Scotland v Australia: late heartache for hosts in Autumn Series opener

Blair Kinghorn's late penalty to win it floats to the left of the posts

Ollie Smith scores Scotland's opening try against Australia. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Ollie Smith scores Scotland's opening try against Australia. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Scotland 15

Australia 16

DAVID BARNES @ Murrayfield

NOT so much one that got away, as one that never really got going – for either team. In the end, a ghost from 2015 came back to haunt the hapless hosts, with Bernard Foley – who still stalks Scottish nightmares after kicking that controversial goal which knocked Vern Cotter’s side out of the 2015 World Cup – scoring 11 of his team’s 16 points, including the 70th minute penalty which ultimately proved to be the difference between the two teams.

There was still time after that for the hosts to snatch a win they just about deserved, and a penalty conceded by replacement Australian prop Taniela Tupou for playing the ball on the deck handed Blair Kinghorn the chance to shoot for glory, but he dragged his 35-yard effort to the left of the posts.

Kinghorn was under the microscope in this match given that he appears to have been anointed as the heir to the Scotland No 10 jersey with Finn Russell in exile, and he generally handled the pressure well, as expected of a famously laidback individual. But when Scotland really needed to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, there was a lack of venom.

With five minutes to go, Scotland were awarded a penalty midway between their 22 and their 10-metre line, and he sent a nice, safe kick into touch on halfway. Russell would almost certainly have gone for bust – and may well have missed touch – and that is perhaps the crux of the debate about who should lead the line (and what kind of team Scotland should be). Then, from the line-out, the ball shuffled across the park and back again with no real punch.


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Australia dominated the opening exchanges and went close to opening the scoring on a couple of occasions. Their biggest chance came when live-wire scrum-half Tate McDermott broke clear from the base of a ruck, but Scottish full-back Ollie Smith managed to get in the way of the Australian as he chased his kick ahead.

A combination of inaccuracy from the visitors in the strike zone and some resolute defence from the hosts meant the scoreboard remained stationary until 10th minute, and when the deadlock was broken it was the home side who pushed ahead, with Kinghorn wrapping round to the short side and releasing Smith with a well-timed pass.

The full-back still had plenty to do, but he made it look easy as he jinked back inside one Australian and then another before diving over for a fine try.

It was an ideal way for the 22-year-old to mark his home debut, but Kinghorn missed the conversion and Australia were able to pull it back to a two-point game straight from the restart when Pierre Schoeman was penalised for obstruction, with Foley stepping forward to exact the levy.

Scotland had an opportunity of three easy points from a ruck penalty right in front of the posts, but they opted to go to the corner instead, and they really should have got the try they were chasing when Kinghorn’s long looping pass found Sione Tuipulotu unmarked on the right – but the centre, who was playing against the country where he was born and raised, somehow fumbled what should have been an easy take with the line this mercy.

Scotland kept their foot on the accelerator and replacement second-row Glen Young was held up over the line, before Australia finished the half on the front foot to take a single-point lead into half-time after Foley kicked the points when Dave Cherry was penalised for not rolling away from a tackle in front of the posts.

 

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Scotland responded in the best possible way to falling behind with an excellent breakaway try at the start of the second half. A thunderous tackle by Mark Bennett on the halfway line dislodged the ball and Kinghorn hacked forward twice before  gathering himself and diving over.

The stand-off  added the conversion for good measure and then sent an inch-perfect penalty 50 metres downfield into the corner, but Scotland failed to control the line-out and the chance of a third try was lost.

Australia’s discipline was beginning to unravel, however, and after three more penalties in the next five minutes, the Scots opted to go for the posts with Kinghorn kicking the points.

A bulldozing run by Duhan van der Merwe up the left touchline left three Australians strewn on the ground before finally being brought down 10-yards short, but that promising field position turned into a penalty and yellow-card against Scotland when Young was sin-binned for a reckless clear-out. The big second-row’s upper arm made contact with McDermott’s head as he cleared out the ruck, but referee Luke Pearce ruled that because he made contact with the bicep rather than the shoulder there was a lower level of danger and therefor a yellow rather than a red card was sufficient punishment.

