Announced: 2021 Game of the Year nominations – but still time to have your say

From successes in London and Paris for the national team to gritty club encounters at Malleny Park and Hughenden, these are the 15 games currently entered into the poll

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and his team celebrate their Calcutta Cup victory in February. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Scotland captain Stuart Hogg and his team celebrate their Calcutta Cup victory in February. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

THE OFFSIDE LINE is once again running a poll to find out our readers’ favourite match of the past 12 months. To get the ball rolling, we have asked some of our friends in the Scottish rugby press to select their favourite match from 2021 – see below – but we’re also keen for readers to come up with some nominations of their own.

The match you choose can be one you played in, attended in person, or simply watched on TV, and it can be from any level at all – international, pro team, club or school, women’s or men’s, or an age-group game. It doesn’t have to be specifically linked to Scotland or Scottish rugby, but we are looking for suggestions which will resonate with our readership.

Please try to limit your submission to 200 words, to be submitted to us at [email protected] by 5pm on Christmas Eve.

The final list of nominations will be posted and the public vote will begin on Boxing Day, with the winner to be announced on Hogmanay.

Remember, your favourite game doesn’t have to mean the highest standard of game you witnessed this year. We want to celebrate the whole range of Scottish rugby and what it means to be involved in this great sport.

Having said that, there is one very high-profile match which isn’t featured in the 15 games featured below.


Nick Grigg to leave Glasgow Warriors to take up deal in Japan

Sean Lineen leaves Scottish Rugby

Coaches search for calm in face of Covid set-back for 1872 Cup


GAME 1: 16th January – Guinness PRO14 –

Glasgow Warriors 23 Edinburgh 22

Nominated by: Graham Bean, rugby correspondent for The Scotsman

It was the game that had just about everything – except fans. Glasgow Warriors got their season back on track thanks to a gutsy derby win but they were aided by the unwitting intervention of a passing train driver at Scotstoun.

It was the second game of the three-match 1872 Cup series and the result levelled things at 1-1 as Scottish rugby’s pendulum swung back in Glasgow’s favour.

Played on a cold January lockdown night, it will be remembered chiefly by the strange endings to each half.

Edinburgh were leading 10-8 with 30 seconds of the first period remaining when visiting scrum-half Nic Groom inexplicably booted the ball into touch.

The South African mistook the horn from a train chugging past Scotstoun’s North Stand for the half-time buzzer, as is used in southern hemisphere rugby.

From the resulting lineout, Glasgow went on to win a penalty which man of the match Ross Thompson – on the young stand-off’s first start for the club – despatched between the posts to reduce the arrears to a single point at the interval.

Three minutes earlier, Edinburgh had taken the lead for the first time in the match through Jamie Farndale’s try and the Groom error halted the visitors’ momentum.

Glasgow scored second-half tries through Matt Fagerson and George Turner, and although Edinburgh replied with tries from Chris Dean and Eroni Sau it was not enough.

While Glasgow’s win levelled the inter-city series not everyone realised there was another game still to play, meaning the ending to the second half was as bizarre as the first.

Rather than kick the ball into touch, Glasgow continued to attack even though the 80 minutes were up. It later emerged that the Glasgow players thought they needed the extra three points to win the 1872 Cup on aggregate.

The Warriors did go on to lift the trophy for the first time in four years – but they had to wait until the third game in May to do so.


GAME 2: 6th February – Guinness Men’s Six Nations –

England 6 Scotland 11

Nominated by: Rob Robertson, rugby correspondent for Scottish Daily Mail

I am old enough to remember when Scotland beat England 22-12 at Twickenham way back in 1983. On that famous day scrum-half Roy Laidlaw and second-row Tom Smith, on his debut, got the tries. Peter Dods put over three penalties and one conversion and Keith Robertson got a lovely drop-goal.

I wasn’t there that day but I was privileged to be among the handful of Scots in the stadium the next time Scotland won at the home of English rugby.

