Hamish Watson made his debut for Scotland during the Italy game in the 2015 Six Nations. His performance did not impress Vern Cotter. Watson was not named to the Scotland team again for the next year and a half. He was not selected for the Six Nations due to injury in the weeks leading up to selection. Watson finally impressed the powers that be in Scotland to earn a spot in the Autumn test series. His role was not merely for support, but to start at the outside flanker position. After being left off for a year and a half he refused to let the opportunity go to waste.
Scotland’s new starting outside flanker Hamish Watson proves his importance to Scotland
Hamish Watson’s performance during all three matches of the fall internationals were extraordinary. He performed in every game well above his international experience level. Watson was strong on the tackle and a powerful runner. He didn’t run in the open field, but was always able to make 2-3 meters in heavy traffic. He maintained possession well and offloaded quickly and accurately. Watson also managed to take home a try during the slaughter of Georgia to finish out the series. Hamish Watson has placed himself as a permanent fixture on the back row of the Scotish team, and we couldn’t be more excited.
Scotland performed well under pressure throughout the fall series.
Scotland was not able to manage a perfect fall series, but came very close. The series started with a rematch of the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter final against Australia. Scotland led the Wallabies for nearly the entire match, but was unable to maintain to the end which resulted in the same points difference from 2015, -1. Scotland showed amazing abilities with ball in hand. They managed to overpower the Australian defense to make large gains in the middle of the field. Tommy Seymour and Sean Maitland did well on the wings carrying home three tries between them.
The match against Argentina proved the mettle of Scotland. Greig Laidlaw had the rare miss late in the game that would have given them the lead. Scotland refused to give up and gave Laidlaw another opportunity in plus time. The Scottish captain did not disappoint the second time by slotting through the penalty and the win.
Scotland has an all star team and the Georiga game proved it.
Scotland is viewed as the worst of the British Isles. They still are not on par with the All Black crushing Ireland. They have yet to reach the level of a rejuvenated England. Scotland is quickly closing on Wales. Since the Six nations Scotland has outperformed Wales against all mutual opponenents, except Argentina. Scotland are rapidly improving against the belief of the entire rugby community.
There were many articles believing that Georgia could prove an upset against Scotland. Even Vern Cotter had concerns about the game, “Georgia beat Samoa and make no mistake, this will be a really tough match,” said Cotter. “I know Milton Haig, their coach, really well. We have so much respect for Georgia and we know this is a real.” The Telegraph. Scotland did not take the bait. They put on a true world class performance against the up and coming thir two nation. Stuart Hogg led the team with two tries. The team played as close to a perfect game as could be possible.
Greig Laidlaw was six for six kicking and captained his team well in the matchup. Scotland dominated possession in the first half with 86% and an overall of 61% They outperformed Georgia over 2:1 in meters made with a staggering 672. Defensively Scotland winning in tackle success with 85% to Georgia’s 81. The only statistical category Georgia bested Scotland in was turnovers won with Georgia at 10 and Scotland with only three. Jonny Gray was present every time the ball was around, either on offense or defense. His performance was so strong that he was awarded the man of the match.
Scotland still has room for improvement
The one negative for Scotland that almost cost them the series was the scrum. Scotland was bested in the scrum by all opponents. The front row must improve for Scotland to take the next step in the rankings. The push is not strong enough, and it is resulting in too many scrum penalties being conceded by the Scotish side. Ross Ford must work with his props to maintain stability in the scrum.
Scotland still needs improvement, but the future is bright for this amazing team.
All stats Courtesy of the Ultimate Rugby App