the days of Townsend, Paterson (in his prime) etc, all guns appeared to be blazing, they've never quite recovered. If Scotland did lose their places what could the SRU do? I hope Cotter can do something, but then it comes to a point where the players have to take over and do the rest of the hard work. I think under Scott Johnson they made a lot of improvements to their penalty count. Not entirely Andy Robinsons fault, but Scotlands penalty count was sometimes AWFUL, it could bring one to tears to see how hard they worked they way up the field to the opposition 22, then Jim Hamilton decides it's a good idea to do something daft and gets them sent back to the dark ages....

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Ireland West July 08, 2014 11:23 am

Discipline, or the lack of it, has certainly contributed heavily to Scotland's difficulties on the pitch. As to what the SRU can do - well since they have control & responsibility for the game there, it's reasonable to ask them to provide solutions for Scottish rugby.
Looking at the various ways in which other Unions manage and selecting an appropriate model to aspire to would be a start. Also not changing national coaches so often might help.

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DrG July 09, 2014 8:26 pm

Hmm, interesting. I know the SRU are in 'control' but I was actually wondering what procedures or policies they could implement to benefit the national team - I have no prior knowledge and have rarely thought past the managing and coaching staff... As I've said previously I wonder whether Scotland are picking a handful of great players and then the rest just make up numbers, or whether they have 15 potentially great players who just aren't gelling. Either way, if the SRU has to get involved then I'd imagine; much like the IRB, I am not qualified to get involved as I've actually PLAYED the game for a fair few years...

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