Scotland v Italy: post-match round-up

Thumbs up for Chris Paterson; thumbs down for Dan Parks

I’m exhausted having watched the Scotland v Italy game this evening. Exhausted and relieved that Scotland won by the narrowest of margins (18 – 16), and only thanks to Bortolussi failing to slot a 77th minute penalty.

It wasn’t an elegant win, it wasn’t a win that Scotland fans can be particularly proud of except that it was a win, and that’s what counts at the end of the day, and now Scotland are through to the Quarter Finals, facing the winner of Pool D (I’m hoping it will be Argentina) at St Denis on Sunday 7 October.

This is my opinion on Scotland’s play this evening:

  1. Scotland defended well

    I was proud of how Scotland defended, particularly in harsh, wet conditions. Italy are a very physical side and even when Scotland were reduced to 14 men (see point #2) they defended consistently well, and made good advantage of Italy’s ill-discipline. If Scotland can continue to build on their defensive skills all the better, but they also need to improve their kicking game (see point #4).

  2. Scotland gave away too many stupid penalties

    I was disappointed at the stupid penalties that Scotland gave away: holding on in the tackle, coming into the side of a maul, pulling the maul down. In the heat of the moment, under pressure Scotland need to keep the heid and retain their discipline. There were too many points and too much ground lost because of this kind of lapse of discipline.

  3. When given the opportunity the forwards played a good driving game

    When given the opportunity! There were a few passages of play when the forwards were able to move the ball, drop, recycle and create a few good phases of play. But more often than not certain players (see point #4) simply kicked the ball up the field.

    When you’ve got the ball in your possession you have control of the game. As soon as you kick it, especially into open ground and not high enough to allow your own players to get up the field, you open up the possibility of something horrible going wrong. And this evening there were too many examples of this; it was just as well that our defence was so strong.

  4. Dan Parks kicks too often and too inconsistently

    I can’t understand why Dan Parks gets picked to play so consistently, because from my point of view his playing is less than consistent. ‘DP‘ — as he’s unaffectionately known here (or sometimes ‘Dorothy’ if I’m feeling even less generous!) — appears to be a one-trick pony, and his trick is kicking.

    If he is passed the ball he kicks it. Sometimes it finds its mark and Scotland gain ground, but more often it goes straight into the hands of the opposition.

    Now, I know that I was a forward and forwards like running game, but I do understand that sometimes you do need to quickly gain yards by kicking the ball strategically into touch. I just wish, more than anything else in the whole of the Scotland game, that we had a fly-half who could kick consistently and accurately.

    Is it because Parks is an Aussie that we’re afraid to drop him? I’d give the job to Gordon Ross. I really, honestly cannot understand why Parks is playing. Can someone please explain this to me? The commentators keeps saying what a good game he had, and I always think/shout at the telly: “Were you watching the same game?!”

  5. Chris Paterson is the man!

    Now as anyone from the Scottish Borders will know there is a long and affectionate rivalry between Selkirk and Galashiels. I’m from Selkirk; Chris Paterson is from Gala. But let me be the first to say that Chris Paterson is the man, and I’m deeply proud of him. So far in this World Cup he’s slotted 16 out of 16 balls over the posts. Fabulous!

I’ve now got eight days for my nerves to recover until the next match. At the end of the day though: well done Scotland, and it was nice to see my former high school Rector (head teacher) George Jack on the TV in the crowd (he’s now the SRU President).

2 thoughts on “Scotland v Italy: post-match round-up”

  1. Gareth, you’ve missed the boat on Parks, that ind of criticism went out last season. Yes, he is a one dimensional player, but that was the gameplan Hadden had chosen – a kicking game. The 3/4 line were never going to see the ball, Parks was expected to kick at every opportunity. I honestly thought Parks had a good game last night and did what he was asked to do.
    Paterson, although a worldclass place kicker is not fly-half material ad I think should remain on the wing.

    I am looking forward to the Argentina game – we’ve got nothing to lose!!

  2. Gareth, as much as I love your “photo summaries” (thumbs up thumbs down is a good version), I must admit, I can’t agree with your post-match analysis. I actually felt that Dan Parks was one of the few “Scottish” players who played well against the Italians. His kicking was excellent and it was appropriate – the conditions dictated a game purely based on territory and when you have Simon Taylor in your team, you need to make sure you stay in the opponents half as much as is humanly possible as he is guaranteed to give away a penalty at least every five minutes – which is frustrating as he is one of the most talented back row players in the home nations and unequivocally the most indisciplined.

    As for Chris Patterson, now there’s a one dimensional player. His kicking is nothing short of world class, there can be no question. However, as for general rugby playing ability, he is definitely the poorest amongst the Scottish backline. No ball skills (at all – witness the laughable performance against the All Blacks – even before he was “poked in the eye”), inability to tackle and a self-overrated ability to run with ball.

    All in all however, I did think Scotland deserved to go through – not like that pesky Irish lot…

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