Six Nations: Ireland v Scotland report: pride restored in narrow Dublin defeat

Heroic defensive effort secures losing bonus point for visitors as hosts claim back-to-back titles

Elation and agony at full-time of the Ireland versus Scotland Six Nations round five match at the Aviva in Dublin. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
Elation and agony at full-time of the Ireland versus Scotland Six Nations round five match at the Aviva in Dublin. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Ireland 17

Scotland 13

DAVID BARNES @ Aviva Stadium

AFTER  a week of questions about their mental resilience, Scotland finally showed that they can stick to task for something close to 80 minutes with a heroic defensive effort, but they couldn’t hold onto the ball long enough in attack to force a shock first victory at the home of Irish rugby since 1998 (long before it was transformed from Lansdowne Road into the Aviva Stadium).

This was far from a vintage Ireland performance but they got what they needed out of the game and celebrated wildly on the pitch and in the stands as they collected the Six Nations trophy afterwards. Unlike last year, there was no Grand Slam to savour, but back to back titles is nothing to be sniffed at and they will feel they have answered a few of the doubters who have been aiming potshots at them after last week’s surprise loss to England, no matter how ugly the win.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend‘s suitability for the job has been in question this week, but his team have almlost certainly done enough to ensure that he will battle on to the summer tour, when they will play four Tests on consecutive weeks against tier two opposition in the shape of Canada, USA, Chile and Uruguay. And given that will be a developmental expedition, it seems almost certain that the next big test of whether seven years is long enough in the hot seat won’t be until the Autumn.


Six Nations round five: Ireland v Scotland live blog …

U20s 6N: Young Scots shut out as miserable campaign ends with heavy loss to Ireland

Sarah Beaney Cup preview for Sunday 17th March: runners, riders and verdict


The first half was a game of cat and mouse, with both teams flashing their teeth in attack, but also standing strong in defence. It was a nervy, tense affair with neither side managing to build momentum by working through multiple phases, although Scottish flanker Andy Christie did cause panic in the home team’s backfield early on when he charged down a James Lowe clearance  – before the ball bounced harmlessly into touch.

Scotland did, however, draw first blood when Lowe was penalised for crawling along the deck whilst holding the ball, with Finn Russell stepping forward to stroke home the tricky 45-yard penalty.

Ireland struck back immediately by winning back the ball straight from Jack Crowley’s inch-perfect restart, and then pinning the Scots back with a couple of excellent grubbers into the left corner from Crowley then Lowe.

The visitors cracked when hooker George Turner missed jumper Grant Gilchrist at a shortened line-out 10 yards from Scotland’s line, with home hooker Dan Sheehan gathering then powering over, and Crowley firing home the conversion.

Scotland weren’t ready to raise the white flag, and Russell brought it back to a single point game with his second successful penalty awarded against Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier for an offside slap-bang in front of his posts, which is the way it stayed until half time.

 

 

The stats at the break showed that Ireland had dominated possession with 73 carries to Scotland 48, and 434 metres made to the visitors’ 264, but there was only one point separating the teams with the only numbers that really matter … on the scoreboard.

The second half followed a very similar pattern to the first, with Lowe bouncing two tacklers to make good ground up the left, while Aki and skipper Peter O’Mahony also carried hard during the first few minutes after the restart, and Crowley slotted a penalty to make it 10-6.

The hosts kicked a ruck penalty awarded against Zander Fagerson, then thought they had scored their second try when Tadhg Furling bundled over from close range, but the Television Match Official was called in to have a closer look, and the final decision was that the Irish prop had lost control of the ball in the act of scoring.

Scotland spent almost all of the third quarter hemmed back inside their own 22, but their defence stood firm, and they were helped by some Irish inaccuracies at key moments, such as when the ball bounced off Garry Ringrose’s shoulder as he ran onto a flat pass with the line more or less at his mercy.

Scotland had one or two ventures into opposition territory but these were fleeting and far between. At one point, Jack Dempsey made good ground, but was too keen to keep this rare attacking surge flowing and threw a loose offload straight to Irish scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park.

