U20s 6N: Scotland v France: second half rally rattles visitors but falls short

Kenny Murray praises his team's resilience and physicality when bouncing back from four tries down at half-time

No way through! Scotland Under-20 took the game to France during the second half but came up short. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk
No way through! Scotland Under-20 took the game to France during the second half but came up short. Image: © Craig Watson - www.craigwatson.co.uk

Scotland 14

France 29

DAVID BARNES @ Hive Stadium

THERE is no such thing as a good loss, but this young Scotland team should take encouragement from the way they bounced back from going four tries behind in the first half to make it a real contest after the break.

This match-up has tended to be one-sided affairs in recent years, but France knew they had been in a battle at the end, as evidenced by the walking wounded in the visiting ranks after the full-time whistle, and the fact that they opted to kick a late penalty rather than go for the seven points which would have put more of a gloss on the final result.

“I think we showed France too much respect in the first half in that we didn’t play enough,” said head coach Kenny Murray. “We pressurised them a little bit with our kicking game, but just a few soft tries cost us. We missed a tackle and they scored, we got a bit narrow in defence and they scored, at international level you get punished.


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“We spoke at half-time about getting out there and having more of a ‘go’. I said to the boys that apart from a couple of sets in defence, we had fronted up really well with some good collisions and turnovers. And we won the second half 14-3 so I’m really proud of how they played, especially physicality-wise. It’s onwards and upwards from here.

“We’ve been on the end of 50-odd points [against France in the past]. Away from home last year, they battered us. Whereas tonight, when we got to 29-14 with 20 minutes still to go, and we’re getting penalties, I was thinking if we get another try we could be right in the game – but we didn’t quite get the foothold we needed.”

The visitors were welcomed to the field by a raucous reception from their sizeable travelling support, which easily ‘out-noised’ the ripple of polite applause which greeted the home team a few minutes later. The contrast when the anthems played was even more stark, and – frankly – embarrassing from a Scottish perspective. This is not a criticism of the outnumbered home supporters who were committed to getting behind their team, but a reflection of the enthusiasm France routinely demonstrates for this tier of the game.

But that’s what you get when you conduct as much of your age-grade performance pathway programme as possible behind closed doors, with players getting sporadic game-time for various teams depending on which way the wind is blowing that week, as they come through a structure which very few people outside the Murrayfield big tent know about or understand.

Whatever other challenges Scottish Rugby faces in terms of finance, adult playing numbers, coach development, feeding the pro team behemoths, etc, etc … creating a buzz at youth level (all the way up to the under-20s) should be a quick and easy fix which can deliver immediate dividends in terms of attracting new players and keeping them engaged. If nothing else, let’s try to make rugby fun.

 

It started ominously for the Scots, with Isaac Coates overcooking an early penalty into the corner, although he made an amends a few minutes later when impressive French openside Joe Quere Karaba ripped possession away from opposite number Freddy Douglas and set off on a 60-yard rampage which looked certain to lead to the opening score, until the Scotland stand-off somehow managed to get back for a try-saving tap-tackle.

It was only a temporary hold-up for France, who took the lead on 14 minutes when lively winger Honi Bosmorin collected a high ball and ran it back with menace, before possession was transferredo full-backs Xan Mousques on the right, who cut back against the grain and swept past two defenders on his way to the line.

The visitors struck again on 20 minutes when  Patrick Tuifua exploited Scotland’s narrow defence to send Bosmorin clear, and although the lively winger was bought down by another well-executed Scottish tap-tackle, he bounced straight back to his feet and slalomed inside the last two defenders before sliding under the posts.

Scotland rallied briefly, and two shrewd kicks into space from Murdoch Lock then Geordie Gwynn caused havoc in France’s backfield, with Amena Caqusau particularly unlucky that the ball bounced unkindly when the line at his mercy.

Try number three for the visitors arrived on the half hour mark when scrum-half Thomas Souverbie squeezed over in the corner off a solid line-out platform, and the bonus-point was secured by France on the stroke of half-time when Scotland were shunted off their own scrum ball five yards from the try-line and gave away a penalty, which was taken quickly leading to No 8 and captain Mathis Castro Ferreira burrowing over.