Laidlaw, Smith, Dods and Robertson grabbed the headlines back in 1983 as part of a team captained by Jim Aitken. Thirty-eight years on it was winger Duhan van der Merwe who scored the only try of the game and Finn Russell who put over two penalties that secured the never to be forgotten 11-6 win. If your wanted evidence as to how much the victory meant to the Scottish players you just had to look on the face of captain Stuart Hogg at the final whistle. The man from Hawick has never looked before or since so proud at the end of a game.

I am sure the hundreds of thousands of Scotland fans watching on television all round the world would have been suitably jubilant. Even I couldn’t stop myself. Usually in press boxes there is an air of professionalism and no open show of success when your team wins.

For once my mask slipped and I let out a ’yes,’ at the top of my voice in celebration. To be fair the English journalists sitting all around me didn’t take offence and actually gave me a round of applause. They knew how important a win it had been for Scotland.

Hopefully it won’t be another 38 years before Scotland beat England at Twickenham again but let’s all just enjoy the moment and vote one of the greatest matches in the history of Scottish rugby as The Offside Line’s game of the year.


GAME 3: 13th February – Guinness Men’s Six Nations –

Scotland 24 Wales 25

Nominated by: Stevie Scott, rugby correspondent for The Courier

This is my game of the year as it might be how we always remember 2021 – the abject misery of an empty Murrayfield during Covid. Also, for the neutral, it was an amazing game.

It was the first Six Nations game at Murrayfield behind closed doors, but had there been the usual full house we might be remembering this as an all-time classic. It was freezing – minus 6 with a windchill, but it felt colder – and Scotland were buoyed with enthusiasm a week on from their Twickenham triumph.

The Scots could have put the game away in the first half, and again early in the second. Some forward-based resilience from Wales, two lively replacement half-backs, and a glorious solo try from Louis Rees-Zammit turned the game in their favour. The Scots will long believe they should have had a penalty at the death, but they should have won the game long before that and Zander Fagerson’s red card.

Wales eventually went on to play for a Grand Slam – still incredible to anyone who saw them lumber through the first half hour of this game.

That could have been Scotland. We’ll find out in the next few months whether this pivotal game was a learning exercise, or a glaring opportunity missed.


GAME 4: 27th March – Guinness Men’s Six Nations –

France 23 Scotland 27

Nominated by: Mark Palmer, rugby correspondent for The Sunday Times and Deputy Sports Editor of The Times (Scottish Editions)

Until such time as Scotland repeat the trick in front of full houses in London, Paris and Cardiff, there will always be those who seek to undermine the hoodoo-busting wins Gregor Townsend’s men recorded behind closed doors away to England, France and Wales.

Let them. As one of only a handful of Scottish media present at both Twickenham and Parc y Scarlets (restrictions meant none of us could travel to the Stade de France), I can vouch for how hard-fought, how well-earned and how treasured each of those successes was.

France remains my personal favourite, and not just because I was able to cover it from the warmth of a BBC studio rather than the always freezing, vertiginous slopes of the Saint Denis stands.

Everything about it seemed to be adding up to yet another tough-luck story, from the original game being postponed because of the Waffle-munching antics of the French team, through Scotland being unable to pick the side they wanted for the rescheduled clash due to player release issues, to the home arrogance of the build-up that seemed to be taking as read not just a home win, but the 21-point, four-try triumph Les Bleus required to land the title.

Scotland were brilliant; composed, controlled and controlling from 1-23 and first to last. It went to the wire, of course it did, but when Duhan van der Merwe crashed over on the end of Adam Hastings’ pass with the clock five minutes into the red, it was absolutely no more than the vibrant visitors deserved

There were heroes everywhere, from familiar figures like van der Merwe, Finn Russell and Hamish Watson to Nick Haining, who had a superb game on both sides of the ball at No8, Dave Cherry, the try-scoring replacement hooker, and Hastings, another bench man who put the ribbons on the win by converting van der Merwe’s touchdown.