Another costly error was when a loose ball bounced off Gilchrist’s shins and Zander Fagerson thoughtlessly picked it up from an offside position, which allowed Ireland to kick to the corner and unleash another onslaught on the Scottish line.

Replacement centre Cam Redpath did unbelievably well to get an arm between the ball and the grass to stop what looked like a certain Robbie Henshaw try, but Ireland were given another bite at the cherry due to an infringement earlier in the move, with Carley losing patience at the number of penalties Scotland’s brave but increasingly stretched defence were conceding.

Ewan Ashman was the fall guy for his team by being sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes, while Ireland decided to run the penalty from close range, and finally got the score which made the result safe when Andrew Porter muscled over, with Crowley slotting the straight-forward conversion.

It wasn’t quite over yet because Huw Jones showed his class with three minutes to go when he skipped past two defenders then showed the last man a clean pair of heels to score under the posts. Russell popped over the conversion, meaning Scotland emerged from this game with a losing bonus-point – which they deserved for their defensive resilience.

 

Teams –

Ireland: J Larmour (H Byrne 68); C Nash ( G Ringrose 56), R Henshaw, B Aki, J Lowe; J Crowley, J Gibson-Park (C Murray 70); A Porter (C Healy 67), D Sheehan (R Kelleher 51), T Furlong (F Bealham 51), J McCarthy (R Baird 55), T Beirne, P O’Mahony (J Conan 64), J van der Flier, C Doris. 

Scotland: B Kinghorn (K Rowe 66); K Steyn, H Jones, S McDowall (C Redpath 61), D van der Merwe; F Russell, B White ( G Horne, 61); P Schoeman (R Sutherland, 48), G Turner (E Ashman 48), Z Fagerson (J Sebastian 70), G Gilchrist, S Cummings (S Skinner 71), A Christie (G Turner 68), R Darge (M Fagerson, 61), J Dempsey.

Referee: Matthew Carley (England)

 

Scorers –

Ireland: Tries: Sheahan, Porter; Con: Crowley 2; Pen: Crowley.

Scotland: Tries: Jones; Con: Russell; Pen: Russell 2.

Scoring sequence (Ireland first): 0-3; 5-3; 7-3; 7-6 (h-t) 10-6; 15-6; 17-6; 17-11; 17-13.

 

Yellow cards –

Ireland: Byrne (75 mins)

Scotland: Ashman (63 mins)

 

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U20s 6N: Young Scots shut out as miserable campaign ends with heavy loss to Ireland

About David Barnes 3908 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.

61 Comments

  1. Despite our best defensive performance in Dublin our ‘nearly men’ tag persists with the same basic errors at key moments costing us consistency and wins.Indeed though the most talented players we’ve had since 1999 time is now not on our side. With each 6N side gaving improved,apart from Wales, we have gone backwards and the stats are ugly versus ’23 campaign.

    Otherwise our kicking from hand rarely troubles opposition and our kick chase puts no pressure on the likely catcher. Only one good VDM grab on Saturday then his mishandled it. We need a few Tommy Seymours…okay Darcy Graham will hopefully be back next season.

  2. Awesome defensive performance for 75 of the 80 minutes but amateur mistakes still blighting the team. Ability to perform under pressure & fatigue is an issue for certain players & if they can’t up their game & irradiate these continual errors then they shouldn’t be getting picked. If players knew error count was a criteria for selection then they would have more focus on this. This certainly happens with top teams in other sports.

  3. Who was designated to cover the overthrow at Irish first score ? Surely this must have been covered during pre match discussions!!

  4. Really?? Pride restored…? After another loss? Mistakes unacceptable at this level were made left right and centre, and you know what? No-one really seemd too bothered….Sorry, going back to watching real rugby pitch side at club level now….at least they try; and heavens! they get annoyed when something doesn’t work!! God forbid anyone gets angry ……..

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    • You seriously think the players didn’t try yesterday? They might have made mistakes but to say they didn’t try and didn’t look bothered only underlines your total lack of understanding of the game.