Australia quickly took advantage of that extra man and claimed their first try of the contest through James Slipper with 20 minutes to play. Then an offside penalty conceded by Hamish Watson allowed Foley to fire home the  winning points with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Scotland rallied but couldn’t wrestle this much needed victory – only their fourth in 10 matches this calendar year – away from the Wallabies’ grasp.

 

Teams –

Scotland: O Smith; D Graham (D Hoyland 74), M Bennett, S Tuipulotu, D van der Merwe; B Kinghorn, A Price (G Horne 66); P Schoeman (J Bhatti 59), D Cherry (G Turner 59), Z Fagerson (W Nel 59), S Skinner (G Young 24), G Gilchrist, J Ritchie, H Watson, M Fagerson (J Dempsey 59).

Australia: T Banks (J Campbell 66); A Kellaway, L Ikitau, H Paisami, T Wright; B Foley (N Lolesio 74), T McDermott ( N White 56); J Slipper (M Gibbon 66), D Porecki (F Fainga’a 57), A Alaalatoa (T Tupou, 41), N Frost, C Neville (N Hanigen 62), J Holloway, M Hooper, R Valetini (P Samu 74).

 

Scorers –

Scotland: Tries: Smith, Kinghorn; Con: Kinghorn; Pen: Kinghorn.

Australia: Try: Slipper; Con: Foley; Pen: Foley 3.

Scoring sequence (Scotland first): 5-0; 5-3; 5-6 (h-t) 10-6; 12-6; 15-6; 15-11; 15-13; 15-16.

 

Yellow cards –

Scotland: Young (55mins)


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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

51 Comments

  1. Heartache. … cmon the whole performance from Townsends team was CRAP ….
    There somebody has to tell the truth..
    the best form players have to be starting matches …
    This Coach doesn’t do that… Verne did
    It’s not going to improve if at all with this guy in charge..
    He must have something on the SRU that we don’t Know about cos in any other job if you’re a failure your jettisoned

  2. At one point a couple of years ago i believed we were on the brink of our best team in 20 plus years but know i believe Townsend has no plan for the team and therefore the team has no idea what they are trying to do. He is scrambling around in the dark and its dragging us down.
    Whoever or whatever is at fault for the obvious player coach divide is now irrelevant. Its time for a new coaching team with its own ideas. Robertson from NZ ? 🤷‍♂️

  3. Im not going to rehash much of which has already been posted below. But will simply highlight one glaring coaching failure. How do Townsend and co think Scotland can possibly compete at the top end of Tier 1 test rugby without a proven reliable test level kicker? No other serious international coach would even entertain this. Scotland rarely win big against any Tier 1 teams, it is often fine margins or close matches. Without a proven high % goal kicker, Scotland’s win % will logically decline as we lose out in more and more tight matches. For that reason alone, if the Kinghorn fly half project continues unabated, Scotland will be simply lose more and more games.

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    • 100% agree with all you say Addie. In addition Scotland must be the only top rugby nation that consistently spurn 3 easy points in close games, kicks for touch consistently then get turned over. The stats are horrendous and this tells me that the coaching staff are amateur

  4. The atmosphere of the crowd at Murrayfield spoke volumes .- another lacklustre performance silencing the crowd to a handful of ‘highs’ – Does it get any worse ? Well for those of us sitting at home you have to listen to the post match interview with the head coach ! If you aren’t already depressed you are guaranteed to be scrambling for the remote
    Enough said – it’s time for change

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  5. Just a thought… An Edinburgh/Glasgow select XV versus Australia, basically two small cities against a continent!

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    • Well done Mike Blair and Edinburgh. It’s just sensible pragmatic rugby really. Edinburgh played properly, played effective rugby.
      Dean really superb,( Blair said 12 plays a pivotal role…..Scotland play a 13 at 12). Savala a proper 10.
      Crosbie a true captains performance.
      Patrick Harrison was superb when he came on, 100% throwing (I think) excellent in the loose.
      Muncaster a good speaker and played really well too.
      Goosen seminal tackle in 2nd half

    • You need a geography lesson – two cities versus four. Most of Oz is devoid of humanity or anything living.

