The victory against Georgia at Rugby Park saw the end of international rugby for Scotland in 2016. Now we will look back on what has been another season of highs and lows.
The 2016 RBS 6 nations started with Scotland taking on the eventual grand slam winners England in what proved to be a close fought match with England winning 15-9 in Murrayfield. Even though it was a loss, there where still plenty of positives to take into the rest of the competition. Next up came the Welsh, and another loss. Scotland’s winless run against Wales now extends to 9 matches. Another close game but the writing was on the wall for Scotland as the constant improvement was not enough, they needed results.
During the summer the team traveled to Japan for a 2 test series. Scotland came out on top winning both matches, however on both occasions they were made to fight hard for the wins. This was good for Scotland as it prepared the team for the conditions that they could face in Japan in the next world cup in 2019, the Japanese can take great heart from their performances pushing Scotland all they way but came up short in the end. Two more wins for Scotland and an eagerly anticipates rematch against the team that knocked them out of the world cup a year before…Australia.
Along came November. 3 difficult matches for Scotland lay waiting. Australia, Argentina and Georgia. First came to travel to Murrayfield were the Aussies, fresh after demolishing Wales and looking to complete the next phase “home nations grand slam”. They continued it but barley, another late win and again by an agonizing single point. Despite the pain Scotland suffered 2016 has been a year in which we have shown we can compete with the teams around us, and those on the highest levels of the game. Next came the must win match against Argentina, with a sport in the top 8 up for grabs when the groups are drawn for Japan 2019 next year, a win was vital. Scotland managed to grab it with a penalty into dead time Scotland won by 19-16, showing that even when not playing at our best and when outmatched in some areas we can still come out with the win. The final match of the year was against Georgia at Rugby Park, Kilmarnock. Scotland ran away with this match however it wasn’t as one-sided –at times- as the score line suggested. Scotland played incredibly well and fully deserved the win over a brave and exciting Georgia team.
2017 looks good for this Scotland team but as we have seen on many occasions before Scotland can always look strong come the end of the season but against the usual foes in the 6 nations we can always struggle. Maybe 2017 can be a year of change and with Gregor Townsend coming in after the 6 nations the future is looking good.