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    • They didnt try?!
      Thats totally off the wall and irrational nonsense. A few mistakes yes, they ran themselves into the ground

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  5. Well the drubbing everyone was predicting did not come to be. In fact but for Turners brain fart we might have won. Scotland always do better when they are the underdogs and written off, when we are favourites we usually fall flat on our faces. Still the pattern is persisting play the first half go to sleep in the second and have a storming last 5-10 minutes. Finally I also thought that Porters try had at least 2 Scottish hands under it.

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  6. Some of the analysis of how bad we were and how totally dominant Ireland were does not reflect the full 80 minutes. Yes 2nd half they dominated and in particular from the 40th-70th minute they did lay siege to our tryline, but the first half we never gave Ireland a sniff and only probably went in down at half time due to a ridiculous gift of a try for Dan Sheehan off our own line out. Our defence was very good but id also argue in the first half Ireland’s defence was also very good, we were inches away from a clean line break several times and an Irish player invariably would get just enough of a hold on Duhan or McDowell to halt our progress. Yes the attack could have functioned better especially 2nd half, we made too many key mistakes with some wayward kicks or coughing up cheap possession. That is the annoying thing for me as feel on another day if our attack had been every 5% more on point we might have really had a chance to upset Ireland. There are some positives to take from yesterday in terms of courage, endeavour and resilience but as often with Scotland plenty of regret and what ifs too.

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  7. As so often happens against Ireland their forwards inevitably ground us into submission, they cranked it up 2nd half and their power game and phase play were relentless for a 25mins period after half time. Too many silly errors at key moments cost Scotland key territory and momentum, also an absolute joke of a try first half to gift Ireland who dont need any presents at The Aviva.

  8. And, to avoid being misunderstood, I don’t think we were particularly good in this game. We were scrappy and showed lots of heart, but I think our attack looks a little lost. Part of that, though, is I don’t think our players have good enough hands under pressure to do what we want them to do. But mor are they powerful enough to play a simplified gameplan and win.

  9. I propose that the entire coaching team be replaced by honey badgers! They are fearless, aggressive, vicious and only capable of being stopped by a tactical nuclear weapon! They don’t give the hairy crack of a rat’s a**e about who they are facing they just get tore into them.
    Maybe we need some honey badger attitude and also remember that even lions that are 5 times the size of our little hairy nutter avoid them whenever possible!
    I’m not a psychologist so I admit to not being really clear as to what “mentality” really means. However I can recognise attitude when I see it. My honey badger analogy is all about that. We have players with skills, fitness, etc now let’s get some mean, aggressive attitude!
    My parting thought is that despite all of the angst exhibited in the posts here we must always remember that it’s a game. We’re not curing cancer or going to war we’re watching some men or women throwing a ball around and occasionally getting the chance to kick it through some sticks.
    All of the arguments regarding structural change need airing but change will take time and money that is properly invested not just spent allied to a cogent and comprehensive vision for the future.
    Perhaps attitude is something that can be worked on now.
    Just off to put on my tin hat and wait for the brickbats to start raining in!!

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  10. We avoided being thumped, so that’s some consolation, but we never really looked like winning this game. McDowall and Christie took advantage of their opportunities and the team largely showed it could stick to a game plan, albeit there was little need to vary it.

    Both teams can justify dissatisfaction with the referee, whose eccentric performance didn’t help a game that might not be described as a classic.

    I don’t think this has been a 6 Nations to remember for anyone but Italy, with Wales far short of where they were not long ago and France and England embarrassing themselves at times. We played some great rugby, nearly lost a game we should have put to bed easily and did lose two we should have won. That pretty much sums us up just now and the only way that’s going to change is with a change at the top.

    A example of the inconsistency, Christie clearly should have been playing earlier, with Ritchie’s unwarranted return a real head scratcher. The bizarre use of the bench defies any logic. We should not have two captains and we clearly can stick to a game plan if it’s clearly defined and communicated. That, only too clearly, is not normally the case.