 

Callum Smyth was a half-time replacement at loose-head prop but lasted less than five seconds before needing replaced due to a head injury he sustained through a ferocious but misjudged tackle on Antonin Corso.

Coates again overcooked a penalty to the corner, depriving his forwards of a rare opportunity to test their maul close to the opposition line, which is the sort of unforced error that he needs to cut down on. Unfortunately, the lesson was not learned.

Scotland kept plugging away, battling through a series of punishing phases when they were under serious pressure and struggled to make headway every time they carried into contact, before finally getting reward for their perseverance when Lock took a quick tap from a ruck penalty and scuttled home from 20 yards, setting up an easy conversion from directly in front of the posts for Coates.

Tails-up, Scotland surged forward again, with Coates managing to find touch with a penalty and French replacement Sialevailea Tolofua seeing yellow for collapsing the maul, before Jerry Blyth-Lafferty finished off another forward rumble and the touchline conversion made it 26-14 with an hour played.

That setback revived France and it took some brave home defence to hold Fabian Brau up over the line, with the visitors settling instead for a Desperes penalty, awarded against Callum Norrie for not rolling away.

As the game entered its final 10 minutes, Scotland earned themselves another promising spell of possession and territory, but then lost another excellent attacking opportunity when Coates once again kicked a penalty dead – and he did it for a fourth time with just two minutes left on the clock (this is after making the same costly error during last week’s narrow loss to Wales).

“Its tough learning, isn’t it?” said Murray. “You get away with it at club and school, but in international rugby you don’t. The thing as well is, we’d already scored a drive against them and they were under a wee bit pressure there.

“But he’ll be disappointed himself so he won’t need me to say anything to him,” added the coach, before dismissing that suggestion that the fierce wind could be used as mitigation. “He’s a good player, he’s a god kicker, and you’ve got to be pretty tough win yourself – you can’t blame the weather, you just have to get on with it.

“Remember, he’s only under-19 so he’s got two years at this level. He’ll be good this year and even better next year. And that’s not the reason we lost the game. We lost the game because we conceded four soft tries.”

 

Teams –

Scotland: F Watson (J  Hocking. 66); K Johnston, G Gwynn, K Yule, A Caqusau; I Coates, M Lock (H  Patterson 60); R Deans (C Smyth 41-41), E Young (J Blyth-Lafferty 35), C  Norrie,  T Currie (R Burke 54), R Hart (A Clarke, 74), L McConnell, F Douglas, J Morris (M Job 74).

France: X Mousques; M Biasotto, F Brau Boirie, R Taccola (S Daunivucu 57), H Bosmorin (J Cotarmanac’h 22); A Desperes T Souberbie; Z Aouad (l Ametlla 47), L Chauvin (L Akrab 49), Z Affane (A Bouare 62), C Mezou,. A Corso (C Gambini 59), P Tuifua, (L Zamora 69), J Karaba (S Tolofua 6-9, 36), M Ferreira.

Referee: Angus Mabey (New Zealand)

 

Scorers –

Scotland: Tries: Lock, Blyth-Lafferty; Con: Coates.

France: Tries: Mousques, Bosmorin Souverbie, Ferreira; Cons: Desperes 3; Pen: Desperes.

Scoring sequence (Scotland first): 0-5; 0-7; 0-12; 0-14; 0-19; 0-24; 0-26 (h-t) 5-26; 7-26; 12-26; 14-26; 14-29.

 

Yellow cards –

France: Tolofua (59 mins)


Six Nations: Scotland v France live blog …

About David Barnes 3817 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. One aspect of the game that has not been commented on was the commentary itself. I have never heard such unmitigated drivel in all my life. The main commentator in particular was awful. There is a skill in commentary and sometimes less is more. The main female commentator clearly felt that she had to fill every second with inane and nonsensical chatter which really detracted from the spectical. I’m all for equality but there has to be underpinning quality at the end of it. It was comfortably the worst commentary I think I have ever heard. Why was there no male commentator on the team. Joey Barton is an idiot but I agree with I him in that there is a huge difference between the men’s and women’s game and having a women only commentary team is a pretty poor idea and lacks significant credibility. Alongside the very poor general commentary there is something itritating and offputting about the tone of the woman’s voice that made the whole experience very tedious.
    This is a male U20 international which is a higher skill level than anyone on the commentary team will ever have encountered so at least let’s have a male commentator on the team and please consider commentator quality alongside the BBC achieving their inclusivity quota.

