Home Rugby Are Scotland Dark Horses For The 2019 World Cup?

Are Scotland Dark Horses For The 2019 World Cup?

Scotland secured a first Calcutta Cup victory since 2008 on Saturday as they thumped England 25-13 with Huw Jones and Finn Russell leading the charge.

Scotland dominated the breakdown, they were full of passion and energy whereas England were slow, passive and nonchalant off the ball. It was all too easy for Scotland to boss the breakdown and open them up in attack.

Hamish Watson was back to his best, a force of nature getting over the ball and causing problems, England just could not cope with the Edinburgh man.

Scotland may still have some question marks over their away form and playing England at Murrayfield is a very different prospect to playing them at Twickenham.

They could face a very difficult task in Dublin in round four in a fortnight.

Gregor Townsend’s men, however, could be a very dangerous force at the World Cup. They do face a rather easier group than say England or Wales.

They have been drawn in Group A with hosts Japan, Ireland plus two qualifiers, one of which will be Georgia or Romania.

They have a fairly settled side now and are building strength in some positions such as centre where Peter Horne is excelling despite being a more natural fly-half.

There was also the welcome sight of two young backs in the latter stages of Saturday’s thrilling encounter as Blair Kinghorn and Nick Grigg came on.

One other man that can’t help but impress is Simon Berghan winning his seventh cap as WP Nel is poised to make his return after coming off the bench against England.

The backs are altogether something else at the moment though and Finn Russell is at the heart of it. After two shocking displays to open up the tournament, he was sublime against England.

Huw Jones is playing as good as any outside centre in the competition – maybe as good as anyone in the world in that position at the present time.

His first try was his brilliant pace, his second raw power as he dragged Mike Brown and Anthony Watson over the line.

Then, you have a man barely involved at the weekend but key to the Scotland side – Stuart Hogg.

His counter-attacking is a dream and his ability to act as playmaker in the wide channels feeds the fleet-footed Tommy Seymour and Lee Jones.

The pack are not the finished article just yet and their back-row struggled in the games against Wales and France.

However, it was Eddie Jones’ lack of a proper openside which was exposed by the Scotland back-row on numerous occasions. 

England’s forwards were not at the races for at least the first half as Watson, Wilson and Barclay took control and allowed Scotland to dictate the pace, a pace England were not comfortable with.

This team is growing and becoming a real force, they could certainly pose a real challenge in Japan if this form continues.

Fred Blagden, Pundit Arena

About The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.