    I don’t know who is willing and able to get the best out of the team consistently, but I know who isn’t. Let’s move on from Townsend please, we need the international team to attract kids into the game. Winning does that.

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  11. We avoided being thumped, so that’s some consolation, but we never really looked like winning this game. McDowall and Christie took advantage of their opportunities and the team largely showed it could stick to a game plan, albeit there was little need to vary it.

    Both teams can justify dissatisfaction with the referee, whose eccentric performance didn’t help a game that might not be described as a classic.

    I don’t think this has been a 6 Nations to remember for anyone but Italy, with Wales far short of where they were not long ago and France and England embarrassing themselves at times. We played some great rugby, nearly lost a game we should have put to bed easily and did lose two we should have won. That pretty much sums us up just now and the only way that’s going to change is with a change at the top.

    A example of the inconsistency, Christie clearly should have been playing earlier, with Ritchie’s unwarranted return a real head scratcher. The bizarre use of the bench defies any logic. We should not have two captains and we clearly can stick to a game plan if it’s clearly defined and communicated. That, only too clearly, is not normally the case.

    I don’t know who is willing and able to get the best out of the team consistently, but I know who isn’t. Let’s move on from Townsend please, we need the international team to attract kids into the game. Winning does that.

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  12. sorry any manager in any area or business, who’s performance goes backwards, needs to be subject to a review and possible discipline – why is Townsend exempt from this?

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  13. So the coach is proud,totally amazed at this statement. We hang on like grim death in Wales to the wooden spoon winners. We loose to France but its the officials fault. We beat England so everythings great and rosie in the garden surely we have got away from this nonsense. We go to Italy arrogant that we are probably playing the wooden spoon winners wrong we get beat no heed of Italys performance in France. On to Dublin where we once again we loose and the coach is proud.I think I witnessed last Scots win in 2010 at Croke Park. Final table finishing 4th now I may be wrong but we had a 3rd place finish last year. So I for one take no pleasure in this campaign and and although it will fall on deaf ears Mr Townsend please give this up , we are going back the way yet again.

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  14. Some bitter comments below. There are some pretty big, famous sports teams who are perpetual nearly men.

    It’s better than being at the bottom.

    We’ve been there. I’d rather be where we are now.

    I’ve had alot of fun watching the team. I hope they win a championship one day, but I also understand the odds are stacked against it being a regular event. You have to beat 2 higher ranking teams away from home to do it without slipping up at home. It’s tough.

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    • If I were as pessimistic as others, I’d say give GT one more year, FR to further gel as captain- 2nd place/1 loss minimum in near year’s 6N, aim to win the slam.

      If not, do as the others say and get rid of the coaching team. Then over to the naysayers about what next.

      Decent argument that GT has a settled team, I think the game management issue was mainly on the pitch. Comments after the game about ‘players doing their job’ etc. FR needs more time to fill his role as captain.

      And if all else fails, blow it all up as per other comments.

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      • How many “one more years” are we going to give Townsend.
        If we are being honest, the only reason HE is still here is because he has not a cat in hell’s chance of any other job.

    • I’ve had some fun watching this team – mainly against England. Most of the time though I spend pulling my hair out at flaky, error-strewn performances, or feeling downright sick by losing games we should clearly have won e.g. France / Italy, or just collapsing like a pack of cards, i.e. Wales this year.
      I just have to say, it’ snot that much fun most of the time.
      I just think there is not much more this particular coach can add – 2 failed world cups, yet another mediocre 6 Nations, with this squad of players – we’ll never know unless we try something different. With every passing year I’m growing less interested, as I can’t see anything improving in the way it matters – and that’s not a good thing.

      The defeatist chat on here and from the management team (and from Finn) tells me what I’ve been saying all tournament – we don’t have the right leadership / winning culture and mindset to do anything beyond playing for 40 minute bursts. Guarantee we’ll lose against England next year and suddenly most people in here will join me in that mindset!

