Scotland v Canada: Five takeaways from Gregor Townsend’s team announcement

Jamie Dobie on the wing, Arron Reed's big week and Nathan McBeth's late arrival

Gregor Townsend. Image: © Craig Watson -
Gregor Townsend. Image: © Craig Watson -

1. Jamie Dobie is more than a make-do winger – but scrum-half is still his position

Gregor Townsend said:

“It [selecting him in the No 14 jersey]  is partly to manage the squad over the first two games. We did have a couple of days’ training last week, but all the Glasgow starters from the final weren’t involved.

“We’re also increasingly impressed with Jamie the more he plays on the wing. There are parts to his game which really thrive in that position. His defence, his speed and his high-ball ability.

“What he’s done really well is come in and be a passer. There have been a couple of tries that Glasgow have scored where Jamie has been the short-side/blind-side winger and put that key pass in.

“We do believe scrum-half is his best position, but playing on the wing can help him play more games at times and also help his running game and his support lines when he goes to nine. He’ll get an opportunity to play nine this weekend and also later on in the tour.”

Canada v Scotland: 10 uncapped players in match-day squad for tour opener

Founders of Scottish CBD company see potential for products to be used in rugby

Women’s 6N Summer Series: Scotland U20 name team for Italy opener

2. Wild horses and weddings wouldn’t get in the way of Arron Reed winning his first cap

GT said:

“We did ask him if he needed to miss Wednesday’s session last week, and he said he was good. He had a great wedding day [on Saturday] and now he’s getting his first cap.

“Him and Sione [Tuipulotu] have had some of the best weeks. Sione became a father, won the URC and then got engaged, all in the space of about 10 days, and Arron is doing something similar with getting married and winning his first cap.

“It was great to get to know Reedy during the six Nations – a real bubbly character. He’s got some super-strengths of footwork and speed, so we just want to see him get on the ball as much as possible this weekend.”

3. Better late than never for Nathan McBeth – after some visa complications

GT said:

“He’s just arrived today. The good thing with Nathan is he trained last week. Out of the four sessions he was here for two. He played last weekend [in the URC Final] and played really well. His game has gone to another level with his set-piece and his aggression outside of the set-piece. We see him adapting to his role at the weekend. These things challenge us, whether a little visa issue or flights delayed, different training venues we have here. It’s great we are able to adapt to a change in circumstances – that’s what happens in an 80 minutes. We’re sure Nathan will be up to speed quite soon.”

4. Scotland are not favourites against Canada … honest!

GT said:

“Maybe in the past we’ve not always delivered our best games when we’re favourites, although at the World Cup we did that really well against Tonga and Romania. The players’ focus on what it takes to win – not just win, but deliver your best game – was really on point then. And it needs to be over the next four games.

“So whether we’re actual favourites, who knows? Because it’s a new team and the challenges we have with playing the teams that are out here. But we know that our focus can’t waver from what is working for us and continue to do that, or finding a way to make the game work if the opposition are repelling us in any way.

“We know it’s not going to be perfect at the weekend. It’s a new team, we’re playing different opposition, and the connections, the cohesion, might not be there in the beginning. But that’s part of the process too – working [out] what we need to do throughout the game. It helps us win, it helps us put pressure on the opposition. It’s an exciting prospect for us as a team – we’ve got to be sharp with our learning and our communication on the back of that special day for a lot of our players.”



5. Ross McCann was the right man, in the right place, at the right time

GT said:

“We hadn’t replaced Darcy Graham in the squad. We thought he would potentially make the tour and I was chatting to him last week and he’s probably ready to go now but we just felt that after being out for a period, coming back straight into playing Test match rugby was a risk we didn’t want to take with him.

“We had an eye on GB Sevens and we were hoping they would qualify for the Olympics, [but it wasn’t to be] and we’d been really impressed with Ross early on in the season with Edinburgh, he played down at the Dragons and trained with us in the Six Nations and we’ve seen him play for the sevens.

“The transfer between Sevens and 15s is maybe the easiest at wing compared to other positions. We want our wingers on ball, taking on opposition one-on-one – that is something Ross does really well.

“It was really just Sunday night making sure Ross was available after the Sevens. We had Lewis Wells, who has been working with Edinburgh and Heriot’s, training with us a couple of days and it was great to see him in our environment. It has been a mixed week for Ross with not qualifying for the Olympics and now winning his first cap but he’s trained well since he’s been with us and he’ll definitely get on at the weekend.”

