Scotland

Published on: September 17, 2015

Filled Under: Uncategorized

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World Ranking: 10Flag_of_Scotland_(navy_blue).svg

Odds of winning: 200/1

Road to Qualification: Finished 3rd in their pool in 2011.

Recent Results:

Italy 12 – 16 Scotland

Scotland 48 – 7 Italy

France 19 – 16 Scotland


World Cup Pool Games:

Date Time Team v Team Stadium
Wednesday, 23 September 15 14:30 Scotland v Japan Kingsholm, Gloucester
Sunday, 27 September 15 14:30 Scotland v  USA Elland Road, Leeds
Saturday, 3 October 15 16:45 South Africa v Scotland St. James’ Park, Newcastle
Saturday, 10 October 15 14:30 Samoa v  Scotland St. James’ Park, Newcastle

Strengths:

  • Quick backline capable of exploiting space
  • Solid setpiece

Weaknesses:

  • Inexperienced backrow/untested combinations
  • Unable to close out tight games against top teams

Key players:

Finn Russell:

The Glasgow flyhalf has only been playing test rugby for a year now and already looks more assured than anyone Scotland have had in the 10 shirt for a decade. A capable runner with a good eye for space and a lovely floated pass to exploit it.

Stuart Hogg:

Made more metres than any other player in the 6N, and has a cannon of a boot that can relieve pressure. His ability to come into the line as a runner or playmaker is invaluable in keeping Scotland’s mobile gameplan going.

Jonny Gray:

Tireless tackling and strong carrying have made him indispensable at a very early age.

Injured/Unlucky to miss out:

Alex Dunbar (ACL)
Duncan Taylor (Shoulder)
Stuart McInally (Neck)
John Barclay
Hamish Watson
Ben Toolis


Squad:

Props:
Alasdair Dickinson (Edinburgh)
Ryan Grant (Glasgow Warriors)
Willem Nel (Edinburgh)
Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors)
Jon Welsh (Newcastle Falcons)

Hookers:
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors)
Kevin Bryce (Glasgow Warriors)
Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby)

Locks:
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh)
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors)
Richie Gray (Castres)
Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors)

Back-row:
David Denton (Edinburgh)
John Hardie (Unattached)
Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors)
Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan)
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors)

Scrumhalf:
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh)
Greig Laidlaw (Gloucester)
Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors)

Flyhalf:

Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors)
Duncan Weir (Glasgow Warriors)

Centre:
Mark Bennett (Glasgow Warriors)
Peter Horne (Glasgow Warriors)
Matt Scott (Edinburgh)
Richie Vernon (Glasgow Warriors)

Wing:
Sean Lamont (Glasgow Warriors)
Sean Maitland (London Irish)
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors)
Tim Visser (Harlequins)

Fullback:
Stuart Hogg (Glasgow Warriors)


Likely Starting XV:


Summary:

Scotland seem to have put a disastrous 6N campaign behind them with stronger performances in the warm-up tests, but there are still questions over the squad selection, with many inexperienced players going and starting combinations (Gray/Gilchrist, Scott/Bennett, the backrow) that have had very little time to play together.They also remain very vulnerable to injuries in key positions, Finn Russell in particular has to stay fit for Scotland’s hopes.

But they will still expect to make the QFs after an encouraging series of warm-up tests, their setpiece and forward play let them down in the 6 Nations, and the addition of Strauss, Nel and Hardie, and the return from injury of Denton, Big Richie and Gilchrist should shore up this vulnerability. Cotter saw the back 5 selections weren’t working, and of the 7 who played in the back row during that competition only 2 (Denton and Strokosch) have made the Squad.

Against France recently this pack performed admirably in competing physically for the full 80 minutes at a level well above that shown in the same fixture earlier in the year, and arguably finished the better of the two pushing for the win at the death. Though you would have to say that the South Africans will be a step too far in the pool stages, the young Scottish team is certainly playing with self-belief, and will not shy away from pushing for a big upset early on. Their other big match will undoubtedly be their final game against Samoa, expected to decide who makes the Quarterfinals as the runner up of the pool. As with the South Africans they will bring a very physical game, Scotland have shown the capability to nullify that, the question does remain if they will carry their recent good form into the World Cup, or suffer the same inconsistency of teams past. Scotland are in the odd position of a Quarterfinal representing both expectation and success in this campaign, on recent form they would appear to be on course to edge Samoa to achieve that.

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