  15. Interesting approach to the game.
    Ireland are coached by a Rugby League great and kinda play Rugby League with unlimited tackles.
    It’s almost as if we decided to play them at…. Rugby League.
    The defense made me think of Wigan beating Penrith Panthers a couple of weeks back. If anyone else saw that.

    Wales used to beat Ireland quite regularly playing this way- just letting them have the ball, spreading out, tackling, huge workrate around the corner then suckering them.

    It nearly worked for us. A soft freak try and a couple of unforced errors were the difference.

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    • Jonny B

      Don’t agree it was a freak try . 3 probable outcomes from lineout, We win it ,Ireland win it ,or perhaps overthrown. We had noone covering the overthrow! I would like to ask our defence coach if anyone was assigned this task. If not ,why not?

    • Afraid I don’t agree that it was a freak try. 3 probable outcomes from line out.We win it Ireland win it, or overthrown. I would like to ask our defence coach who was assigned to cover the overthrow?

  16. Pride restored my rear.We followed up a defeat by another defeat. We had a magnificent defensive effort but offered nothing. Oh our attach coach has just 2/3 years experience. We gifted Ireland the first try with our usual error( why Matthews is nowhere near the squad I don’t know) – Christie was the best player on the park ( oh he didnt start the first 3 games despite being form player)
    We need new coaches with a different vision to avoid wasting a decent grouo of players
    T

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  17. This article is a total embarassment and should be pulled. Pride restored !!!!! After another defeat by the Irish who frankly werent even that good. How has this defeat saved Townsends bacon for another pointless 6 months. Firsly the scoreline completely flattered us as apart from Jones try I dont think we entered the Irish 22 in the second half. Secondly to put it all into perspective we won 2 out of 5 games. How in any half intelligent persons language can that be construed as progress. Are we back to the days of just happy to get a game and not get hammered. This was another 6N that promised much and delivered nothing just like the previous 6 tournaments Townsend has been in charge of. We need a complete clear out and start afresh. Look how that approach has benefitted the Italians.

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    • Who would coach us better than Townsend?
      I think he came up with a gameplan that could have won us the game today.

      There were inches in it.

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      • Inches? Only inches several times stopped Ireland scoring the 3 or 4 more tries that they normally would have – today we had a great, heroic, desperate defensive effort, and an Irish team that wasn’t as clinical as usual. Other than that we offered no structure in attack and no ambition in attack. This wasn’t some even game that could have gone either way – this was one-way traffice. that we were admirable able to keep from being a blow out. As for who would coach us better than Townsend? What a ridiculous, lazy argument – are you saying there are no better coaches than Townsend out there, across all the countries, clubs and regions? The SRU would conduct a search to find all the talent that you and I aren’t aware of – just cos Gatland and Farrell are taken doesn’t mean there’s no-one else! Come on.

        We’ll never know unless we try – Townsend has had 7 years and we’re not much further forward that we were 5 years ago. He’s done a good job up to a point, but doesn’t have the ability to instil a truly winning mentality into this team and that is the major difference IMO

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      • How about Michael Cheika, former coach of Leinster, Australia and Argentina? And he’s available right now!

  18. I spent much of this Six Nations wondering if I had imagined us having a great defence in recent years, and for one game it returned – pity it coincided with our attack coughing up any ball they got.

    In seven years of Townsend our average finish has been 4th.

    Love the team, love the players, but disillusioned with our lack of direction.

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  19. That was an improved performance from Scotland with a huge defensive effort and a much lower error count. I always ask myself – Could we have won if we’d done things differently. Possibly – clearly the line out overthrow was a gift and Finn kicked one straight out from kick off which led to a prolonged period of pressure from Ireland. In the 2nd half we had next to no possession and this was partly down to our tactic of kicking long and uncontested which gave Irelands back 3 the ball which they would run back often getting a free 20 yard gain before setting up the ruck and then recycling all over again. I think that was our main tactical mistake – kick to compete. We also needed to manage the ball better when we had it. We did this in the last 5 minutes when we scored and chased the game.

    On the subject of box kicks when will refs start penalising teams who put up a wall of blockers so their defender can get a free run to catch the ball. Our chasers couldn’t get near our box kicks on occasions there were so many Irish players shielding the ball.