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    • I could not agree more.
      I thought that it might have been an AI-generated, constant, continuous output of contrived cliches that was so bad that it was difficult to concentrate on the game.
      Absolutely shocking.

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  2. Well I hope this Post from 4 hours ago doesn’t get duplicated as have several previous Jottings.

    Looking at previous comments I consider there has to be a bit or reality regarding the U20’s performance that at times deserved plaudits but also there were some missed tackles and some over eager kicks that, mind you had the wind been against them, so to speak, they would have been right on the money and would have been eulogised by the commentary team that gifted us ‘Gems’ such as “he missed his School Prom in order to get his first Cap”. Wow, I bet that was a tortured decision for the lad.
    Listen to the commentary on the other games and many of the other teams have players in top class Rugby and from what I have seen, which is admittedly very little of S6, I can’t see any team or combination standing up to Brive or Bordeaux Begle, or senior Welsh and English Clubs and yet ‘Rugby Fan’ is berated for pointing out ‘facts’. It is difficult to justify S6 as a realistic pathway when you listen to the Clubs that our opponents are playing for, even the French D2 is arguably a better level.
    Now if we had beaten France or come closer then the support for S6 may have some validity as it is I fear it isn’t, I think the fact that the lads hung on in there was sheer determination. And yes as Redhead suggests, yes the players should be supported and praised, but that shouldn’t mean that some comments that may well stem from feeling fed up with ‘being plucky losers’ removes the facts that the pathway and structure of Rugby in Scotland needs to find exposure for our evolving players and cobbling together a team in the S6 isn’t the way in my estimation, there needs to be regular top class exposure not the odd scholarship for a handful going off to SA or NZ, however the dice is loaded against us with only 2 pro teams and little structure below.
    I admit I haven’t got the definitive answer but there are those being paid a fair old Wedge that should have, and if they can’t find one Scotland will continue to have to rely on the good services thanks to World Rugby’s diktats on how you qualify to pull on the Jersey.

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  3. Excellent game

    Boys did themselves proud!!

    They did us proud!

    Mistakes happen and are mistakes

    But what’s not a mistake is the keyboard cowards taking time to comment on this to name and try and shame!

    You keyboard cowards are the only one who should feel shame!

    Shame on you

    Boys need encouragement not ridiculed

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    • Calm down Nessie you’re being overly protective as usual. By and large the comments seem to be quite positive and encouraging given that this is, what? The 12th defeat in 13 six nations. Also this is a platform that requires keyboards so we’re all warriors with a right to an opinion favourable to mums or not.
      So here’s my penny’s worth I thought the boys were excellent tonight even the ten who showed fantastic belief in himself not to crumble as a result of those kicks, perhaps some stronger captaincy would have limited those. Six and seven were outstanding both 2’s brilliant. Deans had his best game ever in the jersey the 3 three however continues to be a liability, weak in the scrum, can’t carry.

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      • Ok that’s me told lol just not a fan of extreme criticism on a single player!
        I don’t believe in hitting a man when he’s so obviously down but I guess a few do.

        Not a mother myself, yet, but some of these comments can be brutal for the families.

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      • You must have been a front row player yourself and understand the pressure that this level brings Jim. The 3 three (Callum Norrie) played for 80 minutes and held the scrum up well considering the talent he was up against. To have to manage his time and energy like that I thought he was excellent. No one played badly, it is finding an avenue for these players to get this level of game time week in week out.

