Is the long dark night of the Scottish rugby supporter at an end?

More of this please, says resident BTL Russian literary-phile and Scotland rugby tragic Chekovian

Our 2013 Six Nations

For many years, the 6 Nations experience for a Scotland fan has been similar to playing Family Guy‘s Cleveland’s Civil Rights board game Two Decades of Dignity; you don’t win, you just do a little better each time. Small signs of progress have often been scotched by poor selection, poor decision-making, and Hugo Southwell.

ffs

FFS Hugo! Just put some clothes on and FO!

The bald statistics this year make for relatively happy reading – two wins, third place, seven tries. Frankly, if you’d offered me that half an hour before kick-off against England on the first weekend, I’d have bitten your arm off and chewed it gleefully. Compared to our fate last year, I should be delighted.

I am not delighted. In fact, I am rather disappointed. We were fairly poor throughout the tourney, barring an obliteration of Italy. We squeaked the Ireland game, got gubbed by the English, were penalised out of existence against Wales and got punched-up by Freddie Effing Michalak.

ff

FFS Freddie! You put some clothes on and FO with your fists too!

It did not need to be this way. We have the best player group I can remember for many a year, at least since 1999. None of the other 6N teams were perfect, and all were and are beatable. But something was amiss.

As many worthy BTLers have remarked, our backs have gone from guff to gold, and our forwards have waved merrily at them whilst travelling in the opposite direction. This pains me, especially as the root cause seems to be tactical – we’ve stood off the breakdown, panned across the field and let opposing teams make easy ground up the middle.

We badly missed someone like Ross Rennie in the 7 shirt, though KellyBrows was superb. We defended manfully, but we gave teams far too much headway in the tight. It was obvious after the first game but it wasn’t fixed. When we had the ball we kicked it away as part of a general refusal to play any rugby in our own half. Given that many of our tries were long range efforts, this unwillingness to back our own ball skills seems deeply, deeply stupid.

one

One of these men isn’t deeply, deeply stupid

I worry that Scott Johnson will keep the job, and that this approach will continue in the long term. Scott, if you’re reading, you might want to think about giving these guys the ball a bit more.

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 4

I’m also frustrated that an opportunity was missed to blood a few uncapped guys whose club form has been red hot. MacArthur at hooker, Dunbar and Horne in the centres and Swinson at lock. I’m very pleased that Harley, Gilchrist and Wilson have all seen game time, but it upsets me that SLamont and Begbie are still deemed to be our first and second choice 13s.

The future’s bright? Well, at least it’s no longer a depressingly anaemic shade of beige.

xxx

The depressingly anaemic shade of beige that Scotland rugby’s future isn’t anymore

The Honour Roll for this year’s tournament is longer than usual – Ryan Grant, Hamilton, Gray, The Rev, Kelly Brown, Laidlaw, Weir, Scott and the Holy Trinity back three all performed very well given the tactical constraints. Beattie and Harley played well in fits and starts. Slamont, Jackson and Ford often looked like they were having a fit on the pitch.

Some of our boys will be off Down Under at the end of this season much to sag’s and PotC’s chagrin.

chagrin

Editor’s Note: This is neither sag nor PotC. Professional actors were employed to portray their anticipated chagrin

Given the absences with the Lions, our touring squad to South Africa will have an odd look to it. I’d like to see Dunbar, Heathcote, MacArthur, Wilson, Sean Kennedy, Mark Bennett, Peter Horne and Tommy Seymour involved.

Hopefully, this will allow us to set up the following match-day squad for the first Autumn International of 2013.

1.    Grant
2.    MacArthur
3.    The Rev
4.    Hamilton
5.    Gray
6.    Brown (c)
7.    Rennie
8.    Beattie
9.    Laidlaw
10.   Weir
11.   Visser
12.   Scott
13.   Dunbar
14.   Maitland
15.   Hogg

Subs – Ford, Welsh, Low, Gilchrist, Wilson/Denton, Kennedy, Heathcote, Horne/Bennett, Seymour

Compare that to our match day squads of even two or three years ago and it is clear that things really are looking up. Subject to tactics, of course.