    Good performances from Christie, Cummings and Dempsey in the forwards and Stafford had a good debut and the Jones try was class. Half backs were not at their best which partly led to our struggle for possession.

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  20. I was impressed by the defensive effort to which even BK contributed. As ever too much box kicking. White could have stopped the Sheehan try if you watch in slow motion. He was well placed to get his shoulder in there. As usual, Horne showed himself as first pick s/half with great breaks as well as service speed. He should have been brought on earlier to switch our game to ball in hand. I thought the forwards upped their game today.

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    • White has been immense this 6N, give the bloke a break, he’s never stopping the Irishman from there. Horne’s Duracell bunny act is great at times but White is the better 9.

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      • OK what are his strengths? And if you’re going to say ‘game management’ please clarify or it’s just another thing people say cos it sounds good.

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      • Joe, you don’t actually know what game management involves do you? Check out all the attributes I list for Horne.

      • So mind reading is yet another talent you don’t have then Duncan. And why on earth would anyone check out what you say? Other than to have a laugh at your pomposity of course.

    • Correct. White’s ponderous service meant attack was impossible and his cowardice at the Sheehan try was a disgrace. Gary Armstrong was tiny but used to fell much bigger guys than that. We only scored a try when Horne came on. Take Christie out and that would have been a thrashing. The fact that GT can’t see Horne n Christie are miles ahead (as is Bradbury) should be enough to sack him. Yes he’s much better than Cotter but with this group of players getting worse results than an Italy side isn’t acceptable. Even more so when Italy were denied wins by refs in two of their matches.

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      • I agree about Christie, Bradbury and Horne. The last in particular is characterised as harum scarum when in fact he’s highly organised. Watch the early defensive clearance from Finn – Horne marshalled a forward pod on the blind side as if that was where he was going, but instead passed to Finn, giving him an extra half second. Constantly directing the forwards to one side or the other, looks for players running lines close to the ruck, executes clearance kicks to touch when required, will box kick but just not as often as White. Above all he can break which keeps the opposition honest. I despair of the ill-informed judgements people make here.

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  21. If this tournament has shown one thing it’s that the second row beeds to be gone over with a broomstick. Gilchrist and R Gray are done. J Gray has probably seen his best days. Scott Cummings, as is so often the case with promising locks, looks to have plateaued and hasn’t made any real impact at test level. Our abject lack of physicality at 4 & 5 is an underlying issue that kills us year on year.

    Watching Glasgow of late however has given me some hope that we have two young locks coming through with size and aggression who might actually be able to take a game by the scruff of the neck. I think we have to have a generational shift and bring them through in the next year.

    Pondering various combinations of our shoe in second row combinations is taking us nowhere. Time for change.

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    • Franck, Cam Hendersons injury was a big blow he would have played a big part. Hopefully we see some fresh blood in the summer.

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  22. This ‘gallant loser’ ‘pride restored’ guff needs to be resigned to the bin from our national psyche (not just rugby). It absolutley does my nut in, it is endemic in all levels of our society.

    We need to start raising a generation of mentally resilient winners.

    We should in no way be happy with this 6N campaign.

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    • Does anyone in Scotland have a ‘gallant loser’ mentality, or is it just the media angle.

      If anything I’d say there’s a culture of knocking people down a peg or two which doesn’t help people excel or be outstanding. And when it doesn’t work, good old Scottish fatalism for some.

      And maybe a strange unrealistic expectation that we’ll absolutely hammer all-comers. It was a close game against one of the best teams in the world who concede very little, in their home ground. We lost, but it was fine margins, a carelessly conceded try essentially.

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      • The media most certainly do not help, but yes, i do believe the gallant loser tag is heavily engrained in our national psyche.

        I am fully cognisant that our country is full of wider social issues that most certainly do not help us raising mentally resilient winners.

        I left Scotland 20 years ago and every trip back saddens me at the level of defeatism by all I encounter.