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  4. I think the statement from Murray that they won the second half and also highlighting that there are younger players in their squad are really cliches that show he’s clutching at straws a bit. A game is played over 80 mins not 40 , that game was over by half time in the French players minds. There is always the likelihood in these circumstances that a teams level is going to drop off particularly when they also incur a yellow card early. All squads have younger players within their squads so trotting that nonsense out time after time is irrelevant.
    It’s hard making comparisons with the previous seasons and the suggestion that they are playing the “champions “ probably is not accurate. All of these squads change significantly from year to year so it is very challenging to draw much of a conclusion about whether the results thus far merit an improvement or not. The U20 squads are a bit cyclic so very difficult to know from year to year who are the form horses. The Scots have been closer in both the games they have played thus far but is that because Scotland are better or other teams worse ? It’s difficult to judge at least until the competition is over. Success is likely to be judged on wins and given that Scotland have already lost to Wales , the only team they beat last year and looking at the other teams – I don’t see wins in any of the remaining games. The frailties are still very obvious to see and again being repeated from last year. Significant lack of depth in the squad , lack of options or refusal to use other options – you choose. I would never criticise a young kicker for missing touch but the stark reality was that continuing with an out of sorts kicker cost Scotland valuable field position, and a lot of it. I don’t believe there is not another kicker in the squad that could have been offered the kicking duties maybe after the 2nd miss and certainly after the 3rd. Like last year it shows tactical and coaching naivety not to be able to offer an alternative option. As Murray alludes at times it’s an unforgiving environment but it is also supposedly preparing these player for pro / international rugby. The pro / international coaches would have made a change in kicker both for the benefit of the team but also the player himself , the lad must have been pretty flat at the end of that game , he did not play badly but he should have had more support in the form of alternative kicking options.
    I thought Patterson looked a different level at scrum half in all departments – composure , physically and general rugby nous, don’t understand why he didn’t start as the difference in quality between the two scrum halves looked stark.
    The Scottish boys stuck to their task and made the game a competition however this year again , like last year , they are being let down by coaching decisions and a lack of depth or a refusal to use it.
    It’s frustrating as these are players , many of whom have been in the “Academy” process for some time , basic skills should be a given at this stage and if a player is struggling , coaches have to recognise this and have a secondary option on the field both for the good of the player and the team.
    I would like to see the coaching set up freshened up , I don’t see much on the pitch that would suggest that Murray is creating a playing style. A bit like the other teams Murray has coached during his tenure – Ayr / Glasgow , the teams he coaches have a physical / nuggety quality but lack creativity and an obvious playing style. You can’t just bludgeon teams at this level and certainly not with the squad Scotland have got. The pack is relatively competitive and wins enough ball which we have to be able to create consistently off the back of this.
    Coaching change for me please ..

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    • If the game was over why take the penalty… make no mistake they were worried… fantastic second half, hope that shows them the game plan they need not this dopey kick away stuff… Franc, England and Ireland certainly don’t need to be given the ball to use !

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    • Patterson has to start next game
      Also Back up Stand Off ( if there is one )has to be given his chance
      Murray has to make changes or there’s something untoward going on

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      • Daffy D. Andy McLean would be an obvious option for stand off. Played there for Glasgow Hawks last season and was very solid, his kicking is way more dependable than anything we’ve seen so far.

        Kenny Murray seems to stick with the same players if at all possible, no matter what. I believe the other sides are rotating players far more.

        I feel sorry for the lads that aren’t getting a sniff, especially amongst the backs, as I personally don’t think many of the backs have been particularly impressive. So many of the tries conceded have been down to weak tackling, out wide especially.

      • @Daffy. A quick comparison. Given the opposition, safe to assume that France started their first choice XV against Ireland. Only six of that XV started against Scotland – excellent rotation of their squad, giving plenty of players a chance to show what they can do.

        By contrast, for Scotland, 13 of the players that started against Wales in the first game also started against France. The two changes being enforced by injury.

        I really hope there is more rotation in the remaining games. If not, it would suggest that the coaches have little faith in a large number of players in their squad, and/or have their favourites that they’re happy to watch lose game after game without giving anyone else a chance.

  5. Prior to the game, I was worried about what the scoreline would be, and with France picking up the try bonus-point try by half-time, was still worried despite a decent first-half performance.

    Second half the guys looked competitive, which meant that France opted for kick at goal to make sure they had a two-score cushion at one point.

    Three remaining games will be challenging – England pack look like monsters, but they still struggle to convert pressure into points. Ireland and Italy both look like points scoring machines.