  6. Attacking play – what we saw of it – was really good but I’m worried about consistency and direction.

    The Scotland team today is a continuation of what we saw over Summer and fundamentally different from those Townsend had been picking right up until last season’s 6N. Not all the changes are enforced.

    It’s a much more attacking team.

    What is the direction of travel? Or are we just gonna lurch around

  7. It would be interesting for the Offside Line to run a poll on who the starting 10 should be when everyone is available and whether Townsend should be Head Coach. I suspect the flat atmosphere at Murrayfield is, at least in part, due to Townsend having lost the dressing room and fans. Everyone is paying for his inadequacies.

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  8. A bit disappointed to see most of the comments focus on Russel/Kinghorn and the missed penalty at the end. I agree that a better kicker is needed in the side but there are so many other aspects of the Scotland performance that merit comment and could have won us the game.

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  9. One of the main issues is Townsend seems to believe that he has a guru like understanding of rugby that is way above the ken of all others and he can see things in players and combinations that all other mere mortals can’t appreciate. The reality is that none of them ever work but he then refuses to accept it and doubles down! He inherited Glasgow from Lineen, Scotland from Cotter and it isn’t any coincidence that both these teams only performed well and consistently when Dan McFarland was front and centre in the coaching! Compare the progress of Ulster to Scotland over the last 3 years or so! Townsend must go but won’t and we’re doomed to at best 1 win in the Autumn Tests, 5th in the next 6 Nations and nowhere near getting out the group at the World Cup!

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  10. Kinghorn’s try said absolutely everything about him as a player. He is a good back 3 player keeping a proper fly half out of a job. Ollie Smith seemed to have a decent game, no major screw ups and got involved. Darrcy and Duhan might as well have stayed in the dressing room for all they managed to get the ball. Overall none of the teams expecting to play Scotland or Australia will be too worried based on that perrformance.

    Is Kinghorn playing 10 at edinburgh because Mike Blair think’s it’s a good idea or Gregor thinks its a good idea? Have the team learrned lessons? Has Townsend? It doesn’t seem like it. Same mistakes every time they take the field. Oh the irony that our previous outing against Australia was one by a penalty kicked by Finn Russell. Here’s a lesson to learn gregor, put a guy on the field who can kick a penaltie to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

    Yes I’m well aware that finn couldnt play, we could have put Ross Thompson on though who at least can kick the bloody ball and is an actual fly half.

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  11. I can’t see Townsend making any squad change, he will fall back on a returning Hastings or somebody will remind him George Horne is kicking well at Glasgow, unless belligerence selects Kinghorn as kicker.
    So we can look forward to facing the Banana skin that could easily be Fiji, then NZ and a better Argentine side that we should have beaten on tour without Russell. That isn’t being defeatist it could, some say should be 2 wins from 3 but honestly Australia were not all that good, the didn’t win, we lost, if you get my drift.
    All this is a disruption and leaving Russell out of the squad apart from appearing to be vindictive [he needs to improve his form!!!] it’s painted Townsend into a corner that with his Dodson style of ‘my way or the highway’ method of man management is handicapping one of the best period of player strength for years, certainly arguably of the professional era.
    Another aspect from a contributor [sorry I can’t recall who] recently made the very pertinent point that Russell could well say ‘off you go’ he has a Child on the way, it isn’t in some respects a time to be absent from the team as the word is Beauden Barrett is being linked to ‘Racing’ and then animosity is a two-way thing with the previous two thoughts perhaps Finn will say to GT Foxtrot!
    This has to end now, I mean Russell offered a place back in the squad, [if that is allowable?] and we head to Paris and the World cup with at least a slim chance of qualification from the group.

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  12. A match that Scotland could have won but didn’t deserve to. Too many errors, poor discipline, squandering of good attacking position, and poor use of the bench let them down once again. I feared that Kinghorn would leave too many points out there and hoped that Horne and/or Thomson would get on and take over the kicking duties. Kinghorn played well for much of the match, but no way should he be taking the kicks as his success rate is nowhere near good enough. His kicking wasn’t the only reason why Scotland lost but it certainly didn’t help. I’m assuming that Russell (9 successful kicks yesterday) won’t be back this Autumn, but for God’s sake let’s get Hastings on at 10 next week. Also, get the ball to Graham and VDM!