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      • I’d lived in North America for a number of years so can somewhat relate to your concerns, as they’re generally a more confident bunch.

        I don’t buy the gallant loser or social angle thing, I think it’s just an older generation that “know their place” (see two Ronnie’s sketch) who generally won’t breed a winner attitude. Sort of what you read in the comments here (hehe). Tear it all down, sack the coach, etc. A lot of criticism is just pure negativity without any detail or solution.

        Only one other team beat Ireland and we beat them. We have the smallest player pool of them all, yet somehow this is a very negative result? This is my point. A lot of the criticism is unjustified and overboard.

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    • What a load of rubbish. Nothing to do with gallant losers it was about playing well which we did. We played well against France and 2 appalling decisions cost us, that’s not being a gallant loser. We deserved to lose against Italy, nothing gallant in that defeat we were just bad.

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      • I don’t understand this gallant loser talk. Only one team can ever win a tournament or a match. If the others aren’t allowed to take any joy in it then sport would be a miserable thing.

        I view this tournament as a chance missed but to read people on here, we are only a good coach away from dominating world rugby. The reality is we have a good squad but there are several better squads out there so it will take something special (and some luck) to string four or five wins together. I’m not saying we shouldn’t aim for it, but if we view everything short of that as a disgrace, that won’t take us anywhere.

        “How can we have pride in a performance where we lost?”. Have you never been proud to have given something tough (like playing the world number two team away from home) your best shot even if you came up short?

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  23. Interested in views on here. How do we kick on? Seems clear we need more carry. Compared to the best teams we need more dynamic locks and a heavy hitter off the bench. Steyn does all he can but he has no gas at this level to worry a defence. Why are the pundits and media at large avoiding the Townsend question? Italy have clearly got a big bounce from a new coach, so it surely needs to be considered. The defence was strong today but we offered so little in attack, endless high balls which didn’t trouble Ireland, and at no point did we look capable of winning. I can see no reason (other than the obvious financial issue) as to why we shouldn’t get a new coach, and try and uncover some new players (Scottish eligible – given the lack of domestic talent – fixing that is another issue!). I don’t think any more learnings will improve this side. Change needed!

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  24. Sorry feeling a bit bitter!
    2 unsighted tries by the Irish.
    3 decisions by the referee, stating Scotland knocked on, when clearly not the case at critical times.
    Yellow card at a critical time.
    Unlucky Scotland, you played a stormer.

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  25. No. Absolutely not. Are we to go back to accepting a loss because we tried. This is a very poor six nations. Piss poor second half against Wales when we should have destroyed them. Yes we should have beaten France. Technically we did! But the score board and table doesn’t show it. We were ok against England but they looked rudderless. Piss poor second half against a reasonable Italy. But if this team, which is good, want to be feted then they need to actually win these games. Another year of coulda, shoulda!!! At least there will be next year…

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  26. Pride restored really!?! How can we have pride in a performance where we lost? No team should see a loss as anything other than unacceptable. Scotland need to grow a winning mentality and view points like this don’t help. This has been a wasted tournament for us that has shown out mental fragility and lack of winning mindset. If Scotland is to progress and start actually challenging for and winning titles again then we need to stop saying a loss is anything other than unacceptable. There is no pride in loss.

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  27. Commendable effort, fine margins against one the top teams in the world. Momentum lost slightly in 2nd half, penalised on marginal calls I felt at times.

    No more easy games in the 6N. Respect to Italy on their best finish.

    I think it’s fair to say we showed what we were about in each game, but inconsistency ultimately cost. And that’s why IRE are champions once again.

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    • If that performance is what we are about then I can completely see why we will never win a six nations. Clueless in attack and one way traffic against us. Ireland weren’t even playing that well. Time for new ideas/coach/attack and a new mentality from the team and the country. Would also be useful if our mental skills coach actually lived in Scotland …

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      • Ireland are the only team that have clearly scored more tries, Scotland have scored just as many as the rest. So what’s the problem with our attack? Surely it’s consistency against WAL/ITA were probably the main issues of the tournament. Pretty sure our back line is well respected and they’ve earned it by scoring said tries.