    Fear we might finish winless this 6 Nations, but the two games so far have been a big step-up in performances. If they maintain this going into Trophy in the summer, then we should be confident of promotion back to main championship.

  6. Much improved performance and bar some unfortunate individual error (which i have no issue with young players finding their limits) we could have beaten the U20 world champions.

    There is always going to be a few tools on this site who will bash the young players playing their heart out sadly, pathetic.

    Hugely encouraging signs that some serious effort has been put into developing the U20’s over the past year. Who would have thought giving these guys semi-pro opportunities against tough opposition would result in them being more physically prepared to cope with the best of the other top countries? If we see similar levels of physicality over the coming games that should surely shut up the idiots here who constantly bash the super-series and the efforts/investments of the SRU. Is it perfect? No. But its making a hell of a lot of progress.

    Shame on Colin Hill and ‘rugby fan’ to name a few, that performance should be applauded.

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    • To criticise the S6 is not to criticise the effort that all the players put in, however as a ‘learning ground’ it can’t by any stretch of the imagination compare with the pathway our oppositions have.
      What do we have as a comparable pathway, emphasis on comparable, beneath Edinburgh and Glasgow?
      It isn’t the pathway that has improved the players it is their efforts against what appears to me to be an inadequately thought out pathway where there is debatable continuity with players frequently it seems in one team one week and appearing for another the next.
      As you say for a 19 year old that has managed to find himself, despite some would say an inferior pathway, the fact that Coates had 4 efforts into the corner failing by small margins that a puff of wind against the kick would have resulted in a superb position for the forwards actually shows intent and faith in his own ability that hopefully will bear fruit in the future, hope so for his sake.
      But that doesn’t make S6 the answer.

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      • Good point, do we think Russell would stop trying game winning moments, having got a couple wrong, he had the guts to go again, that suggests a character Scotland badly need in the game 🤔

  7. Thought Hector Patterson was a revelation when he came on .
    Got right in their faces
    Should start next game .
    Ps.
    Maybe another player given a chance at 10 next game .

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  8. I wouldn’t have thought having 12 games in a league open to the public constitutes being hidden behind closed doors but then what do I know 🐻

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    • I’m not sure about the ‘closed doors’ either: but do recognise “with players getting sporadic game-time for various teams, as they come through a structure which very few people outside the Murrayfield big tent know about or understand’.

  9. There’s a lot to be taken from that game. Missed tackles and missed line outs can be worked on. This group will improve with the right encouragement. A lot to like there especially the support. Well done the fans of both teams.

  10. There are definitely positive signs here. Our U20’s are far more physical this year and the skill level also seems to be improving.

    I don’t think Super 6 is perfect yet but the concept of having our best young players consistently playing together and frequently exposed to the best of the semi pro game makes absolute sense. Particularly when you consider the limited depth of our pro game.

    I think I’d probably align them all with either Edinburgh A and Glasgow A so that they also have a couple of grizzled vets coming back from injury mixed in with them every week but I’m no expert and maybe you would just lose cohesion that way.

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  11. All for one and One for all, Colin … wouldn’t fancy you at my back in the thick of it. Try seeing the big picture; the boys have come on a ton in the last season and definitely toughened up after Super Series exposure, so Kenny Murray and his crew deserve credit for that. Calling out one guy is a cheap shot, especially one youngster who’s had a great season up till now.

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    • @Alltalk. The boys won a game last year. Barring an upset, they’re unlikely to win a game this time around. I’m struggling to see any great progress?

      I’d admit they are physically bigger and stronger, but then there would be something majorly wrong if 18/19 year olds undergoing S&C training didn’t get significantly bigger and stronger over a 12 month period.

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  12. Scotland threw potential game winning points with those missed touches, esp the last two….had forward momentum!! Entertaining game !!

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  13. Rugby Fan did you watch the game last night.You had 7k fans pitch side not sure TV numbers. watching a competitive game of rugby between 2 nations top under 20 talent.

