Six Nations 2013: Scotland team to face Wales

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Scott Johnson has named his team to play Wales on Saturday at Murrayfield (KO: 14.30 GMT). Duncan Weir is handed his first start at fly-half, while Euan Murray is recalled in the front row.

15: Stuart Hogg
14: Sean Maitland
13: Sean Lamont
12: Matt Scott
11: Tim Visser
10: Duncan Weir
9: Greig Laidlaw

1: Ryan Grant
2: Ross Ford
3: Euan Murray
4: Richie Gray
5: Jim Hamilton
6: Rob Harley
7: Kelly Brown
8: Johnnie Beattie

Replacements: Dougie Hall, Moray Low, Geoff Cross, Al Kellock, Ryan Wilson, Henry Pyrgos, Ruaridh Jackson, Max Evans

What do you make of the team? Can they beat Wales? Is Weir to start the right call?

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39 comments on “Six Nations 2013: Scotland team to face Wales

  1. Why not give Weir a starting chance? Scotland looked to play with a lot more intensity and purpose when he came on against Ireland.

    From an English perspective I hope Wales get a right thrashing against Scotland. They really deserve one.

    • if Scotland play like they did against Ireland i.e. without the ball, the thrashing will be the other way round that’s for sure!

    • Surely you can wait another week Liam for that super duper team better than 2003 vintage (copyright English media ) to hand a thrashing out to us upstarts from across the Severn .

      On the Scottish team Wales have paid them the compliment of changing a winning side particularly with Wyn Jones’ selection to try to counter a very good Scottish line-out .

    • I’m not sure I’d want a wounded Wales to play against us in Cardiff. They’re going to be psyched up enough without the added onus of losing to Scotland. But I would like to see Scotland give them a good game, and I think they’re very capable of an upset. I don’t think Wales have been fully tested defensively (Ireland aside), and this Scotlands counter attacking could catch them out.

      Weir is a real talent, and I haven’t been overly impressed with Jackson so far. Weir, Maitland, Hogg and Visser are good running backs and with Lamont and Scott in the centres they’re not short of size either. If Lamont and Scott start running at Biggar they could cause problems in the Welsh midfield.

  2. Cross was a match winner last time, but true to form Euan Murray always comes back in for the Saturday games…? why? he should be benched at best, i’m not going to criticise his religious beliefs but really shouldn’t be allowed to ‘pick and choose’ when to play over players with more commitment to the team…

    • i have a similar view to you jim. also it is strange that he suddenly decided to start not playing on sundays while he was at saints, he had been a pro for a while at that point. also, correct me if i am wrong, but youth rugby is usually played on a sunday for clubs, but he was happy to play then?

      i personally think that if i was a coach, the lack of playing on sunday would cost murray a place in my squad. no one is so good that they can chose to be a part timer.

    • Why change a winning team? Cross played well and should keep the shirt. Murray needs to win the shirt back, not be given it.

  3. I agree Jim. An international squad is no place for part timers, especially older part timers. Cross is a great player and did a fantastic job last week, deserves to stay in the first team for some continuity. I think it’s a bit of an insult to drop him.

    Duncan Weir – big call but looked good. Could be interesting.

    Would like to see Scotland win, it’s a long time since we’ve really seen them in the mix but I think I fancy Wales by 5

  4. Finally! Weir has played excellently over the past few seasons for Glasgow, why on earth he hasn’t been given his chance over Jackson is a mystery. If we still have a shot at this title, albeit an outside one, and if anyone can take us there it’s this man.

  5. Unfortunately Wales have to be favourites for this. However, the selection of Weir has ignited a wee bit extra optimism – great call from SJ (I hope). Cannae wait to get down to Murrayfield – hoping for a real cracker.

  6. Scotland are going to have to play a helluva lot better than they did last game with the ball in hand. Wales may not have been in great form, but they are unlikely to butcher try scoring chances like Ireland did.

    I’d guess that Wales should be able to out muscle the Scots all over and grind out another good away win (all away wins are good!)

  7. Jim/xxxwookie, I don’t think that labelling Murray a part-timer, or suggesting he picks and chooses his games is correct.

    He simply does not play on any Sunday. This is known from the outset of every team he has played for, so every team sets itself up to accommodate this as long as he commits to the other 6 days and remains worth his place. He certainly remains part of the squad and trains (sundays excepted) the same as everyone else.

    Whether he is worth his starting place is of course, open to conjecture, but for me, if he is your best scrummager in training – and I have no doubt that Dean Ryan has a close view on this – then he has to start against Wales.

    Let’s not forget that he did very well against Italy. Conversely, Cross was playing against Tom Court, not Healy, Domingo or Jenkins.

    • i recall him making a statement that he would no longer play sundays WHILE he was a saints player, so that was something that got dropped on them as a club, and scotland as a nation.

      if he had the chance to play in a lions test, but it was on a sunday, so he refused, would you take him on tour?