Founders of Scottish CBD company see potential for products to be used in rugby

About David Barnes 4028 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The 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.


  1. Smooth trousers have gripped the health community by storm, and for valid cause. These pants are designed without stitches, which indicates they deliver a uninterrupted, frictionless fit. This makes them extremely at ease, particularly for vigorous training sessions. The flexible cloth stretches with you, offering assistance without limiting your motion. Seamless leggings also are likely to be more resilient, as there are no joins to deteriorate out over time. They exist in a assortment of hues and patterns, turning them a adaptable addition to your collection. Whether you’re engaging in fitness, lifting barbells, or going for a sprint, seamless pants offer the relaxation and assistance you require to do your optimum. Additionally, they’re fashionable enough to wear out and about. Try them out and understand why they’re a popular choice among fitness fans. Their combination of utility and appearance secures you persist relaxed and look fantastic, no matter the activity.

    [url=]Cute Kids Fitness Clothing[/url]
    [url=]Maximize Your Own Performance with Rhythm Athletic Pants[/url] 75fabae

  2. For goodness sake don’t try to convert Dobie into a winger. Scotland needs him at scrum half, for he is a rare talent and I worry that too much time out of position will benefit neither him nor his country. It’s rough on him that Warr gets the nod instead, veery rough indeed. Commendable that Arron Reed has jilted his missus so soon after his wedding, although as far as his international prospects go I fear he is destined to be the bridesmaid. I’ve seen him often enough playing for Sale and am curious to see what he can muster in the dark blue, even if the opposition is hardly a step up from the English Premiership. As for Scotland not being favourites, of all the Toony guff we’ve heard over the years that one has to be right up there. And as for being ‘on point’ against Tonga and Romania, it counted for nowt when it was followed by humiliation against Ireland. Has he no shame at all?

    • I fully agree, we have enough good wingers without having to use a brilliant scrum half in that position!

    • In answer to your question, he has absolutely no shame, otherwise he would have done the honourable thing after the embarrassment in Japan and resigned. In support of this contention he has further compounded it with slightly less shambolic performances in France but no less humiliating. Yet he is still in charge. Utterly beggars belief.

    • Who’s converting Dobie to a winger? Nobody that I can see.
      Fraser Brown in today’s Scotsman article tells us exactly why he’s been picked to play there.
      I suspect he’ll be moved later in the as the primary scrum half.
      having a couple of scrum half’s who can also do a shift on the wing (Horne as well) might come in quite handy around world cup time when versatility is a big plus

  3. Quite a bit of talk about Dobie on the wing in the previous article.
    Personally I’ve recently come to believe that there was a bit more to Dobie playing on the wing for Glasgow than Franco’s preference for the 6:2 split and I wouldn’t be surprised if Franco’s reasoning is similar to Townsend here.
    I’ll be surprised if that is the general consensus here though.
    I’m looking forward to seeing him start on the wing and I’ll be especially checking what “extra” he can bring to the traditional winger role.
    I seem to recall that Lee jones and Niko didn’t do badly as wingers and I think their 9 backgrounds certainly enhanced their overall contribution to game play.

    • I’m inclined to agree. Smith has consistently brought on Dobie for Canciellerie around the hour mark. And Glasgow have had a series of strong finishes. Dobie has done the job as a winger, but having two scrum halves has, I think, helped to increase the tempo at the end of games.

      I just don’t think Franco would sub a player like Canciellerie so regularly unless there was a plan behind it.

      • exactly. Dobie’s wing debut was needs must due to injuries, but it worked well and from WTF I’ve gone to very relaxed about Dobie on the wing. Franco Smith seems to be a thinker who sees things most of us don’t, and the reasons he brings on Dobie for Cancilliere is twofold. One as you say is a 2nd scrum half to keep the pace up when Horne is maybe tiring, and two because he needs to keep Horne on as goal kicker. I suspect if Glasgow were 30pts up with 10mins to go it would be a straight Dobie for Horne swap. Next season with Hasting there I expect Dobie and Horne to rotate the staring position more – with both trying to keep Afshar out!


Leave a Reply

Please be respectful in your replies. Abusive language is automatically blocked. Your email address will not be published.