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  14. There has to be a change at Stand Off .
    Have to be brutal .hes not good enough
    He can’t kick a ball to touch from penalties
    7 or 8 times in both matches so far it’s happened
    That’s a basic skill at this level surely .
    Murray must think this is ok

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      • @Colin Hill. I personally choose not to single out specific players for criticism, but I really don’t think it should be an issue if people decide to do so. The lads are at a level where they are open to public scrutiny, and it’s part of big part of professional sport to be able to deal with criticism.

        People on this forum are generally sympathetic and supportive of the u20’s, so they generally get quite an easy ride on an individual level.

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    • Andy McLean must be wondering when he’s going to get a chance to show what he can do. Another 10, not even near the squad, Charlie Greaves, has a very reliable boot.

      In general the forwards are a stronger unit than the backs. It appears to be a closed shop though.

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      • There’s no place to hide in a professional rugby environment
        .if your not performing you’re open to criticism .
        Another guy must be given a shot at 10 next game .
        If not . Why not .
        If there’s nobody else to be considered
        Well that’s ridiculous .

        Also agree with Daffy D about re Hector Patterson

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    • Laughable comment from you, he missed four kicks but played out of his skin in all other facets, I take it you missed one of the best try saving tap tackles I’ve ever seenbut if we are talking of performances yours here was woeful and vindictive at best, perhaps it’s you needs replacing 😢

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  15. Progress…..losing yet again by a margin….aside from last season’s win against the 5 yellow card Welsh when was last time u20s were winning since S6 started?? Cos prior to that when club rugby was too poor to develop players we ended up 5th in RWC….the top tier RWC as it goes….now we celebrate keeping defeats under full humiliation!! No wonder Dodson etc have made so much money out of servile Scots fans…

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    • It would be more helpful to bring a more balanced comment since we played very well in the second half against a very formidable side. There were promising displays from the half backs and our number 7 was outstanding. The forwards fronted up against a very bulking opposition and encouragement would be better.

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      • I didn’t see the game unfortunately but it sounds promising. The French u20 squad virtually all have professional experience. Because they have so many professional teams and the JIFF rules to require players to be home grown through French academies there are lots of opportunities for French youngsters and it is not surprising they are so good, they are used to playing fully professional adults.

        We obviously can’t recreate the TOP14 and PROD2 but it sounds like the squad are much more prepared to play against opponents with this level of exposure. This should be encouraged.

        We also shouldn’t write off young players at this age after bad games. This is how they grow and learn.

      • Given the opposition, I think it’s safe to say that France would have gone with their full strength starting XV against Ireland. They went on to make nine changes to the starting XV that faced Scotland.

        It’s great that France are rotating their squad to give players an opportunity to show what they can do, that’s fair and should make for a happy squad.

        By contrast, 13 of Scotland’s starting XV against Wales started again against France (the two changes being enforced by injury). By selecting the same players when possible (so far), the Scotland coaches are surely indicating that they don’t have faith in those they aren’t selecting, and/or have their favourites that will keep getting picked even if they lose every game? It would be poor man management if the 6 Nations ends without every player in the squad getting some meaningful game time.

        I really hope to see some new faces in the remaining games. I’d understand sticking with the same players if they were winning every game.

    • Have you not the slightest bit of positivity in your body. Your endless negative comments know no bounds. Why bother continuing to post on this site.

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    • I’m going to celebrate their progress and the display of belief most certainly in the second half. Their set piece especially the line out stood up well and against that pack. As for the stand off He doesn’t shirk his responsibilities and didn’t go into hiding – he had to make plenty of tackles and the try saver in the early minutes was outstanding. One point re the opposition, fantastic handling skills on display in the first half especially in that back division, very slick , great footwork and always seeming to be able to create space. It helps with quick ball of course but they were a very skilled unit. Great to see some belief rising amongst the boys, challenges ahead but definitely some resilience being demonstrated.

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      • Very positive display against an accomplished French side. The pack in the last two outings have fronted up and we’re a match for the French which is a huge step forward from last year. Please remember though that big mistakes at this level will lose you games. On these mistakes, this is a very competitive arena and boys desperate to show their worth. What other competitive environment doesn’t have people waiting in the wings for their chance to show what they can do? I am not trying to bring anyone down with negativity but you have to look after the guys on the bench or maybe not even on the bench who are working their backsides off for a shot. The type of errors, some defensively as well are not acceptable at this level. All in all a great showing from the boys, just a shame about the mistakes

      • Nagasaki. Have a look at the French XV that started against Ireland (safe to assume that was their ‘A’ team), then compare it to the side Scotland faced the other night. By the end of the game it was pretty much a French B side that Scotland were up against.