      • all the lions games are on Saturday/mid week to my knowledge, but IF they were then no chance he would be on the plane

        • i believe you are correct, that aussies dont really do sunday rugby, especially if the games are being show here too. it was more of a hypothetical question, which i believe you picked up on, seeing as you said the “f they were he wouldnt be on the plane.

          the tighthead is meant to be the corner stone of the pack, someone to build your team around (look at ireland with ross, wales with jones, england with cole, even italy with castro) and yet scotland are building a pack around one bloke for friday and saturday tests, but need another player for sundays. if you look at england wales and ireland, their tightheads are so important to them that they tend to play practically the full 80 mins if fit, even though we have 2 sub props now. yet murray will miss an entire 80mins because its on a sunday?!?! how did he get that far in rugby? (i know the answer is because he didnt do the no sundays until he was an established club and test player)

          • Rugby is a team game, and to me my team always came first… not sure how such an individual need overrides the aim of the team and country, for me I wouldn’t select him despite the fact that he is a class prop… and lets face it approx 30% of all top level rugby is on a Saturday…

    • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/scotland/6819679/Andy-Robinson-rallies-behind-Euan-Murrays-decision-not-to-play-on-Sundays.html

      2009 i believe is when he decided to stop playing on sundays. if this article is to be correct, then he had 28 caps, and had been with saints for 2 years already. he spent his time from 2001-2009 as a semi-pro/pro player playing on sundays.

      also, quite amusingly, murray does not play on sundays because it is the christian sabbath, but if my time at catholic school taught me anything, it is that the sabbath used to be saturdays, but that has changed due to modern life…

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euan_Murray

      • Indeed, apologies for my injudicious uses of “ever”.

        My point remains though that it is a known issue today for the teams for which he plays (even if was a surprise in 2009), and Worcester and Scotland choose to work with this restriction.

        The catholic change from Saturday to Sunday was a long time ago – certainly before what I would term as modernity. Some religions still observe a Saturday Sabbath, and indeed I think I am right in saying that the Jewish Sabbath is a friday (which would be easier still?).

        • Jewish Shabbat begins at sunset of Friday night and ends Saturday night. So it’s mostly an all day Saturday thing. I guess the Scots should count themselves luck that he’s an observant Christian and not a member of Jewish faith!

          I think some folks are missing the point though. Murray’s religion is important to him and that’s his decision. You or I might not understand his rationale but from his point of view God comes first, then rugby. If it means him being dropped him from a squad (any squad) then I think he’d accept that. God’s plan etc.

          But if he’s the best player you have in that position then he should be played on Saturdays, Fridays, etc. He grafts as hard as anyone and maybe it’ll suit the Scottish team long term to have to blood new players in that position. Ireland certainly suffer if our 1st choice (M. Ross) gets injured.

          • The point I was making though was that Murray had been a pro rugby player (and I am assuming Christian) for at least 6 years before he suddenly decided to make this change.

            Either he had an enlightening moment, or he decided he had reached a point in his career where he could set some of the terms himself.

            Professionally coaches say that their job has to be all about the players, but the players’ job has to be all about the team. Like jim said, it seems that Murray is putting himself before the team. If I was a coach, captain or even player, I would not want someone playing in my team who wasn’t 100% committed.

        • Just to follow up on Scrumbag’s correction re Jewish sabbath, Fridays belong to Islam. Anyway, re Murray ‘converted’ or was ‘born again’ after suffering a potentially life-threatening injury while with Glasgow. He obviously owes God one or two.

          I’d rather he played Sundays, he has a talent and I’m sure his God would want him to showcase it – maybe even win over a few converts into the bargain to bolster numbers (for the church not Scotland ;oD ).

          However, it’s up to the selectors to pick the team, not Murray. He doesn’t pick himself, so he can’t be blamed. It’s up to the others to prove they’re better and so far the selectors haven’t been persuaded. I think the argument Scrumbag mentions about developing depth as a result is a good one – Scotland don’t suffer too much on Sundays at prop.

          • Simo, do we all not get points in our lives where we have to re-assess our priorities?

            If anyone chooses to decide that their faith is more important than their job, it does not necessarily make them worse, or less able, less reliable or less loyal to their job. I am sure many people of strong faith (and I am not one of them) believe that such faith makes them better at their jobs.

            There is a present school of thought in people management, that introducing a strong focus away from the job, improves job performance.

            Onto Scottish Rugby, if he is considered the best person for the starting 3 berth then he must be there. I don’t imagine that Scott Johnson or Dean Ryan are the type of people to choose teams on anything other than pure pragmatism.

            Indeed, I am sure that this is something that Murray weighed up before he made his decision (albeit not SJ and DR specifically!).

          • Fair enough to have a focus away from work, but when it starts to impact his job, then it becomes a bigger issue. The point I am making is that Murray is clearly trying to have his cake and eat it too. In my opinion that is not possible. Something has to give.

            Regarding your point about having things change out perspective. If DC is correct that the injury causing Murray to turn to religion was in his time at Glasgow, he still had a minimum 2 years in which he happily played Sundays. The guy is entitled to his beliefs and opinions, but my view of it all is that I don’t think I would pick him, and I most definitely would not drop someone who had a good game simply because Murray is back in the fold.

