Despite Big Bridie’s bid for a wing/centre spot, Ardie Savea must be an early bet for world poty
Hi Crucial, yeah it's a relatively inexperienced team, there are some more caps being rested this week who might be considered first choicers or there are injured players out, too.
I think Townsend is trying to build a greater depth.
Laidlaw and Hogg are first names on the teamsheet for me, I'm still not sure what our best centre pairing is but Horne and Jones are our paciest options until Duncan Taylor is fit again.
Up front, Johnny Gray is still only 24, Skinner 22. McInally converted to hooker from the back row and so wasn't capped until he had played in the front row for a couple of years, he's first choice now, though it accounts for the low number of caps up front.
This is going to be a tough evening for us, the Boks seem to be going well this year. It was difficult to tell if the teams were any good in their game against France, though.
Townsend has a reputation for is teams playing up tempo rugby, but the last two games has seen us biff it up in the forwards, playing one-out pick and go, I'm kind of hoping this is so South Africa will prepare for that and we'll revert back to slinging it wide and playing on the counter, we'll see.
I've only managed to catch a few games so far this season, Rob Thompson has caught my eye, he's been playing well when I've watched the matches.
What up with Dan Pryor? Has he been injured?
I should be able to watch the rest of the season now, looking forward to it
From a Scottish perspective our tour was all about Japan next year, there are few opportunities between now and then to see who we've got behind the front rank players if they take a tumble before our first game of the tournament.
Scotland's front five in the Argentina game sort of resembles what we'd put out in a competition game, albeit only if WP Nel and the two Gray brothers aren't available. Playing our second choice hooker on the flank raised a few eyebrows, especially when we've got a genuine up and comer in Jamie Ritchie sitting on the pine, but that's Gregor Townsend for you. I guess he was looking at options within the limitations of the squad numbers allowed at the world cup.
We were also looking at where we sit regarding depth across the backline, and to be honest it doesn't look great. Young George Horne at scrum half looks good, though very inexperienced. Likewise Son-of-Gav at fly half looks promising but green. Who knows wrt to the centres? They struggled against the US and ran a really poor Argentinian defence ragged, Huw Jones and Alex Dunbar won't be losing sleep over anything other than their injuries.
Blair Kinghorn was a plus in the backline, he's gone from a callow Edinburgh fullback prone to the odd howler to a pretty useful attacking threat at this level, he turned 21 in January so there is still a lot more to come from him.
Overall, Canada and Argentina were woeful, and so were we against the USA, who were good for their win.
Thanks for your replies, @booboo , I didn't realise the Mitre cup sides are provincial entities, thanks.
The set up sounds similar to what we are moving to in Scotland though we operate on a much smaller scale. We have two full time pro teams, Edinburgh (yippee) and Glasgow (boo). Below that we are about to launch the Super Six, six semi-professional sides, whose main aim as far as I can see it is to catch the youngsters who have missed the academy system, which is again a fairly recent innovation. Nothing is set in stone yet but it's hoped the Super Six will compete in a cross border competition with similar Irish and Welsh sides.
Below that strict amateurism is going to be enforced, we've had a stupid system where someone can come in and buy their way up through the national leagues, taking the best talent from neighbouring towns' clubs. The national league system is another mess, we currently have four of them below the full time pro teams, the lowest rung on that ladder includes fixtures such as Orkney v St Boswells. Orkney is a group of islands off the north east coast of Scotland in the North Sea, and St Boswells is down in the Borders. It's a nine hour drive plus ferry crossing each way, but at least Orkney is where they make Highland Park whisky, so it's worth the trip.