I’ve got to the end of this article and realised it is almost entirely devoid of humour. Sorry folks. It’s melancholic, regretful and tempered by a cautious optimism. Anton would be so proud.

I'm

“I am so proud of my boy Chekovian!”

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493 Responses to Is the long dark night of the Scottish rugby supporter at an end?

  1. killerline says:

    Ha that Borderboy.

    Asking a load of questions then shutting his laptop and going to bed.
    I like his style.

  2. killerline says:

    Well this blog’s dead Killer. Who’s next?

    Oh yeah. That Mr i.am fellow……………….

  3. boomkingish says:

    I’m not an expert on front row play, but I gather that the English complaint is that Walsh was letting the Welsh front row cheat and milk penalties before the English front row had had a chance to cheat and milk penalties. Is that about it?
    Or is it the belated realisation that the surname Walsh derives from the old Anglo-Saxon word “waelisc”, meaning foreigner or more specifically, Welshman?

  4. avsfan says:

    @ boomking: at the risk of getting hounded mercilessly for agreeing with you again, I agree. There is little more frustrating that a cheat who is a better cheat than you are.

    Exhibit A: One Richard McCaw, m’lud.

    So, we have Welsh referees disguised as ex-Kiwi Aussies, Frenchmen in the guise of Irishmen, and a Saffer by the name of Joubert who doesn’t like anyone.

  5. killerline says:

    Rowntree making an issue of it seems odd.
    Even if the ref boss agrees with him, which sounds impossible, so what?

    Actually I’ve always thought we could be hated more as a country/rugby team. We’re too loved…
    Adoration is boring.

  6. tomtrumps says:

    Folks, for those asking about the coolest places to live in the UK according to The Times, here we go:

    1. Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire
    2. Bethnal Green, East London
    3. Stockbridge, Edinburgh
    4. Totnes, Devon
    5. Folkestone, Kent
    6. Frome, Somerset
    7. Aigburth, Liverpool
    8. Kelvingrove, Glasgow
    9. Clementhorpe, York
    10. Upper St Giles, Norwich
    11. The Northern Quarter, Manchester
    12. Louth, Lincolnshire
    13. Malvern, Worcestershire
    14. Jesmond, Newcastle
    15. Hockley, Liverpool
    16. Whitstable, Kent
    17. Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Greater Manchester
    18. Montpellier, Cheltenham
    19. Stroud, Gloucestershire
    20. Jericho, Oxford
    21. The Dockside, Leeds
    22. The Pallants, Chichester
    23. Pontcanna, Cardiff!
    24. Kemp Town, Brighton
    25. Brixton, South London
    26. Mill Road, Cambridge
    27. Glastonbury, Somerset
    28. Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway
    29. Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
    30. Montpelier, Bristol

  7. avsfan says:

    Shall I heap the same amount of derision and scorn upon England as was heaped upon the ABs after Barnesgate? Call a waaaambulance?

    Perhaps if England had got within, say, 25 points of Wales, he might have a point.

  8. avsfan says:

    Is that cool as in hip, or cool as in frigid?

  9. avsfan says:

    Oh dear. Southern Kings doing a London Welsh:

    The Southern Kings face the possibility of being expelled in their first Super 15 season after the South African Rugby Union launched an investigation of the newcomers on Tuesday for fielding too many foreign players.

  10. ElSuavo says:

    Does anyone have a link to video of the Michalak beating up on Hogg episode?
    I heard that le Mich was lucky to stay on the park, but haven’t seen it at all.

  11. ElSuavo says:

    How’s about limp post-gym salad? Could it get any worse?

  12. daffodane says:

    Rountree said he watched the game again on Saturday night, is he some kind of teetotal puritan, or wasn’t he invited to the after match bash?

    “I sat up on Saturday night and watched the game again forensically. I’m annoyed at a lot of the outcomes and I will be speaking to the IRB to get some clarification about it,” said Rowntree.

    We’ve all done it, up too late, emotional, possibly had too many beers. Pressed the send button and regretted it.

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