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  13. Ah the life of a Scottish rugby supporter it’s like living in the multi levels of purgatory. Ok that’s a bit heavy. Finn or Blair?? Who’s it going to be?? Finn looks good playing for Racing. But it’s Racing so everyone is good. Blair has looked pretty useful for Edinburgh. It’s a tough one. Finn is the close quarted magician all flicks tricks and no look passes. Blair is more find a soft shoulder and burst through it causing mayhem in the back field fantastic!! However I think it’s more important to focus upon the main issues presented to us. Scotland are no world beaters who ever wears the No. 10 shirt. And for me that’s a coaching issue rather than a player management one. Same old mistakes,silly no brain penalties,silly decisions. When will this on field madness end. Arrrrgghhh. I’m going back in my cave to hibernate. Wake me up for the next torture session.

  14. Ah the life of a Scottish rugby supporter it’s like living in the multi levels of purgatory. Ok that’s a bit heavy. Finn or Blair?? Who’s it going to be?? Finn looks good playing for Racing. But it’s Racing so everyone is good. Blair has looked pretty useful for Edinburgh. It’s a tough one. Finn is the close quarted magician all flicks tricks and no look passes. Blair is more find a soft shoulder and burst through it causing mayhem in the back field fantastic!! However I think it’s more important to focus upon the main issues presented to us. Scotland are no world beaters who ever wears the No. 10 shirt. And for me that’s a coaching issue rather than a player management one. Same old mistakes,silly no brain penalties,silly decisions. When will this on field madness end. Arrrrgghhh. I’m going back in my cave to hibernate. Wake me up for the next torture session.

  15. Isnt rugby quite a simple game Edinburghs (comparative) success but at least progress is down to getting boys in their natural position doing natural things – Crosbie, Mata, Haining, Schoeman – big aggressive physical laddies gaining front foot ball (Scotlands back row not equipped to do that role yesterday). A proper 12 (changing the point of attack If necessary – Scotland playing a 13 at 12), all this leading to space created for the flair guys Bennett BK Graham. A proper kicker. Simples……Yesterday we shot ourselves in the foot in terms of squad/team selection.
    GTs petty bone headedness re Russell beggars belief.
    Dempsey Crosbie Ritchie is the way forward (Darge superb but unavailable)
    It was faintly embarrassing re BKs kicking, everyone knows he can’t kick (he’s about 5th choice at Edinburgh)

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  16. Isnt rugby quite a simple game Edinburghs (comparative) success but at least progress is down to getting boys in their natural position doing natural things – Crosbie, Mata, Haining, Schoeman – big aggressive physical laddies gaining front foot ball (Scotlands back row not equipped to do that role yesterday). A proper 12 (changing the point of attack If necessary – Scotland playing a 13 at 12), all this leading to space created for the flair guys Bennett BK Graham. A proper kicker. Simples……Yesterday we shot ourselves in the foot in terms of squad/team selection.
    GTs petty bone headedness re Russell beggars belief.
    Dempsey Crosbie Ritchie is the way forward (Darge superb but unavailable)
    It was faintly embarrassing re BKs kicking, everyone knows he can’t kick (he’s about 5th choice at Edinburgh)

  17. We’re past the stage where bland, media trained soundbites – ‘take the positives’ , ‘ learn from our mistakes’ mean anything any more.
    After all the ‘ looking at different combinations’ he must surely know what his best starting XV and bench is – and if Russell is not part of that, come out and say so.
    We have 8 games plus friendlies before the RWC – time for a settled XV without all the background noise and distractions of Russell etc.

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    • Ain’t that the truth! Townsend’s post-game mewlings are becoming tired, dull and, most importantly, meaningless. I pray for a change of coach prior to the RWC.