It was, of course, the first time that Scotland had beaten France away from home since 1999 and it was also a third win in four meetings between the teams since August 2019. With first Vern Cotter then Townsend having established the Scots as a side who can, and have, beat anyone at home in the Six Nations, securing points on the road is crucial to the next step of becoming genuine title contenders. Paris gave us a tantalising glimpse of what might lie ahead.


 

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GAME 5: 7th August – Third Test of Lions tour to South Africa –

South Africa 19 British & Irish Lions 16

Nominated by: Pete Burns, rugby author and managing director Polaris Publishing

OK, OK, hear me out on this one. I know that the 2021 Lions tour is a bit of a sludgy, horrible memory for most rugby fans, but something special happened in that third Test that arguably helped to save international rugby. Just as Harlequins’ attacking élan lit up the final weeks of the 2020-21 Premiership season that had, until that point, been beset by caterpillar rucks and endless box kicking, so too did the introduction of Finn Russell to the field in Cape Town after ten minutes of the third Test light up the tour in the most wonderful of ways.

In the second Test, Dan Biggar, the man Russell replaced, had passed the ball three times in the course of his 58 minutes on the field. Yes, you read that right. Three. And Biggar was in a similar groove at the beginning of the third Test until he went down injured.

Then the man from Bridge of Allan took a casual swig of Red Bull and sauntered into the action. And suddenly it was chaos – organised, beautiful, edge-of-your-seat chaos. Had Tom Curry not given away a needless penalty which chalked off a Lions try, and had Liam Williams executed a simple two-on-one, the Lions could have won by 30 points, such was the dominance that Russell brought to proceedings.

As it was, the Springboks muscled their way back into the match and just edged the series with a last-minute penalty.

The Lions – and Russell – may not have won, but we had witnessed a new way of breaking down the world champions’ defence and saw that box–kicking wasn’t the only way to play Test rugby. And come the new season, there was glorious attacking intent on show everywhere. Ireland passed the ball 212 times in their demolition of New Zealand; England stole a victory against the Boks thanks to some fearless attacking in the closing minutes; and France enjoyed the moment of the autumn when Romain Ntamack countered from behind his own try line in France’s epic win over New Zealand in Paris. Scotland, of course, had their moments too, scoring some sumptuous tries in the autumn campaign, with that man Russell at the heart more often than not. The man who can change a game – and change the game.


GAME 6: 20th August – Super6 –

Stirling County 30 Ayrshire Bulls 28

Nominated by: David Mcadam

Friday night lights at Bridgehaugh, week four of Super 6. Ayrshire Bulls, among the pre-tournament favourites had managed just one win in their first three games so far. County, despite some attractive play, had yet to win – a draw, and two narrow defeats. There was pressure on both teams.

It was a slow burner of a game with an explosive finish. At half-time, the score was 10-10, with fine tries by Stevie Hamilton and talismanic skipper Dean Taylor-Menzies, on his first appearance of the season, contributing to the home team’s points, with Ayrshire levelling through a Tom Jordan try and the boot of MattMinogue.

The three first half tries were superseded by five in the second half, and, by the end, the lead had changed hands five times. County appeared to have the game won when Rayner Kennedy came off the bench, and at the end of some slick interplay crashed over for a try with his first touch of the game to give them a 27-15 lead.

But after the Bulls edged their way back in with two penalties, County’s expansive backs couldn’t resist going for a sixth try, and instead saw Matt Davidson intercept in his own half and run the length for a converted try that gave Ayrshire a one point lead in the 80th minute.

County restarted and went through 12 phases before a Bulls infringement gave Stirling substitute Craig Robertson a long range penalty chance to win it with the last kick of the game. He achieved his goal. Ben Cairns’ adventurous side had finally got some reward, and players like Logan Trotter, Archie Russell and Connor Gordon looked ready to kick-on.