    • Rugby Fan. I’m tending towards your thinking on this. France had the game won and bonus point secured by halftime. They took their foot off the gas in the second half and the gap closed. This seems to be getting viewed very positively by some. I suppose a humiliating score line was avoided, so that probably is progress of sorts.

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    • @Rugby Fan. Having had another look at the game (and paid more attention), it was a pretty under strength France team in the second half. I hadn’t realised that their left winger had gone off so early in the game. He’s by far their most dangerous player, caused havoc while he was on, as he did in their game against Ireland.

      Two games in I’d say that Scotland’s forwards are very competitive, but the backs don’t have much about them. They (the coaches and selectors) surely have to cast their eye over other options before the World Trophy – I can think of half a dozen players off the top of my head that are worth a look.

  16. They competed very well against the world champions , particularly up front which has been an issue in the past. I realize that it’s sacrilege to say it here, but perhaps the super six is starting to pay off.

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    • Looking at previous comments I consider there has to be a bit or reality regarding the U20’s performance that at times deserved plaudits but also there were some missed tackles and some over eager kicks that, mind you had the wind been against them, so to speak, they would have been right on the money and would have been eulogised by the commentary team that gifted us ‘Gems’ such as “he missed his School Prom in order to get his first Cap”. Wow, I bet that was a tortured decision for the lad.
      Listen to the commentary on the other games and many of the other teams have players in top class Rugby and from what I have seen, which is admittedly very little of S6, I can’t see any team or combination standing up to Brive or Bordeaux Begle, or senior Welsh and English Clubs and yet ‘Rugby Fan’ is berated for pointing out ‘facts’. It is difficult to justify S6 as a realistic pathway when you listen to the Clubs that our opponents are playing for, even the French D2 is arguably a better level.
      Now if we had beaten France or come closer then the support for S6 may have some validity as it is I fear it isn’t, I think the fact that the lads hung on in there was sheer determination. And yes as Redhead suggests, yes the players should be supported and praised, but that shouldn’t mean that some comments that may well stem from feeling fed up with ‘being plucky losers’ removes the facts that the pathway and structure of Rugby in Scotland needs to find exposure for our evolving players and cobbling together a team in the S6 isn’t the way in my estimation, there needs to be regular top class exposure not the odd scholarship for a handful going off to SA or NZ, however the dice is loaded against us with only 2 pro teams and little structure below.
      I admit I haven’t got the definitive answer but there are those being paid a fair old Wedge that should have, and if they can’t find one Scotland will continue to have to rely on the good services thanks to World Rugby’s diktats on how you qualify to pull on the Jersey.

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    • Early days, but I am inclined to agree. They look fitter, bigger and more competitive than last year. S6 and even the maligned Futures looks like it could have had a positive impact after all.

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  17. A good performance from the team tonight. Promising players coming into the team from the bench, would b good to see more of them in the games to come. I totally disagree with Kenny Murray’s comment
    ‘You get away with it at club and school’’ in reference to the missed penalties to touch.
    Actually, you don’t, there are players in club and school teams nailing those kicks game after game, from u15 onwards. Ok the international stage is another dimension but, come on, don’t kid yourself Kenny!

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  18. definitely a big improvement and some very good play. The 10 was pretty terrible with 4 penalties kicked dead at least 2 should have provided strong attacking positions. Good attitude from a lot of players as well. Some deserve to step up now and play some proper pro rugby to develop further. Clear to see some are ready and good enough.

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  19. Missed the first 20 minutes when France were 14-0 up. After that I thought we were unlucky not to score and the French scored whenever they got into our 22. 2nd half was a real gutsy performance from the lads and but for a few wayward kicks might have been closer. They certainly look a lot more competitive than last season with some strong tackling against ,a big French team. So definite progress and if they can start better against England they have a chance.

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