        You must have watched a different game to me. The crowd were quiet for the most of it. So no, not into the “tear it all up and start again” idea.

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      • The game is dying in Scotland Richard. We have a pro team with all the talent in the world who always under perform. Our under 20’s are a joke due to the crap performance pathways in place and no clear plan to improve player numbers or performance all on top of a national team who are no where near meeting their potential due to complete mental weakness. What parts are worth saving exactly and why?? Please tell me I want to have hope that we can go somewhere and do something!

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      • George, I guess it’s one thing to commiserate a loss and another to talk about overhauling our entire infrastructure.

        Personally I feel there’s better people to offer suggestions. I’ve always felt the amateur game would be better as a Summer sport. My inclination to watch my local National 1 team freezing my baws off and paying a tenner isn’t huge. SRU done well to re-brand internationals, time to rebrand the amateur top tier(s) game. I’d hope that introduces new fans and new money. As to how that money develops new talent, which team they play in and who they play against, over to you- if you had a blank cheque.

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    • Blank cheque here would be my suggestions.
      1) do whatever it takes to get touch rugby played in primary school and contact rugby played in secondary school run it with help from local clubs.

      2) I would give a stand to schools in the summer so that kids can come and watch pro rugby to get them interested.

      3) I would look at the structures in Ireland and NZ to see how they get players involved in a young age and how they develop them.

      4) I would make amateur rugby a summer sport and run holiday clubs for free for kids again giving them free tickets to come watch the club games.

      5) i would invest in getting as much of the north of Scotland involved in rugby as i could and try and in time create a 3rd pro team up there.

      6) set quotas for SQ players in the pro teams so new talent gets to play.

      7) i would get pro coaches and players to go and work with the regions to help them work on key skills and development. Also I would get the under 20’s etc playing as much rugby as is safe and possible to do so as that’s the best way to learn.

      I realise these things would require a lot of money and time but you gave me a blank cheque

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      • Unfortunately Mr Dodson has taken the blank cheque filled it and cashed it so bang go your ideas!

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      • I for one really appreciate a comment that lays out some solutions, as many of us, often including me, are pretty quick to jump to micro-focusing on the negatives. And not being close to the system, and living overseas, I don’t have any authority to offer solutions, though obviously a starting point is finding investors. Funnily enough random stuff like Gerard Butker being at the games, I think we do need to double down on finding famous Scots who’ll promote the sport and maybe even invest in it. There’s my one crap suggestion…

        Big picture for this Six Nations, Scotland are/were involved in 5 close games. Two we won, but should have won more convincingly. Two we lost, and should have won, and the last one we hung in there and made a very good team’s attack look (relatively) pedestrian for long periods…though our Attack was woefully inaccurate and virtually non-existent until the 74th minute… So obviously a frustrating set of results that could have been a lot better. However, when I think back to basically the years 2002-2014, where we were routinely smashed by multiple teams, I try to count my blessings…

        But I agree with other commenters that we should strive to be better still, and not accept our current status. But the idea that we can match Ireland is unrealistic without serious grassroots and pathway investment over multiple years, and most of us will be a lot older and greyer before we see any of the potential fruits of that labour.

        As an expat constantly trying to encourage friends here in the US to watch the game, they are always impressed by what our team are capable of at the International level, but always puzzled by my fatalist attitude when watching certain games, so I’m as guilty as any Scot of that psychological outlook that we need to change.

        When it comes to blowing up the coaching staff. I think Townsend has had some pretty big achievements as our Head Coach, and the only notable silverware in the Pro Era as Glasgow coach in the Pro12. In any setup, fresh impetus and ideas can lead to positive change, but right now, I find it hard to imagine an alternative HC taking this group of players significantly further. If he gets to see out his contract and manage the transition to a new coaching staff, that feels to be at least a way of starting to bring through new players gradually and try to maximise the time we have left with this very good group, which isn’t long.

        Now away to pick the splinters out of my backside, it’s a sharp wooden fence…

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