  18. Another game we should have won, but we lost due to poor game management. Horne should have attempted the penalty kick, he has been a great kicker for Glasgow this year and that was an easy kick. The question was did the Edinburgh based captain who’s ultimate on field responsibility it is know who his best kicker is and did he give Horne even a chance or thought for the kick. Why was Horne only brought on at 67 minutes, when I thought Price had a poor game.

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    • The ‘Default’ answer to the question you pose is probably that Townsend gave a clear instruction, give the kicks to Kinghorn or face the consequences, well perhaps not but could it be that a great deal of on field decisions have the ‘spectre’ of what GT wants behind them. That is the problem with Townsend’s apparent intransigence, if anyone else makes a mistake of their own making that can be diverted back to it being Townsend’s fault in the public’s mind, that’s the route it takes.

  19. You have to question what Townsend believes his remit as Scotland coach actually is. Given his selections and tactics(no laughing in the background) I often feel that winning is not something that is critical to him. It’s almost like he is conducting a constant series of experiments to determine what the outcomes will be.. Unfortunately emotionally the fans are the ones who have to suffer when these experiments consistently fall short. I mean WHO goes into a tier 1 international without a proven kicker. Ironically this is where it all started with the dilemma over Laidlaw. Now he has gone in the opposite direction. Please somebody end this torture

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  20. I actually thought Kinghorn was one of Scotland’s better players yesterday in what was a generally pretty poor performance by the team. And given both Hastings and Russell were unavailable due to the match being outside the test window, debate about them for yesterday’s game is a bit of an irrelevance.

    Kinghorn is a bit of a Pete Horne type player for me. He’s a good all round player but blighted by the fact that in any position he plays there’s someone better. He’s not our best fullback. He’s not our best winger. He’s not our best 10. Townsend maybe likes him because he sees a bit of himself in that as he roamed between 10 and centre in his playing days.
    He certainly likes versatile backs.

    Also, the Glen Young incident. Definitely a nailed on yellow, but if world rugby are serious about improving safety can we consistently penalise folk diving into rucks and not binding please? It’s been in the laws forever but never been reffed properly at high level rugby.
    Maybe if the ref and blown up earlier for Foley’s high hit on Duhan where they banged heads or McDermott going over the ball then raking back on the jackal then the dangerous situation wouldn’t have developed?

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  21. Let’s not beat about the bush ! Finn Russell scored 18 pts last week and 23 yesterday – Is this a player lacking form and consistency for his club ? Whilst I acknowledge he wasn’t available for the Australia fixture his omission from the squad appeared to be the MAIN talking point before during and after the match. What is certain – this debacle is not going to mysteriously disappear – Perhaps it’s time to focus on the performance strategy and selection criteria of the head coach.

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  22. Others have said it, but it can’t be said enough. A proficient penalty-taker would have slotted that match-winning 35-yard effort – which is no distance by today’s standards. We often talk about fine margins, but here is a clear demonstration of the difference between success and failure. It is not the boy’s fault – he plays well enough otherwise and does what he’s asked to do. But nothing changes the fact that he is not a test-standard goal-kicker. We know it, he knows it and his coach at Edinburgh knows it – which is why Boffelli takes them. The sad thing about Townsend is that he never seems to learn from his mistakes, which is why we are where we are and not somewhere considerably better. If we go into the Six Nations without the services of Russell and Hastings, then there is only one person to blame. Sadly it appears he is untouchable. What other top tier nation would tolerate it?