In retrospect the defeat for the Bulls proved to be the turning point in their season, as they reacted by going on a five game winning run to secure their place in the final, when they became champions.

I loved that a home-made player in Craig Robertson was the hero. I loved that Grant Hughes switched to play No 9 because of an injury crisis and showed he is an outstanding all round footballer. I loved that adventure in the end was rewarded with a win.

When Robertson stood over the winning kick my mind went back to a Friday night at Hughenden 20 years ago, when Glasgow Warriors were just beginning to build momentum as a professional side. It was a European game against Montferrand and the scores were tied at 19-19 when another Stirling product, James McLaren, stepped up to attempt a long-range penalty to win the game with the last kick. Unbelievably, the French players built a human pyramid, and as the ball went to scrape over the bar, they reached up and blocked it, to ensure the game finished level. I remember leaving that night thinking these Friday night games under the lights were great! Bridgehaugh in August felt like that again – the product was just as good, but there is a wee bit to go yet before crowds are built to rival those who have flocked to Warriors since that night 20 years ago.


GAME 7: 4th September – Tennent’s Premiership –

Musselburgh 33 GHA 13

Nominated by: Colin Renton, rugby journalist and TOL stalwart

The first day of a new Tennent’s Premiership season. The venue is Stoneyhill, where Musselburgh host GHA. This may not sound like the hottest ticket in Scottish rugby, but it is hugely significant.

Equally important are the fixtures taking place at Hawick, where Currie Chieftains are the visitors, and Marr, who welcome Glasgow Hawks, as well as those across Scotland in lower divisions. And, as if to emphasise the magnitude of the occasion, the other two top tier matches scheduled to take place today have fallen victim to Covid.

Musselburgh’s enthusiastic volunteers are on hand to ensure all protocols are met, with supporters reminded of the odd times we live in when they are asked to scan a QR code as they enter the ground.

In the event, the hosts get the campaign off to a winning start. William Fleming bags two of his side’s five tries and there’s one apiece for James Ferguson, Rory Hindhaugh and Gregor Tait, with home skipper Danny Owenson landing four conversions to secure a 33-13 win – Jamie Mackinnon dotting down for the visitors and Adam Scott booting the other points.

It’s an entertaining encounter. The result matters for the players, of course. But more important for the spectators, and certainly for this observer, is the fact that the club game is back. Perhaps not fully restored in the way we might wish, but it is a tentative step along the road to rugby normality.


GAME 8: 25th September – RWC Qualifier  –

Ireland 18 Scotland 20

Nominated by Iain Morrison, rugby journalist and TOL stalwart

Scotland’s women won their first ever international match, 10-0 against Ireland, but in more recent times the scales have been loaded against the Scots. Few beyond the immediate squad held out much hope of victory when Bryan Easson’s side had to beat Ireland last September in Parma, to keep their World Cup hopes alive; a draw was not enough. Ireland were ranked above Scotland … they still are.

Against the odds, the Scots held a 13-5 lead around the one hour mark but a converted try and a penalty pushed Ireland back into a five point lead and that was how the match stayed until the final few minutes.

A dangerous tip tackle on centre Lisa Thomson went unseen by the officials but the TMO belatedly alerted the referee and Ireland were down to 14 for the final knockings. The Scots aimed the resulting penalty at the corner … and missed! It seemed like the last chance had gone but still the Scots rallied.

Chloe Rollie made good ground on the right flank and the forwards carried up the middle. The Scots kept the ball and they kept their patience, building through an astonishing 18 error-free phases under extreme duress from a desperate Irish side, until space finally opened up for Rollie wide on the right.

With excellent awareness, the slight full-back not only crossed the line but had the presence of mind to sprint 20 meters closer to the posts to make Sarah Law’s conversion, the additional two points that the Scots needed, that little bit easier. Rollie scored with 30 seconds to spare.

