Murrayfield mismatch lets down the World Cup

The Scots conceded the game to New Zealand yesterday before it had even begun.  Frank Hadden selected a weakened team to face the tournament favourites, hoping to save his best players for the match with Italy next weekend.

To be fair, the second string played reasonably well, although they couldn’t muster a point against the All Blacks who scored 40.

In my opinion, they would have been better served taking them on with all guns blazing.  The Scots have a good lineout, with Alistair Hogg and Jason White providing additional options to the second rows, and they should have targeted this New Zealand weakness.  As it happened, the All Blacks played pretty badly, and so with home advantage you never know, they could have caused a big upset.

The pack would have been battle-hardened from the confrontation, and with a good performance, confidence would have been boosted. 

At the very least, they would have avoided irritating the crowd – this fixture was the main attraction at Murrayfield, and those that bought tickets were let down.  Hadden’s tactics violated the spirit of the World Cup and of the sport itself by saying, we don’t think we’re going to win, therefore we’re not going to try.

What are your thoughts?

6 thoughts on “Murrayfield mismatch lets down the World Cup

  1. I have to disagree. Let’s be fair – are you saying the Scots 1st team would really stand a chance of getting anywhere close to beating the Blacks?

    Hadden has played it correctly I believe; this way he has his full quota of uninjured players, they are able to train right through the week with no lay-off for recovery, and they also are left unscarred by what could well have been an equal pasting, with the possible deflationary effect on their confidence before the crucial Italy game.

    Slightly disappointing to see a 2nd team, yes. But this is the age of professional rugby.
    As demonstrated by Wasps in the new format to the closing stages of the Premiership, a few tactics and sensible team and match selection are the keys to progressing as far as possible.

  2. I can certainly see both sides of the argument, but for me, even if you don’t think you are going to win, you should at least try.

    And as for the training…what better preparation than playing the best team in the world?

    If the same team then faces Italy, the Scots know they aren’t going to be anywhere near as good as the All Blacks which will give them confidence.

    It also sent a message to the second string players: you’re rubbish, we don’t care if you get smashed by 100 points and have all your limbs broken, at least our 1st team might beat Italy.

  3. Like James, I can see both sides, and only time will tell when they play Italy. I’m always a big advocate of continuity of selection though and hope they don’t blow it – I generally like to see the Jocks do well, even though I know it’ll never be reciprocated!

    Talking of “seeing both sides” – the most annoying thing of all watching on TV had to be the kit colour clashes – navy and grey against black and grey, both with dark shorts. Fantastic!

  4. Spot on Robbie boy, astounding choice of Kiwi colours to clash with the Scots outfit – surely a sign of the marketers wielding too much power.

    I still stand firm though James, I see no point in injuring and battering your 15 best players with your biggest game less than a week away.

    Imagine say if they played their best team, and 3 of the top players being injured in time for a close-fought loss against Italy.

    The headlines then would be slating Hadden at his lack of tactical nous and foresight.

    Ok, if they get beaten by Italy now there will be the argument that the team should’ve had a team run against the blacks.

    But at least this way they will have all their ‘big guns’ (a relative statement) to give it their full shot.

  5. Granted Hadden was to a certain extent damned if he did and damned if he didn’t, but to me this capitulation before the whistle was blown is insulting and goes against the entire ethos of the world cup.

    Professional rugby be damned, this is not a club (aka a business, ergo run for profit) operating a rotation policy, this is a national team. It dishonours the jersey to give sympathy caps because you’re worried about hurting your ‘stars’. JW and Barkley were both broken on the training paddock!

    You had it right Jim, the Scots missed an opportunity, and let down their home fans. Brian Moore had a fair point in the DT today though, by denying the Kiwis a true test before the QF showdown the Jocks may have done their opponents a favour. Very poor show.

  6. Something needs to be done about the jersey situation. The team color’s worn by Scotland were far too close to the silver worn by New Zealand, even the ref was having a hard time telling the teams apart.

    It made for one frustrating night for all concerned

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