Pleased we found a way to tough it out
Pressure. In the last couple of years, we’ve been shit at handling it, played fast and loose and/or made stupid mistakes and lost momentum. But not today. Yeah, we played as poorly as we did against Ireland for much of the match, but we found a way through and that’s a big improvement.
Starting off with a bang, we went to absolute mush from minutes 15 to 50. BB was fucking awful with decision making which was even worse, and Havili was shite - and ironically was shite at the things he was supposedly good at and less shite than expected at the things he was supposed to be shite at. Wither ALB? For such an intelligent and calm player, that was his worst game in Black. OK, he’s been out for a while and Havili was equally crap, but he’s the experienced player and should have taken control. 2/10.
Telea was great. Rock solid, took his chances and wasn’t overawed. Clarke struggled and God knows what is going on in his head. He’s got so much talent, is great under the high ball, has pace and difficult to bring down, so why doesn’t he pin his ears back more often? His defence wasn’t all that flash either. No, he was bloody awful.
Never, ever, start Christie again. He’s great coming on for the last 20 but he seems to have actually gotten slower. The difference when TJP came on was huge - added a bit of mongrel as well.
Ardie and Paps were superb and Akira had a good first 20 but faded a bit when Scotland were dominating. Sam W was outstanding, I thought, making hit after hit and got his team back on track. He was absolutely immense in defence on the goal-line as well. Didn’t see much of Scooter which may or may not be a good thing. The front row was a step down from last week but ramped up when the replacements came on. Both Sami T & Codie Taylor were great and as @bones has said, starting Sami & finishing with Taylor seems the best option.
Overall summary: Brilliant first 15 minutes, a totally shit 50 minutes and a final 15 minutes where the mojo made an appearance again. Not happy with the performance overall, but pretty pleased we found a way to tough it out, calm down, slowly take control and actually win. In a World Cup we need to do this a fair bit. Finally, in may ways it’s good we played badly - they’ll now go to Twickenham a bit pissed off with their performance