Law added the extras with the last kick of the game and the different reaction in the two camps could not have been more marked. The Irish women either weeping or consoling their colleagues who were, the Scots dancing, hugging and celebrating, many of them struggling to comprehend what they had just achieved.

Scotland now enters the repercharge alongside Colombia, Samoa and one of either Kazakhstan or Hong Kong. It takes place in Dubai on 18th and 24th February next year.

Buckle up … it’s not going to be boring.


GAME 9: 17th October – Super6 Final  –

Southern Knights 16 Ayrshire Bulls 26

Nominated by: Iain Hay, rugby journalist, podcaster and regular TOL contributor

The much/regularly/sometimes maligned semi-pro setup offered up a number of high-quality matches, arguably peaking with the big finale.

Their two mini-league encounters had been close affairs, and the same was true of this one as momentum ebbed and flowed. The Bulls were never behind in the match, taking the lead through a controversial score by winger Elias Caven. An incredible piece of defending by Matt Davidson prevented Iain Moody from scoring, but Knights did level through Jacob Henry at the beginning of the second half.

With 12 minutes left, however, a lovely step from starting loose-head George Thornton set a thrilling dash to the line and put Bulls two scores up. Knights would likely have halved the deficit had Tom Evarard not nearly decapitated Henry as he raced toward the line, and although he was sent off, the Bulls managed to hold on for the win.. Marshalled by the now Glasgow Warrior Tom Jordan at stand-off, and the best back-row in the competition, Bulls were narrowly the best team throughout the season, and on the day, to deservedly be crowned champions.

Whatever your thoughts on the worth of Super6, the on-field action was of a high standard.


GAME 10: 6th November – Tennent’s Men’s Premiership –

Currie Chieftains 29 Hawick 24

Nominated by: David Barnes of TOL

Hawick gave Currie Chieftains a bloody nose at Mansfield on the opening weekend of this Premiership season, but the Malleny Park men then embarked on an eight match winning run leading into this return fixture on home soil. Meanwhile, their opponents had dropped points away from home against GHA and Edinburgh Accies, but had won their last five games on the bounce, including a 26-19 win over fellow challengers Marr the previous week, to enter this showdown brimming with self-belief.

It had the makings of an epic tussle and the two sides didn’t disappoint, throwing everything at each other on an overcast and blustery afternoon in west Edinburgh.

The result was probably a fair reflection of how the game played out, but it could very easily have gone the other way, and the visitors absolutely deserved the two bonus-points they took back down the road to Hawick. Questions had been asked about whether the Borderers could recreate their Mansfield form on the road in order to become serious contenders to finish top of the table, and this performance delivered an emphatic yes to that query.

However, the Chieftains demonstrated that they are top dogs in the Premiership for good reason, with a performance that showed they are tough, well-drilled and full of self-belief.

It was club rugby at its best, and a well-timed reminder of just how entertaining, important and under-rated this tier of the game is.


 GAME 11: 13th November – Boy’s East Schools Conference A, U18 1st XV –

Merchiston Castle School 24 Dollar Academy 24

Nominated by: Alan Lorimer, rugby journalist and TOL stalwart

Amongst a number of stand-out under-18 matches this season, the 24-24 draw between Merchiston Castle Schools and Dollar Academy at Colinton ticks most boxes.

Dollar’ head coach Don Caskie labelled the game : “A very good advert for schools conference rugby” adding: “There was great attacking intent from both sides and strong defences.”

What made it particularly poignant for Caskie was that his charges appear to have matured at the right time.  He said: “This age group has never come close against Merchiston throughout their time at Dollar. So to close the gap in their final year is particularly pleasing and one they can be rightly proud of, especially as there’s still plenty more to come from these boys.”

Dollar’s motivation was in part due to this year group’s  experience in the 2019 under-16 Cup final at BT Murrayfield when they were taken apart by a Merchiston side that was physically much stronger than their opponents.