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  23. It’s difficult to know where to start. To be reasonable in some respects you can’t blame Townsend or the Coaches for the 14 odd penalties offered up: from an attacking position in the Australian half within spitting distance of the line then a couple of penalties [somebody else can make up their mind if they were soft or not] and we are in our 22.
    One aspect you can lay at Townsend’s door is going into an International fixture without a dependable kicker, I’m sorry for Kinghorn he didn’t do a lot wrong but in terms of the standard expected at that level, that last miss to take the game was a ‘Sitter’ there’s no other way to describe it, and why they turned down 3 points in a very kickable position.
    The question is what is Townsend going to do now, I’ve a feeling Hastings is a better kicker, even perhaps George Horne, or does he call Russell into the fold, or continue with his original squad, I can’t see GT changing his mind before the 6N.
    My opinion for what it is worth I think he has show a very good reason not to select Russell before the end of the Autumn Internationals especially as he kicked 18 points last week and today against Brive he converted 4 tries and kicked 5 penalties for 23 points. Even if he wasn’t as good as Kinghorn or Hastings or Thomson, how can you ignore those kicking statistics?
    I don’t think it’s unkind to say Tuipulotu should have held on to Kinghorn’s pass and the pressure on the Australian line really should have resulted in additional scores. Kinghorn showed good speed and will not often get a bounce of the ball as good as that in a hurry, Darcy Graham and DVdM didn’t really get much of a chance, Ollie Smith did well to recover from a shaky couple of minutes at the beginning and scored a good try.
    However as a last thought, it wasn’t as if Australia were that good.

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  24. It is strange, when GT needs results more than anything that he persists with his strange decisions..?

    Simply folly starting an international without a top class kicker..

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  25. Talk about goal-kickers winning matches. Racing beat Brive this evening by 5 points and Russell kicked 5 penalties and 4 conversions!

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    • In that case, let’s bring back Greg Laidlaw. He would as much to the team as Russell is lazy and arrogant. He givesthe impression of trying when HE can be bothered. He wouldn’t have got anywhere near the try that Kinghorn scored

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      • It’s a well known fact that all French Top 14 clubs are desperate to half a lazy and by implication slow Fly Half, and Russell scored a very similar try from well inside his own half, it’s too early in the morning to remember the game but he fly hacked the ball outpaced everybody and showed tremendous skill. As much as many of us have an agenda with Townsend leaving Russell out, it appears as if you are as myopic to Russell’s skills as Townsend. Sorry but if you are going to make a critical point make it one that can be substantiated.

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    • I watched the Racing game before Scotland, Finn also had a lovely off load for one of Racing’s tries, not sure how he is being cast aside for being out of form , when Thompson who will never be an international 10 to me , has 20 mins game time.

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      • Fair point George but Russell apparently is not being resigned by Racing and his laziness in the England game last year(I think) were well documented when his non existent kick chase caused a gap in the defensive line that England exploited.

        If I’m guilty of anything, it’s defending Kinghorn. He hasn’t chosen to be in this position and, until the final kick, he’d had a good game. Serious question but when did Russell last have a game for Scotland when ne was as influential as he can be for Racing?

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  26. Kinghorn is a pawn in Gregor’s game and in the process he is unfairly destroying him. He can’t kick to International standards, what’s worse is he knows it, which increases the pressure. Horne has kicked really well for Glasgow not having him kick was coaching bloody mindedness. Time for Gregor to admit his mistakes and stop crucifying Kinghorn. Better still time for Gregor to go

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    • . The atmosphere of the crowd at Murrayfield spoke volumes .- another lacklustre performance silencing the crowd to a handful of ‘highs’ – Does it get any worse ? Well for those of us sitting at home you have to listen to the post match interview with the head coach ! If you aren’t already depressed you are guaranteed to be scrambling for the remote – i
      Enough said – it’s time for change

  27. When Ireland get in those positions on the field there’s an inevitability about them scoring. We are not clinical, ruthless or consistent.

    It’s been at least two seasons of every other Scotland match report saying ‘good in patches, could have won, too many unforced errors, too many penalties.’

    It’s painfully predictable.

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    • It gives me no pleasure to say this, but we are light years behind Ireland. Firstly, I question Townsend’s commitment to winning: amateur coaches know that you don’t go into a match without a reliable kicker – one with a mid-eighties percentage, at least. Secondly, good coaches instruct their captains to collect points in every venture into the opposition red zone! Three, five or seven, but get points! We eschewed opportunities to score easy points via penalties pretty much in front of the sticks.
      Cotter inherited a team that was unstructured and he brought some structure to Scotland, however it’s gone out the window under Townsend.