      • Its because he broke his neck and then changed his views due to his recovery.

        On the topic of the selection Duncan Weir I believe would have started the championship but he was just back from injury and to be fair Jackson had been producng the goods for Glasgow but unfortunatley has not repeated it as well as he had at club level on the international stage.

        Ryan Wilson has been brilliant for Glasgow and deserves his place and I hope to see him in action.

        All we need now is for Dunbar to replace Lamont at 13!!!

    • “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27)
      i.e. Jesus said you shouldn’t see the Sabbath as your master – but Murray choses to let it be his master. He could easily pick another day of the week as his day for worship – but he choses not to

  8. I would be interested in a little wager on Scotland.

    I rather think that with the exception of the last 30mins against Ireland, and the destruction of the Italy scrum, Wales have not really been firing.

  9. @Liam ”From an English perspective I hope Wales get a right thrashing against Scotland. They really deserve one.
    Were 8 defeats on the trot not enough for you m8 ? whats your beef ? your Missus run off with a Welshman ?

  10. If he plays on a sunday or not is not a relevent issue for this game, the only question is whether he is the best man for the job, Cross played really well against the Irish and he might have hoped to retain his position on the back of a good game. However on that day the Irish frontrow was not up to much, I would still go with Murray. The good news is that Scotland have to good tightheads and can sub if neccessary.

    I thought Ryan Grant was immense last time out as well, Grey and Hmailton were also a real pain, the scots have once again a real destructive pack, that tackles all day.

    Scotland are similar to Wales, although Wales are in a better position, in that they don’t give their strike runners enough oportunities. We can all agree that the back three of the lions is at the moment going to be dominated by these 2 nations.

    This is where Weir comes in, I haven’t seen much of him but it seems his is more confident at attacking the gainline, Jacksonm stands very deep. With Laidlaw taking on a lot of the decision making at 9 this will take the pressure off Weir, lets see if he can get the backline moving.

    I would still like to see Maitland coming in more off first phase ball and acting as a playmaker, he plays heads up rugby.

    Scotlands main area of concern in continuety, they need to go through some phases, keep the ball and apply pressure, if not this is going to be a long afternoon.

    • “If he plays on a sunday or not is not a relevent issue for this game, the only question is whether he is the best man for the job, ”

      Spot on. As soon as it becomes a debate or decision based on anything other than that it’s a slippery slope.

  11. Re. Murray and faith. Everyone is entitled to their faith and to live their life accordingly which Murray does. To be fair I don’t think anyone disagrees with this point, although some question why he has changed his life in this way.

    I say that it is up to the Scottish and club coaches to decide on how they wish to pick him based on the bigger picture. If his upside in the scrum overides the downside on the team then they will continue to pick him. If not they should jettison him. Essentially, while he is an international type prop he will play, but when his top class days are over, his decline will be much quicker because he has the extra downside other players don’t have.

    • I tend to look at it as simply as this. You’re entitled to not work on a Sunday if that’s how you choose it. Unfortunately, rugby is a Sunday job. I don’t expect someone who has an issue with alcohol to work in a bar anymore than I expect someone so opposed to working on a Sunday to do a job that requires it.

      I was most annoyed during the world cup when he announced that the sport was anti-christian for playing on a Sunday. Not only an insult to the sport, but to all the many Christians who did play on a Sunday.

      While I believe in selecting the best player for a job, I also believe that continuity is important and if you’re having to chop and change your prop to suit his timetable, it’s going to upset momentum going forward.

      • 100% agree with everything you said there wookie.

        Especially at the annoyance of him claiming rugby was anti-Christian. I know for a fact that plenty of rugby players are devout Christians. It’s evident in the Pacific Islanders. In fact, John Smit is a very religious person, yet he has understood the demands of the job and accepted them.

      • Wales, England and Ireland all have 1 decent tight-head prop and not much beyond that. Continuity is great when they are there but it’s an issue if they are not. You could therefore argue that Scotland actually benefit from needing to have 2 tight-heads who play regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want Dan Cole to suddenly declare himself ineligible for Sunday’s or anything, just that you can view the situation from a glass half full perspective.

        Personally I don’t agree with his beliefs or the attributed comments (were these media comments or a recorded interview?), but I respect his right to have them. He shouldn’t be discriminated for having them (positively or negatively).

        The analogy of working in a bar isn’t a good one, a better one would be a working mother (or father) returning to work to do 3 days a week in a position they used to do full time. Should they be denied the opportunity to carry on working because they can no longer work every day? Or do you accept the constraint and make the best use of what they can do? It’s good that Scotland have done the latter, I can not see how Scottish Rugby would be the better for excluding him completely when there is no one better to take his place. I’m sure his club contract does not “require” him to work on a Sunday either and I’m sure his remuneration has been adjusted accordingly, just as a part time working parent would be.

        Scotland camp seem to be fine with it, his club employers seem to be fine with it, so I think people are inventing problems that don’t exist because they don’t like his views.