Merchiston’s head coach, Roddy Deans, was equally delighted with the game as a shop window for schools rugby. “These were two very well matched teams,  who were fully committed and going for it on both sides of the ball” said Deans, who believes his side can become better. “At times we over-played and didn’t control our red zone how we would like However, fair play to both teams for playing with intent. Our first try was beautifully constructed and an example of what we can do.

Both Caskie and Deans had special praise for the rarely lauded man in the middle: he match referee, Graeme Ormiston. Both coaches agreed Ormiston was outstanding and expressed the view that he has a real feel for the game and allowed the boys to play and is an exciting talent.


GAME 12: 13th November – Autumn International Test Series –

Ireland 29 New Zealand 20

Nominated by Richard Bath, rugby correspondent for The Telegraph

The lack of crowds for the Six Nations created incredibly close games, with every single one of the games between Scotland, Ireland, Wales and France being decided by five points or less, but also made for slightly surreal spectacles. Partly because of that, I’ve restricted my selection to the Autumn internationals played in front of crowds. There were some outstanding games, but Ireland’s win over New Zealand just pips France’s win over the All Blacks the following week. Ireland were immense and dominated New Zealand from beginning to end, bossing every facet of the game to a degree not reflected in the final score. Coming 18 months before the next World Cup, it felt like one of those turning point games we will be referencing for years.


GAME 13: 21st November – Tennent’s Women’s Premiership –

Hillhead Jordanhill 12 Watsonians 21

Nominated by: Iain Hay … again

This recent top of the table clash didn’t disappoint. A fiercely competitive battle featuring lots of things you love to see in a rugby match, which Watsonians rightly took in the end.

There was a powerful No 8’s hat-trick – or number ‘H’ in this case, worn in honour of former teammate Keri Holdsworth – from Watsonian’ captain Alice King, including a good ol’ pick-up from the base of a five-metre scrum and blast try; two opportunistic scrum-half scores from Hill-Jills Inaya Haque, one from short-range, one from 20 metre; and a scarcely believable defensive set from Hills in which they couldn’t get out of their half, but kept Watsonian scoreless for over half an hour. They then had the gall to cross the whitewash themselves on the brink of half-time through Haque to be only two behind.

Coaches Aird Jardine and Freddie Main, of Hill-Jills and Watsonian respectively, may have called for extra line-out practice at next team training sessions, but the frequent turnovers in that area just added to the drama with both teams capable of countering at speed.


GAME 14: 11th December – European Challenge Cup –

Saracens 18 Edinburgh 21

Nominated by: Stuart Bathgate of The Offside Line, The Herald, The Daily Record etc

Scottish sides have always found it tough on their travels to Saracens. Glasgow lost heavily in 2017 and 2019, for example, while Edinburgh lost by 40 points to 7 on their last visit nine years ago.

So when Mike Blair’s side headed for the StoneX Stadium earlier this month, few of us gave them much hope, especially when Saracens proved how seriously they were taking the Challenge Cup by drafting in Maro Itoje at the last minute after the British & Irish Lions lock had cleared a Covid test. But right from the early stages of the game, when WP Nel began to get the better of Mako Vunipola in the scrums, it was clear that this Edinburgh team was well up for the fight.

Blair has insisted that the ideal blend for his team is a combination of physical ferocity and attacking guile, and so it proved here as the visitors more than held their own in the set-piece and steadily found gaps in the home defence. Three penalties and a conversion from Emiliano Boffelli were a crucial contribution, while the two tries highlighted the team’s complementary strengths in attack: the first from Ramiro Moyano came from an artful punt by Charlie Savala; the second from Nel finished off a lineout drive.

Saracens fought hard right to the death and had a late ‘score’ chalked off for obstruction, but there was no denying that Edinburgh deserved their victory. Nel, a man of few but invariably well-chosen words, summed up the afternoon perfectly: “F***ing hell, boys, it was brilliant.”