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    • It gives me no pleasure to say this, but we are light years behind Ireland. Firstly, I question Townsend’s commitment to winning: amateur coaches know that you don’t go into a match without a reliable kicker – one with a mid-eighties percentage, at least. Secondly, good coaches instruct their captains to collect points in every venture into the opposition’s red zone! Three, five or seven, but get points! We eschewed opportunities to score easy points via penalties pretty much in front of the sticks.
      Cotter inherited an unstructured team and he brought some structure to Scotland, however it’s gone out the window.

  28. Two poor teams lead to an uninspiring contest.our performance more important than the result although one unsurprisingly led to the other. Positives were the defence and scrum. Negatives were the continuing stupid penalties, malfunctioning line out, lack of points from boot, utter lack of creativity( other than try) forwards delivered very little go forward. Worryingly that is almost our first choice pack. Our second rows really are awful.ball rarely went beyond ic.wonder what our tactics were today. Completely indiscernible.

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  29. A strange atmosphere at Murrayfield today – didn’t have the normal buzz about it. Inevitably there will be many comments about Blairs missed kick at the end but thats not where the game was lost. There were many moments in this game which contributed to this defeat in a very tight game.
    – The dropped ball from Tuipulotu with the line at his mercy.
    – The period in 1st half when we were camped on their line but lacked the composure to score – too predictable.
    – The decision not to kick an easy penalty in 1st half at 5-3 and kick to corner. Take the points
    – Lineout maul lacked any momentum and lost a critical 5m line out at start of 2nd half after a great BK kick.
    – Too many daft penalties and a sequence towards the end leading to their final penalty
    So we could have easily won if a few of those had gone differently.
    Back to BK – he played fairly well and few stand offs would have got that try. I have supported his ability but I cant argue that he is not not a top penalty kicker and at international level you need a top kicker. Some teams have kickers that can knock one in from the touchline or halfway – BK won’t do that for you. At Edinburgh, Boffelli kicks and so he’s not even a regular club kicker. If he plays you need another kicker in the side. So is it Hastings next week – he kicks well and also nails the odd drop goal.

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    • The point about his try is that he wasn’t playing as a 10 at that point. That is what he is good at; instinctive, reactive broken field rugby.

      I fear the persistence in playing him at 10 is ultimately going to wreck his career. It is not fair on him, or us as paying fans for that matter.

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      • where was he playing – i thought he was at stand off the whole game. He was certainly in the midfield when he hacked the ball on so he certainly wasn’t on the wing or at full back. My point was that he has more pace than any of the stand-offs around.

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  30. Two poor teams, Scotland wingers never used, never got over the gain line much, since John DL was parachuted in as linout coach from Melrose to the national team the line out has been shambolic, backs didn’t seem to get going. Only positive was the defence, keep that coach and fire the rest. Expect Fiji to win, will certainly run us close.

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  31. Why didn’t he allow George H to take that final kick? Sorry but the tactics are all b*ll*cks. If we’re going for attacking rugby and form players (apparently) then why not start with Horne at 9 – at least gives kicking options. Young had a minor nightmare in the 2nd row too (and I’m aware that the 2nd row options were not great) but that wasn’t a great success for the lad. A story of missed chances – no way we should have lost that one.

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    • Definitely not youngs fault fine lines refs call, poor decisions refusel to go for the simple three points penalty then regain possession my opinion stupid. Kinghorn experiment keep dreaming Townsend .

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  32. Until Ross Thompson become international we need finn Russell, Kinghorn is not for us neither is Townsend

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  33. You just don’t go into a game without a 90% kicker and BK is 70%.

    Having said that he made 3 tries so we should have walked it, just two guys blew the chances.

    So def not BKs fault, he’s shaping up to be a decent 10 and probably an ideal sub assuming we go with Hastings at 10. Hastings seemed to have a very good game with Gloucester, but we’ll see

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  34. We based some our tactics around not having a reliable kicker even when the kick to the corner and lineout drive wasn’t working. Very few other international teams would give up easy 3 points in a test match. Although not a fan of him at 10 I thought Blair Kinghorn had a really decent game and shouldn’t take the rap for this one. He is a poor kicker by international standards and we had better options on the field. I wonder why no one else was allowed to step up? Team orders to allow GT to prove he is right to exclude Finn at any cost?

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