Allan Massie: Lions talk ahead of Six Nations is tiresome

The Autumn internationals are just over. We are still eight weeks from the Six Nations, the most important tournament in the Northern Hemisphere. But what do we find in the papers? Reams of speculation about the composition of the Lions party. It’s understandable of course. Such pieces are easy to write and they attract comments in abundance. Nevertheless it’s tiresome, and it’s been made even more so this week by Warren Gatland’s claim that Gregor Townsend was eager to accept his invitation to be one of the Lions’ attack coaches but turned down the offer because of pressure from his employers, the SRU.

Glasgow Warriors' Peter Horne receives treatment against Munster. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

Injured Glasgow Warriors duo could miss Six Nations

Glasgow backs Peter Horne and Rory Hughes face lengthy spells out injured and could miss the Six Nations.

Glasgow Warriors

Ali Price confident Glasgow can shine in Paris

Pity the poor players who scarcely have time to draw breath before they are thrown into the next big round of matches. The autumn international series only ended last weekend, or yesterday if you turn out for England, and next weekend sees the return of Challenge and Champions Cup action.

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Tim Visser scores Scotland's third try against France in last year's Six Nations.   Picture: Ian Rutherford

Allan Massie: Six Nations games will not gain from bonus points

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. For some reason, which escapes me, the Six Nations committee has chosen to ignore the old adage and re-jigged the tournament by introducing bonus points. Yet nobody could say the thing is “broke”. Quite the contrary. Grounds are almost always full, despite the high cost of tickets. The television audience is huge. Interest is high.

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Scotland's Dougie Fife scores a try against Uganda in the Dubai sevens. Picture: Martin Dokoupil/AP

Scotland through to meet England in Dubai quarter-finals

Scotland will meet England in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Sevens today after kicking off the new campaign with two wins and a defeat.

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Gregor Townsend will take over Scotland after the Six Nations. Picture: SNS

Gregor Townsend: Lions offer came at the wrong time

Gregor Townsend had turned up at the Scotstoun press conference to talk about this evening’s match against Munster but the first question off the top of the deck was about the Lions, after a national newspaper announced he’d knocked back an invitation from Warren Gatland, and so were the next 19 that followed it.

Niko Matawalu signed for Glasgow Warriors after Scotland last visited Fiji.

Scotland to play summer Test in Fiji

Scotland look set to play in Fiji as part of their summer tour. It has been widely known that the Scots are touring Australia to play a quadrangular tournament against the host nation, Italy and Fiji, much as they did in 2013 in South Africa.

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Elior UK has landed a ten-year contract extension with Scottish Rugby. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Caterer wins extension for deal at BT Murrayfield

Scottish Rugby has signed a contract that will see caterer Elior UK continue to provide corporate hospitality, conference and event and matchday catering at the BT Murrayfield stadium.

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Scotland will face Ireland in the opening match of this season's Six Nations. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Six Nations Championship to introduce bonus points

A bonus points system will be used in this season’s RBS 6 Nations Championship.

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Scotland's Stuart Hogg (left) runs in to score a try during the autumn international. Picture: PA

Stuart Hogg: Scotland ready to take Six Nations by storm

There have been many false dawns down the years, but full-back Stuart Hogg truly believes that exciting times beckon in 2017 for Scotland.

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Scotland put in a strong performance in the one-sided victory. Picture: SNS

Improving Scots take another big step forward

Georgia’s desire to gain access to the Six Nations was one of the themes in the build-up to Saturday’s final autumn Test at Rugby Park, but the after-match was dominated by Scotland’s burning aspiration to make a real impact on next year’s competition.

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Scotland head coach Vern Cotter saw his side defeated Georgia on Saturday. Picture: SNS

Vern Cotter wants impressive autumn to be a springboard

Vern Cotter’s final 
challenge in his time as Scotland coach is to shake off the team’s reputation as better finishers to the year than they are starters.

Scotlands Dougie Fife closes in on Alex Olaba of Kenya during a pool match at Twickenham. Picture: Getty

Scotland rugby sevens star Dougie Fife talks of a great win

In a pleasant change for Scottish rugby fans there were several highlights from last season. 
The national team finished one minute away from a World Cup semi-final, and the Under-20s thumped England in the Six Nations then bested Australia in the World Championships.

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Pack power: Richie Gray leads the celebrations as the final whistle blows. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Vern Cotter’s forwards thinking pays off for Scotland

Two wins, one desperately narrow loss that could have ended differently, ten tries, two ranking places gained and all of the above completed with the absence of a host of players who have proved crucial for Scotland in the past, including the two best props in the country. All in, there was much to admire about Scotland’s autumn series and it was rounded off in some style yesterday in Kilmarnock.

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Scotland's Stuart Hogg and John Barclay celebrate at full-time. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS/SRU

Scotland 43 - 16 Georgia: Scots finish with a flourish

Scotland saved their best till last with the most complete performance of the autumn season, albeit against opposition that proved to be desperately disappointing on the day. In an action packed match the 15,401 crowd got their money’s worth with a total of eight tries in all, six of which went to the home side.

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Sarah Law, pictured here in action versus England, scored Scotland's only try of the match in Madrid. Picture: Paul Devlin

Spain 15 - 10 Scotland: Scottish women fail in World Cup bid

Scotland battled right to the end, but failed in their bid to reach next year’s World Cup in Ireland when they lost the second leg of their qualifier with Spain in Madrid.

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Finn Russell in kicking mode during last week's victory over Argentina. Picture: SNS/SRU.

Allan Massie: Drop goals should matter to Finn Russell & Co

Idoubt if I was alone in thinking after Greig Laidlaw secured us victory with the last kick of the game that it was 
perhaps a good thing that he had missed his previous attempt, and Finn Russell his two drop-goals. Had any of these three kicks succeeded, we would have had to endure another Argentinian restart, and these days that’s bad for Scottish nerves. Scotland may not be the worst team at securing possession from the opposition restart, but any side that has just conceded a score to Scotland has reason to think it is going to enjoy a spell deep in the Scottish half.

Head coach Milton Haig says Georgia's set scrum 'is a good weapon'. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Georgia target Scotland scrum ‘because it’s part of DNA’

Should Georgia beat Scotland on Saturday then Vern Cotter will only have himself to blame. When scratching around for a replacement for Richie Dixon after the 2011 World Cup the Georgian Rugby bosses came across Milton Haig’s CV and immediately telephoned one of his references. Cotter evidently gave his pal the thumbs up.

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Mark Bennett will reclaim the No13 jersey for Scotland after Huw Jones was ruled out with a foot injury. Picture: SNS/SRU

Scotland centre Mark Bennett aims to keep up with Huw Jones

“Yes, absolutely,” is the honest response of recalled Scotland centre Mark Bennett when asked, slightly tongue in cheek at yesterday’s press conference, if ‘a little part of him had died inside’ watching Huw Jones take to the Scotland midfield like a duck to water.

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Scotland's Huw Jones was injured against Argentina. Picture: SNS

Scotland’s Huw Jones faces fight to be fit for Six Nations

Scotland’s man of the autumn series Huw Jones is facing a race against time to make the start of the Six Nations.

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