GAME 15: 18th December – European Champions Cup –

Glasgow Warriors 22 Exeter Chiefs 7

Nominated by: Alasdair Reid, rugby correspondent for The Times

Shadowy figures in the Stygian gloom. Ghostly apparitions emerging through the fog. Shouts and cries as the two tribes went into battle. A ropey scene from Game of Thrones? No, Glasgow Warriors against Exeter Chiefs playing out their Heineken Champions Cup pool game at Scotstoun last Saturday.

Exeter, the 2019-20 winners were hot favourites.  Glasgow’s European record is far short of stellar, and even after a battling performance in defeat to La Rochelle the previous weekend nobody really fancied their chances against the lads from Devon. Well, nobody apart from Warriors coach Danny Wilson and the 23 players he picked.

It would be pushing it to call the game a spectacle, for the simple reason that it was near-impossible to see what was happening. Spectators on one side of the ground relied on sound effects to get a vague idea of what might be happening on the other, while those in the end stands could see nothing beyond the 10m line.

But even in those conditions it was clear that Glasgow were fired up for the contest. They forced error after error from Exeter and the longer the game went on the more dominant their forwards became. By the end they were crushing the Chiefs’ pack at every scrum.

This, at last, was the performance Wilson had been looking for. With five penalties by Ross Thompson, a try by Johnny Matthews and a Duncan Weir conversion, Glasgow clinched their 22-7 win. Afterwards, Wilson called it the “proudest moment” of his 18 months in charge of the Warriors.

With due cause. His overseas signings – Sione Tuipulotu, Josh McKay and Jack Dempsey – were all immense, while locally-grown lads Thompson and Rory Darge rewarded Wilson’s faith in their abilities and readiness with performances that showed maturity far beyond their years.

Yes, it was a one-off. But it showed what Wilson’s Glasgow could do when he had the team he wanted and the time to prepare them properly. This, at long last, was the performance he and the fans had been waiting for all year. Glasgow had finally come out of the mist.


Six Nations at Murrayfield Stadium – Signed Print

7 Comments

  1. Currie Chieftains v Hawick demonstrated that club rugby still has a place in this modern rugby world. It was an epic battle between two quality sides playing for the badge. Total commitment from everyone on the park in difficult conditions produced a riveting game with Chieftains holding out for a win with backs to the wall.
    The noise at Malleny at the end of the game demonstrated amply how much the result meant to the home team.

  2. Only thing pulling me away from Twickenham is we should have scored far more with our dominance. Can’t see past the women beating Ireland with a place at the rwc at stake. It looked gone then a fantastic play and a nerve shredder of a conversion had me roaring when the flags went up. Tremendous drama and great bravery in adversity.

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  3. For me the victory over France in Paris partly because of the anticipation that France would win but by how many points. Tempted by the Twickenham victory but it did not compare to the 38 all draw two years earlier. Honourable mentions for the women’s victory over Ireland and Edinburgh’s win recently against Saracens.

  4. If I had been asked – I’d have gone for the Stirling county v Ayrshire Bulls, Super6 game. It had everything.

  5. England v Scotland. The history, Cam Redpath and the tremendous spirit shown to beat the Auld Enemy.
    However mention has to be made for the Wales game – controversy, richly entertaining right to the last play rarely have I been so deflated.

  6. Got to be the Twickenham win for me. It felt like a greatest hits of righting all our most common mistakes. Maitland is always reliable but this was his best performance in a Scotland shirt – which also wiped out any excuses about Sarries players being undercooked. Redpath looked like the missing link in GT’s plans – can’t wait to see him back in dark blue.

    Strong case made for the Lions third test though. Well done to author for spinning that one!

    If we can include wheelchair rugby, the GB Paralympic final was far and away the sporting highlight of this summer for me.

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