Connect with us


Analysis: How in-form centres add new dynamic to Scotland’s attack



The full version of this article is available exclusively to members of the The42. To sign up, read the entire piece and enjoy the many benefits of membership including access to the unmissable Rugby Weekly podcast with Gavan Casey, Murray Kinsella, Bernard Jackman and Eoin Toolan, click here. 

YOU KNOW A partnership is working well when it gets a nickname, and Glasgow Warriors centres Huw Jones and Sione Tuipulotu have brought the Huwipulotu show to a larger audience with their brilliant displays for Scotland across the opening three rounds of the Six Nations.

The likes of Finn Russell and Duhan van der Merwe continue to take most of the headlines but Ireland will have to pay close attention to the attacking threat posed by Scotland’s in-form centre stars when Andy Farrell’s side visit Murrayfield on Sunday.

Australian-born Tuipulotu is only 14 games into his Test career but is emerging as a key defensive leader for Scotland while Jones has looked like a player reborn since returning to Glasgow from Harlequins last summer – his second Warriors debut delayed until December due to a back injury.

The dynamic Tuipulotu has made the 12 jersey his own and Jones, who is back in the team after a two-year absence, has added punch and attacking flair at 13.

Both players have spoken about their understanding and that quickly came to the fore in the round one win against England at Twickenham, with the Glasgow teammates linking up superbly for the game’s opening score, Tuipulotu’s vision and eye for a pass the perfect compliment to Jones’ excellent running lines and finishing ability.

After punching a hole through the England defence, Jones – who got the nod ahead of British and Irish Lions Chris Harris to win his first cap in two years – showed some neat footwork before producing a smart offload inside to keep the ball alive, an early indication of Scotland’s attacking intent. He might even have scored here if not for some good anticipation from Ollie Hassell-Collins, who drifts across early and makes the tackle.

Exclusive Six
Nations Analysis

Get Murray Kinsella’s exclusive analysis of Ireland’s Six Nations campaign this spring

Become a Member

The Scots get no joy out wide but move the ball back inside, where Finn Russell looks the most obvious option, but Ben White chooses to hit Tuipulotu, who does brilliantly to send a grubber through for Jones.

The Scotland 12 catches the pass and gets the kick away in one movement – it really is excellent execution and awareness under pressure. With three clear options around him when Tuipulotu takes possession, not one England defender tracks Jones, who times his run perfectly to get through and dot down as Scotland make their early pressure count in impressive fashion . . .

To read this analysis in full and enjoy the many benefits of The42 membership including access to the unmissable Rugby Weekly podcast with Gavan Casey, Murray Kinsella, Bernard Jackman and Eoin Toolan, click here. 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *